Blaine school official attends Democratic convention

Published on Thu, Sep 4, 2008 by Tara Nelson

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Blaine school official attends Democratic convention

By Tara Nelson

Blaine school official Deb Cummings, of Ferndale, had dreams of becoming the first female president as a child.

That might be a large part of why she was a strident Hillary Clinton supporter. A mission that took her to Denver, Colorado last week to rub shoulders with celebrities and media personalities such as Ted Koppel, Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric.

Cummings was one of 96 Washington State delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week.

Three other Whatcom County residents also served as delegates at the convention. They were Richard May, of Bellingham, Larry Estrada, of Bellingham, and Haeryung Shin, of Point Roberts.

This was her first convention and her first time as a delegate.

NL: How did you get involved as a delegate in this election?

DC: “A friend had told me that if you didn’t vote in the primary in Washington State, then your vote wouldn’t count. And I wanted my vote to count so I went to my local precinct. I competed at the county and then competed at the congressional district and won that by a coin toss.

“At the precinct, what happened was I had been out doing yardwork and literally looked like I was out working on the farm. I hadn’t showered that day and I thought I would just run in and sign the paper and get out.

“When I got there, the woman said I didn’t have to stay but that it was a cool process and that it might be interesting. So I decided to stay for just a few minutes and then ended up speaking for Hillary Clinton because there wasn’t anyone else. I wasn’t about to let a minute go by without someone standing up for Hillary.

“After that, they split the room into Obama supporters and Hillary supporters and when I got there, the group said I would be their delegate.”

NL: We hear a lot about Hillary supporters who are thinking of voting for McCain. Is that true?

DC: “There is a small percentage that feel that way. I think those people feel Hillary didn’t get a fair shake, but it’s like competing in sports. She lost the semi final round but the bottom line is we want a Democrat in the White House.

“We had a couple delegates in Washington state who were either going to not vote at all or vote for McCain. Part of their goal was that, if he got in there, then Hillary would run in another four years. But my feeling is that if Obama gets in there, if he doesn’t do a good job in four years, Hillary can run again anyway.

“It was also interesting to read and hear the media because they blow things right out of proportion. There were 96 Washington delegates and two of those were cranky but that’s only about 2 percent. If I weren’t there and just watched the media I would think that would be a huge thing we would have to address.

“For me, though, I’m still a Hillary supporter, but McCain is not going to be better for our country and so I’m supporting Obama. Honestly, if you asked me if he was the better candidate compared to Hillary,

I would say no. But he is the better candidate without a shadow of a doubt when compared to McCain.

“And I think his vice president choice Joe Biden was, other than Hillary, I don’t think he could have done better. Meanwhile, I’m still curious about McCain’s VP choice and the more I learn, the more I think ‘wow.’”

NL:What was your overall impression of convention?

DC: “It was, by far, the best experience of my life and I would recommend anyone do it. It was a huge commitment, but to be able to sit in one week and hear speeches from Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, and many other amazing senators and governors, all in four days time, it was amazing to be a part of that process.

“And also to be part of history to where have had an Afro-American Democratic candidate and a female Democratic candidate to make it that far. When you think of all the close races in the history of America, to have someone give the speech that Hillary gave, and to know that Obama’s speech was given on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at the Washington Monument, that was history. Who knows, in 45 years, people might be talking about this and we were there.”

A clip from her interview on Good Morning America can be viewed by visiting their website at