From Classroom to Convention

Mikie Brown, Staff Writer


The 2016 presidential election holds the balance of American life in its hands like none other seen before. This year’s Democratic National Convention convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from July 25 – July 28. One of Olathe East’s own, Social Studies teacher Mr. Justin Adrian, got to witness the political madness firsthand. Mr. Adrian was chosen to be one of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s delegates at this year’s DNC.

Though the process of applying to be a national delegate may sound daunting, in reality, attaining this position is not too difficult. According to Mr. Adrian, the process works like this: “At the state senate level, at your caucus, you apply to be a representative for your senate district. Then, you’ll go with all of your districts to a congressional level. At that district level meeting, everyone gives a speech, who wants to go to Philadelphia. You have three minutes to give the speech, and then, those that are eligible, they vote, and whoever wins, wins.”

From our district (Johnson County and Wyandotte County) two representatives were chosen, Mr. Adrian, who won by one vote, and a female delegate. Mr. Adrian had about a month, from March to April of 2016, to write his speech and see if he could receive funding for the trip, as there were many expenses involved, most of which ended up being inflated due to the caliber of the event.

Regarding his role at the actual convention, “I was a delegate for the state and [as a delegate] you’re there for voting – they do voting by affirmation, and what that is is one person brings up a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ and second person would second it – so my role was just to be there to give my vote. [My] role was basically needed for the first two days, and the last two days was just listen to speeches, watch the concerts that occurred and that type of stuff. It was a big party was really what it was,” Adrian said.

Voting was done by affirmation or roll call, depending on the matter at hand.

“[My favorite part of the conference was] probably the speech by Hillary Clinton, or Michelle Obama. [She] had a really good speech too. If I didn’t say speeches, I would probably say the performance by Katy Perry. It was great. She had a really good performance,” Adrian said.

On the other hand, Mr. Adrian did experience some rather upsetting surprises.

“I was shocked by the behavior oadrian-2-1f Sanders’ delegates, not just because I was a Clinton delegate. It was just due to the fact that they were rude. When other people were talking, they were chanting, they were holding up signs, they were being very distracting.”

However, Mr. Adrian does sympathize with their cause. “I understand. They’re upset, they’re frustrated, their person didn’t win, they want their voice to be heard. It was just very, very weird behavior. And the Kansas delegation was fine, we were mature, it was just other states.”

During the convention, Mr. Adrian had the pleasure of meeting many politicians from all around the nation.

“I met Tim Kaine, the vice presidential candidate; Al Franken; Claire McKaskall, senator from Missouri; Emmanuel Cleaver, who is a congressman for the Kansas City area; Kansas City’s mayor was there, [and] I met secretary of education Eric Holder.”

Regarding advice for those considering applying for a delegate position in the future, Mr. Adrian said “do it. It’s not a hard thing to get into. You just have to show your passion, you have to show your desire, and you have to have a story about why you truly want to do it. Yeah, I definitely suggest people do it.”

As for his future delegation plans? “I want to do it again,” he said, “it was a lot of fun. I would love to do it again.”

Moving on from the DNC to the bigger picture, Mr. Adrian gave some advice to seniors who are voting for the first time this year.

“I think seniors should vote by looking at the facts and looking at what they want to get out of their next president, whether that’s trade, or global warming, or college education to be free, or whatever it may be. They need to look at both candidates, or all four, and find out which one fits their desire. Don’t do what their parents say. Don’t do what their friends say.  Literally look and research for the person that fits what you want –  the best person that fits, because you’re not going to get someone identical to what you want,” he said.

While this particular presidential election has sparked more controversy than every before, the American people, including Mr. Adrian, clearly lack no passion in their beliefs. No matter one’s party, standing up for what one believes in and doing what he or she can to make his or her voice heard truly emulates the American dream.



Convention Lingo for Dummies

Delegate: a person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference.

Caucus: a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy.

Senate District: the divided districts in which senators act as representatives

Voting by Affirmation: Taken in a group setting, each member votes for a “yay” or a “nay” to the amendment that is being voted on.

Voting by Roll Call: Used mostly in representative assemblies where members represent large groups of people. Each member’s vote is recorded.


Mike Brown // Staff Writer