Speeches by Michelle Obama, Cory Booker and LGBT Luncheon at the DNC

Tuesday night, the first night of the convention, was just electric – there’s no other way to describe it. From Cory Booker’s dynamic speech through First Lady Michelle Obama’s incredible turn at the podium, the Time Warner Center was abuzz with excitement and renewed optimism for President Obama and the Democratic ticket. 

Governor Deval Patrick lit up the room when he implored Democrats to get
 a backbone and stand up for what we believe in. The Democratic women of the 
House of Representatives stood in unity on 
issues that affect women, including funding for Planned Parenthood, securing a 
woman’s right to choose, and yes, protecting the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, Tuesday was a real turning point for the Democrats, when after months (years?) of playing defense on health care, we took back the issue as our own and something to be proud to run on.   

Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio was the keynote speaker, and his speech couldn’t have been any more different than the Republican keynote speech a week ago, which was all about the speaker and not their nominee. (What’s his name again?)

The night ended with a fabulous speech by the First Lady, who looked radiant and was clearly energized by a crowd that expressed love for her over and over again. There were many chants of “Michelle 2016” in the hall.

At Wednesday morning’s New Jersey delegation breakfast, we heard a rousing speech from Mayor Booker. Within the first two minutes of his speech, he mentioned two big elections coming up – the one for the White House and next year’s election for the Statehouse. It is becoming clearer to many of the delegates that he is very seriously thinking about challenging Gov. Christie next year, and he’s making the right moves with the delegates and elected officials here if that’s the path he chooses to take.

Later yesterday, I attended a luncheon sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. We hobnobbed with major LGBT politicos such as Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein, openly gay Assemblyman Tim Eustace from Bergen County, openly gay Councilman Ed Zipprich from Red Bank and former congressional candidate Ed
 Potosnak. 

DNC Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa led off the luncheon with a rousing speech about the Democrats’ strong LGBT platform, including marriage equality. He was followed by First Lady Michelle Obama, who reaffirmed her and the President’s commitment to LGBT equality, and implored everyone in the room to get out this fall to get out the vote for the President.

After returning to our hotel, I attended a reception in honor of our Democratic legislative leaders, including Senate President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Sheila Oliver. It was at this luncheon where I finally had the chance to chat with Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. I asked him about the launch of his campaign website at the start of the convention, and all he would say was, “Let’s get the President re-elected first.” 

On this point I agree with the Mayor – let’s focus on re-electing President Obama this fall, and next year we can all concentrate on 2013. After all, that’s why we’re here in Charlotte, right?

More to come!

Photo of Michelle Obama at Wednesday’s luncheon by Bob Zuckerman

Bob Zuckerman

the executive director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District and a board member of the Hudson Pride Connections Center and Garden State Equality. He has been active in Democratic party politics for many years in both New Jersey and New York City, and was a candidate for the New York City Council in 2009. He has managed numerous political campaigns and lives in Jersey City with his partner of 15 years, Grant Neumann.