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Perspective from the Alabama Statehouse


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Earl F. Hilliard Jr. is looking for a needle in a haystack. He’d absolutely love to find a John Edwards delegate today. There are about 25 of them here today, the day Democrats make official what has been known for quite some time, Barack Obama is their nominee for president.

Hilliard Jr., an Alabama state representative and Obama delegate, tells me of his mission while we wait in the security line to get into the Pepsi Center for day three of the Democratic National Convention.

He thinks finding one of the few Edwards delegates would be like striking the lottery—perhaps a chance meeting with Barack would be just around the corner.

While we passed slowly through the line, I chatted him up about his support for Barack.

It started more than three years ago when Hilliard’s brother-in-law, an intelligent man with a Harvard education, told him to watch out for a young senator from Illinois. He could be president one day.

Perhaps Hilliard’s brother-in-law thought eight years or more down the line. It turns out it was much sooner.

So Hilliard started doing some research on Barack. He has respect for his brother-in-law’s opinions and wanted to see the merits behind them.

What Hilliard found was a man not unlike himself, a young, black politician with dreams of changing the political system from the ground up.

Sure there was health care and the war and many other issues, but it would seem that Hilliard was sold on the idea of change. Barack is smart, savvy, holds true to Democratic principals and he looks to be ready to shake things up.

Our conversation lasted only a few moments, but the excitement Hilliard carried was infectious, even after his goodie bag gift martini shaker was confiscated at the security gate.

I’m off to catch the speech of Rep. Mark Udall, Boulder County’s representative who is gunning for a seat in the U.S. senate.

— Jacob Harkins, Yellow Scene Magazine editor

More DNC coverage here.

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