Former Obama delegate will work as page at national convention
July 1, 2008 · Updated 2:40 PM
Laura Hicks, 18, made a remarkably strong political showing at the Washington state Democratic convention in June, energized by Barack Obama’s powerful promise to change the nation. She was one of 400 vying for 29 national delegate positions left, and made it to the final round of selections.
She wasn’t selected to be a national delegate, but instead was offered the position of page at the Democratic National Convention in Denver next month.
She just finished classes at Vashon High School last month, and before casting her first vote, became a Democratic delegate in a historic election year, with two diverse candidates facing off in a time of economic crisis.
Before the state convention, Hicks said she knew she was up against some “very well-qualified” people. So she tried to get her name out to Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats, as a backup plan.
She asked Bill Mitchell, an Islander who knows Pelz, to e-mail him on her behalf. And yet, she was still a little surprised on the final day of the state convention in June, when Pelz offered her a position as a page at the national convention.
“He asked me just before the results of the final ballots, and he said, ‘Well, if you don’t make national delegate, we’d like you to come,’” Hicks said. “I was thinking, ‘Page sounds pretty interesting, I kind of hope I don’t make delegate.’ I gained and lost at the end of the day.”
She will have to pay her own way, as the position comes with no stipend, and is fundraising to get to Colorado.
Two pages attend the convention from each state. She’ll stay in a hotel with the rest of the Washington delegation for the four-day convention, and room with Islander and Washington state national delegate Nick Bordner, whom she knows well.
“Pages basically run errands,” Hicks said. “We’ll have all-access passes, run on the floor of the convention, and will be running errands for Washington ... I would be a page to the governor, the superdelegates, those people who need runners.”
She said she’s grateful to have the opportunity to participate in what’s sure to be a landmark convention.
“If I want to go into politics, this would be a good starting point,” she said. “Hilary-Obama, this campaign is really exciting, and to watch it all and to be right there is going to be really exciting.”
She said her experience as a page will give give her a leg up in the future, whether she ends up studying political science in college or getting a political internship in the capitol.
“I was always feeling like I might bog down after high school and not know what I might do, and this is really helpful in getting me started,” Hicks said. “This is a nice kickoff point into the next stage.”