ELIZABETH, NJ – When the Democratic National Convention convenes July 25, there will b e a familiar face among the New Jersey delegation, Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage who will be attending as a delegate for the seventh time.
Although a member of the New Jersey delegation since 1992, the mayor is still enthusiastic about attending the national convention. “It is exciting because I get to visit with mayors around the country. I also get to visit with our delegation and talk about issues that affect New Jersey. There are also talks of state politics. I am sure there will be talks of the Democratic primary for governor next year, as well as getting out the vote for Secretary Clinton.”
The convention follows an established pattern. It starts about 3 p.m., but the arena is usually sparsely populated, then it slowly fills to capacity, said the mayor. The party’s platform is decided off site by the platform and rules committees. At the convention, there are numerous roll calls, such as the motions to appoint the vice president and Secretary Clinton, said the mayor. “The most exciting thing is being in the arena when the nominee, who will be Secretary Clinton, accepts the nomination. There is usually excitement on Wednesday night when the vice president nominee speaks.”
To be a delegate, Mayor Bollwage put his name on the ballot with Secretary Clinton, and due to the plurality of the vote, five were chosen. Being a delegate also requires a commitment of time and money. Hotel rooms in Philadelphia during convention are charging approximately $500, and delegates must stay five nights, said the mayor. “You have to want to do this. You have to have a belief in the candidacy of the candidate you are supporting.”
For Mayor Bollwage, that candidate is Hillary Clinton. “Secretary Clinton is the most prepared person to be president in my lifetime. There are people who dislike her, but they cannot dislike her for her education, her knowledge, and her understanding of how government works. She has served in more roles in preparation to becoming president of the United States than anyone in modern history.”
Once the convention is over, what happens then? “You want to leave the convention with a commitment to get out the vote within the region you are representing for your candidate. So how are you going to work with other members of the delegation? How are you going to work with the officials? The operatives are there. Secretary Clinton’s key people will be walking about the delegation, talking to them about get out the vote efforts. So, if you want to accomplish anything, if you want to see Secretary Clinton win, those are the things you do.”
While he is out of state, he leaves city attorney William Holzapfel in charge. “In this day and age with cell phones, it is easy to stay connected. One good thing about Philadelphia is that I can be back here in an hour and a half,” the mayor said.