A Metlakatla resident is heading to the City of Brotherly Love next week as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention
Gavin Hudson said he’s an unashamed progressive Alaska liberal.
“And the champion of American liberalism and progressivism today is Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont,” he said. “And I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, way before he declared his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee.”
So, when Sanders did declare his candidacy, Hudson said that inspired him to get involved with the Democratic Party. He said he and other like-minded friends attended the District 36 Democratic caucus in Ketchikan in support of Sanders, who won Alaska’s Democratic vote by a wide margin.
When it came time to choose the District 36 state convention delegates, Hudson said he put his name in for consideration, along with others who were interested in representing the region.
“We all got to give a little speech, and I just told them how passionate I am about Bernie, and who I am and where I come from and they seemed to like that and I got a lot of votes,” he said.
During that state Democratic convention, Sanders was formally endorsed, and awarded 13 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s three.
Hudson said he put his name into the pool of state delegates who wanted to represent Alaska Democrats at the national convention. He said there was a long line of candidates, and they had only two minutes to present their case.
“I talked about why Bernie is my hero, and how he’s been my hero for a long time and how I will never falter in my support of him and we will do everything we can to convince the Hillary people to change their vote for him and nominate him as the next president,” he said. “That seemed to go over well enough that I wasn’t voted in as a full delegate, but I was far enough up the list that I was qualified as an alternate.”
So, Hudson raised funds online to help pay his way to represent Alaska Democrats in Philadelphia. As an alternate, he will fill in if one of the delegates is sick or otherwise unable to attend an official function.
Hudson said he’d love to be the one to announce during the convention’s roll-call vote: “Madam Secretary: The great State of Alaska casts its votes for the next president of the United States Sen. Bernie Sanders!”
Hudson said he remains committed to his support of Sen. Sanders who, although endorsing Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has not formally conceded.
It’s unlikely that Sanders will become the nominee, though, and Hudson said if Clinton is, he will vote for her.
“I will plug my nose and eat my vegetables and pull the lever for Hillary if need be,” he said. “But it’s not over yet. I’m committed to this process. I was elected to do a job and I’m going to see it through to the end.”
During the convention, Hudson plans to attend various caucuses for rural, LGBT, and indigenous/Native American interests, and the young Democrats meeting. Then there are the evening floor speeches.
“Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. That is a powerful, powerful lineup of speeches,” he said.
Hudson said he plans to stay in Philadelphia a couple of days after the convention to see the city and some of its historic sites, such as the Liberty Bell.
The four-day Democratic National Convention starts on Monday. KRBD will broadcast special NPR coverage of the convention starting each day at 4 p.m.