Cleveland Heights vice mayor attends Democratic Convention as a delegate
Cleveland Heights Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox.
Dennis Wilcox, vice mayor of Cleveland Heights, was a member of the Ohio Delegation at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. He had applied to the Ohio Democratic Party to be a delegate last spring.
Wilcox described the experience as “the opportunity of a lifetime.” While the primary responsibility he had as a delegate was to vote for a presidential and vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, the delegates also voted on the party platform, rules and credentials.
Although the convention started at about 4 p.m. every afternoon, Ohio delegates attended other events during the day. Speakers for the Ohio delegates included Jesse Jackson, Sr., activist and minister; Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland; Ted Strickland, former Ohio governor; and United States Senator Sherrod Brown. There was an opening reception for Ohio delegates on Sunday night, and numerous gatherings throughout the week for delegates to meet one another.
One of the most significant meetings for Ohio delegates was a lunch with elected officials from Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus to discuss the possibility of having the 2016 Democratic Convention in Ohio. “Unless you’re there, you don’t understand the magnitude of the event,” said Wilcox. There was a lot of security and traffic, but “a major Ohio city can definitely handle it,” he added.
Wilcox feels that some of President Obama’s greatest accomplishments of his first term include “stopping the economic bleed, leading to 30 straight months of job growth,” as well as passage of the Affordable Care Act and ending the war in Iraq. He hopes that if Obama is elected to a second term, both Democrats and Republicans can work together to end the federal deficit.
Other Ohio delegates from Greater Cleveland included Julian Rogers, member of the Cuyahoga County Council; and Barbara Boyd, state representative.
There were “dozens” of excellent speakers at the convention, Wilcox said, but he thought the best were President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton. “They were all fantastic speakers in different ways,” said Wilcox. He has met all three several times, though not at the convention.
Wilcox has been involved in politics for most of his life, beginning with student government in high school. He has been a member of the Cleveland Heights City Council for 13 years and was involved with voter protection activities in 2008.
Simone Quartell, a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, is a student at Cleveland State University and a Heights Observer intern.