Two of Iowa’s 65 delegates at the Democratic National Convention describe the trip to Charlotte as a sort of “swan song” in their political careers. Seventy-five-year-old delegate Bob Carr of Dubuque will be in the audience tonight for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.
“In my lifetime I’ve seen about seven Democrats in the White House and I think he’s right there with the best and I really think he’s done a good job,” Carr said. “I really like him and that’s why I wanted to come.”
Delegate Kathy Sparks of Urbandale has supported Obama since February of 2007 when he entered the presidential race.
“I’ve had an opportunity to meet him, found him to be a very compassionate, caring person, very bright and intelligent,” she said, “and I thought he was a bright spot for our party.”
Sparks is attending her third — and she says last — national convention.
“I have a birthday this year and I’ll be 70 and I figured it would be my last chance,” Sparks said, “and then I’ll step back and let the younger ones come.”
She has worked on gubernatorial and presidential campaigns over the past five decades.
“I worked for Senator Hart on his staff, for two years,” Sparks said. “I worked for Roxanne Conlin on her staff, for two years, and then I’ve been a Democrat activist and volunteer – and I have been since ’62.”
Carr, the delegate from Dubuque, served 17 years in the state legislature, two in the Iowa House and 15 in the Iowa Senate. Carr was a delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, and he has noticed the changes in Charlotte for this convention.
“There’s much more security, just security everywhere. It’s unbelievable,” Carr said. “It’s unfortunate that has to be necessary. I’m sure there’s tremendous expense involved.”
Carr also said coverage of the conventions has changed dramatically, too, as many of the media outlets and devices Americans are turning to this week to follow the convention didn’t exist in 1988.