Andersons recount Democratic National Convention experiences

Published 3:19 pm Saturday, August 30, 2008

It was an experience they say they will never forget.

Flying out last Sunday from Minneapolis to Denver for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Albert Leans Art and Rose Anderson fulfilled a lifelong dream.

Staying Sunday through Thursday at the convention, the Andersons got the chance to mingle with other like-minded Americans and see the top leaders of their party.

Email newsletter signup

“It was just a wonderful experience,” Art said. “I know I won’t forget it for a long time.”

Rose was a part of the state Credentials Committee and Art was a guest at the convention.

Before the event, the couple tried to be delegates, but were unable to get the necessary votes. When they found out a spot was open with credentials, they couldn’t pass up the chance. It’s not everyday that someone from a smaller city outside the Twin Cities and Rochester gets to attend a national convention.

Art has been the chairman of the Freeborn County DFL party for 20 years, and Rose has been the associate chairwoman for 18 years. In 2003, Rose was chosen as one of three DFL women to be awarded a Woman of Distinction award and was inducted into the then fourth annual DFL Hall of Fame.

Everyday at the convention, the couple said, they would start out their days with breakfast and a meeting with the Minnesota delegation. By the end they had made several new friends.

Throughout the week they attended several meetings, including a veterans caucus, a women’s caucus, and even participated in an event to give back to families in need.

On Wednesday they took part in a service day where they sorted out food for Meals on Wheels.

Then each night, they attended the actual convention, where they got to hear people like presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry speak.

“The feeling was so friendly,” Rose said. “After Michelle Obama spoke, it was a different world. She made everyone feel so welcome. It was so different than what I’ve ever felt at a convention.”

A notable part of the convention, Rose said, was when Hillary Clinton declared her vote that made Barack Obama the Democratic party candidate for president.

“When she did that I started crying,” Rose said. “It was a big moment. Right then everything stopped.”

She said she and Art had been big Clinton fans earlier in the election. But after that happened, they could just feel the unity in the building for Obama.

“When that moment came, it was really neat,” she said. She looked around and there were others crying too.

Art said he enjoyed meeting the different people from all over the country who had different backgrounds.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” he said. “It was impressive all the way around.”

Many people also couldn’t believe he was 76 years old, he said.

Now that they’re back from the convention and the general election will be here in two months, the couple said they are encouraging the people of Freeborn County to support the Democratic ticket for president.

“We need to support Obama and Biden because we need to change things,” Rose said. “If we don’t get change, our country’s going to go down.”

Art said he hopes people will simply get out to vote, to voice their opinion, during the election.

At the convention the three biggest issues discussed were universal health care, the economy and the war in Iraq.

“All the way around, I think we had a very good convention,” Art said. “I’m just thankful I got to go.”