Local DNC delegates share one goal: Defeat Trump
There aren't any balloons or television cameras and no convention floor buzz when they log on to a virtual breakfast meeting or breakout session from their homes and offices.
Still, Robin Wilt, Maria Fisher, and Dave Seeley said they are proud and excited to be first-time delegates at their party's national convention.
"The party is going to great lengths to make sure that we feel connected, to make sure that all the opportunities to convene are still there, although they're virtual," Wilt said.
The Brighton Town Board member is a delegate for Bernie Sanders.
She does wish the Biden/Harris platform would include more progressive ideas, such as Medicare for all.
"Especially with so many people losing ... I mean, literally tens of millions of people losing their employment-based insurance," Wilt said, referring to the collateral damage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, Wilt believes the Democrats are united in their goal to defeat President Donald Trump at the polls in November.
Biden delegate and Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley agrees. He said the pandemic may have drastically changed the look and feel of the party's convention, but it did not alter the Democrats' mission.
"Donald Trump certainly is a unifying factor for our party, and I think overwhelmingly, people in our party are working to ensure that he is a one-term president."
For Maria Fisher, also a first-time delegate, this week is about highlighting the value of unions. She is a field representative for the Public Employees Federation. Many of the union members are nurses who have been working on the front lines during the pandemic response effort.
"They were putting their lives on the line," Fisher said, "not able to see their families and sleeping in their cars because they believe that much in their work. Those people need to be respected and valued."
Fisher doesn't think she'll have a problem making sure that message is heard, even if she's not standing face to face with her fellow delegates.
"I'm pretty assertive," she laughed, "so I'm going to make sure I'm raising my hand on Zoom."
Fisher expects Biden, if he is elected, to be a strong ally for working people.
"He's from Scranton, Pennslyvania; he's from union territory," she added. "He's spent his entire life speaking about workers' issues, so I think he's going to do a fantastic job. Truthfully, it's our job as union members and a nation to hold him accountable."