Colorado Delegate Attends Her 14th Democratic Convention

July 25, 2016
Photo: Democratic Delegate Polly BacaRachel Estabrook/CPR News
Former state Sen. Polly Baca of Denver attended her 14th Democratic National Convention this summer as a delegate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Editor's note: Baca was interviewed last week before the leak of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails, which led to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announcing she will resign after the convention. Colorado Matters will interview Baca live later this morning and ask her about the developments.

It was August of 1964, and the Democratic National Convention was ready to nominate Lyndon Johnson for president, just months after his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

First, though, the delegates heard from Kennedy's brother, Robert.  A young Colorado woman named Polly Baca was there: "When he got up to that mic the roar through the hall was just incredible," she said. "And then he started to speak and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. We were all crying, because we has just lost our president."

It was the first convention Baca attended. This week, after a lifetime as a political activist and a stint as a state lawmaker, she'll be in Philadelphia for her 14th. She's a Hillary Clinton delegate.

On the prospect of a united convention next week

“We’ll be together. I’m confident of that...Because it’s always happened. For example, 2008, I was a Hillary delegate, but when I went to the convention, I voted for Obama because Hillary Clinton asked her delegates to do so. However, there were probably six or seven holdouts. And that's fine. That’s happened every year, so we have a few (holdouts) and perhaps this year more because I think it depends on what Bernie says on the first day of the convention.”

On Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal server for emails as secretary of state

“As she has said, it was a mistake..but it wasn’t a dishonest mistake. It was a real mistake but it was not out of intending to do something that was wrong.

On growing up in Greeley, Colorado in the 1940s and 1950s

“I always say that the greatest gift God ever gave me was being born the female child to a poor Mexican American family in a bigoted community.

There was only one church of my faith and we had to sit on the side aisles, we couldn’t sit in the center. The theaters were segregated -- we could only sit in the balconies.

It was the pain of that bigotry that I felt as a child. As a little girl I just remember having the notion that I had to change it, that it was my responsibility to get involved and to change the way people treated Mexican-Americans. And later in life it became dedicated to changing the way people treated each other because civil rights has always been a passion for me.”

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