Waller won’t ‘go’ to DNC in August

By JOSH TROY THE PRESS REGISTER,

 

Jen Waller was all set to go represent Coahoma County and the Mississippi Delta as a delegate at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and while she will still represent us, she won’t go.

The convention is Aug. 17 to 20 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisc., but it will be meeting virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is unlikely Waller, a Clarksdale native and currently the director of the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, will be able to attend the convention, but she will be able to cast her votes as a delegate and hopes to use her experience to make a difference.

“I think it was the right decision, but I am very sad about it because I was so looking forward to going to the convention and being able to represent Mississippi and the Delta specifically,” Waller said. “I was so excited about being able to do that.”

The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 24 to 27 and will not be virtual. The original plan was for the convention to be at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. Now, it will just be in North Carolina the first day and move to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and various other venues in Jacksonville, Fla., for the final three days.

Waller said, since the Democratic Convention is meeting virtually, there will be practice voting next week with a pretend ballot to make sure everything is in order. She will have from Aug. 3 to 15 to return her official ballot to the Democratic Convention.

She is a delegate for presumptive nominee former Vice President Joe Biden for President of the United States. She plans to vote for Biden and his running mate. She will receive specific instructions about the Presidential and other elections and how to go about everything Aug. 3.

“It just says right now delegates are still advised to not make any travel plans to Milwaukee,” Waller said.

“The main thing we’re going to do is do our ballot, our voting. They’ll give us the instructions on Aug. 3.”

Waller said there will be video recordings from some high-level Democrats, but a schedule is not yet available.

“It says you do not have to take off work during the convention because the voting will be done remotely from the comfort of your home, so there will be no need to adjust your work schedule,” Waller said.

Being a delegate for the DNC, even though it is meeting virtually, can lead to positive things for Waller.

“I hope that there will be opportunities for us to connect beyond this,” Waller said. “If Biden were to win, I think that there will be opportunities down the road.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson is chairing the convention.

“The main thing is the convention itself is being chaired by Congressman Bennie Thompson,” Waller said. “That’s our representative.” Met a couple of times, get to know better and communicate more

“I hope so. I am thrilled that I am one of the delegates representing the Second Congressional District and representing Congressman Thompson’s area. I think that’s huge. I’m still holding out and hoping that some of us might get to go, especially since he’s the chair and I’m one of his delegates. But there’s been no communication like that.”

Waller, a former public school teacher, plans to use her platform to make a difference with education. She said the coronavirus has shown a need to have hospitals in Coahoma County and other communities.

“I think it’s (COVID-19) going to make a huge impact, but it’s such an intangible issue,” Waller said. “It’s a public health issue.”

Waller hopes to be delegate at the 2024 DNC and attend the convention in person.

“I feel a little bit jilted this year that I didn’t get the chance to go and participate the way I always wanted to,” she said. “Maybe there will be another opportunity down the road. I’m a very positive and hopeful person. This is happening for a reason, I’m sure. I’m sure we’re learning a lot in the process. I hope and pray that there will be another opportunity down the road for me.”

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