Road to the National Convention

A Maine state rep from Kittery reports from Philadelphia

When asked by a friend to run for state representative in 2012, I immediately said no. After thinking about it for a few days, I said, Why not? What better way is there to effect change for the better than as a policy maker? I was elected by Kittery twice to the Statehouse. There has been a lot to learn. When Bernie Sanders became a candidate for president, I thought, Here is a leader I can solidly support. Then came the process. My wife, Wendy, is always reminding me how convoluted our process is.

1) CAUCUS: In Maine, for presidential preference, we elect candidates to the State Convention at our local caucuses in March. The Kittery Democrats had several planning meetings for this gathering. Weren’t we surprised when quite a few high schoolers showed up to help. Inspired by Bernie, these people were invaluable. The caucus system is a relic of times past and Kittery had more people attending than any indoor space could accommodate in the town. Sanders was the favorite by nearly two to one at our caucus and I was elected as a delegate to the Maine State Convention.

2) STATE CONVENTION: In May, over 5,000 Democrats from around Maine gathered for two days in Portland to elect delegates to the National Convention, approve our platform and plan for the November election. I had gathered signatures to run for the convention in Philadelphia and a series of elections took place in our county caucuses. Chaos again prevailed, but I was elected as a PLEO delegate (party leader or elected official). The announcement of winning delegates wasn’t until almost 10 at night. For the past two months, we have been preparing for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which starts Monday, July 25.

Deane Rykerson is the founder of Rykerson Architecture, a Maine state representative, and a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He holds a masters degree from Harvard University. He lives in Kittery Point.