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Dismayed, disappointed at 7th CD DFL convention

I'm a 35-year die-hard Democrat, but I came away from the 7th Congressional District DFL Convention feeling dismayed and disappointed with my party.

I was pleased to see that there were a number of native American delegates, and they seemed happy to be there. As they day wore on, however, several natives had walked out in disgust, one hurling the epithet "racist!". One Bemidji native American's issue at the microphone (on affirmative action) was shunted to the very end of the convention with the moderator's (Rick Stafford) demand that he "keep his powder dry."

I attended the later banquet and hoped to strike up a conversation with one of the native American delegates. There weren't any there, in part because many of them didn't feel they had $30 to spend on a banquet.

Is this the way the DFL Party really wants to be? I realize we have rules to keep these conventions orderly, but why so complex as to be formidable even to me, a former attorney.

There is no way a first-time delegate could be expected to comply with all these rules. Couldn't we have suspended the rules and let people talk? Especially given the fact that the support for Congressman Peterson is eroding among DFL members in many parts of his district? Couldn't we have had time to discuss it?

I expected 7th District officers, state party and other elected officials to ramrod his endorsement through and I was right. But I didn't expect that all disagreement would be discouraged.

I had a sign "Collin Come Home," which I intended to quietly hoist during Peterson's acceptance speech. But before the convention even started, his aide, Sharon Josephson, approached me with a lengthy lecture on how important he is to the DFL Party, how good a Democrat he is, and how important it was that I not start a "Collin Come Home" movement that could snowball and ruin his re-election chances.

I respectfully disagreed and hoisted my sign anyway. I had an ugly taste in my mouth, however. We need an overhaul of the endorsement process which allows more people to participate and which is not just a rubber stamp of whatever the powerful people in the party want.

And leave expensive banquets to those who don't care about minorities. A lot of us would have been happy with just a pot luck supper.

Becky ColebankShevlin