By David Chan
Special to the Northwest Asian Weekly
(Note from the Editor: The following article represents the thoughts of a fire commissioner from Snohomish County and the process he’s going through to become a delegate for Bernie Sanders. David Chan told us that besides Rep. Cindy Ryu, there are no significant representatives of the API community in Snohomish County).
I started my journey on March 28 at the Washington State Democrat Caucus. At our precinct meeting, the number of delegates was determined based on the population of that precinct. I raised my hand to volunteer to be one of the delegates. It appeared there was no one else interested. So, I was selected as a delegate to represent our precinct. I passed the first level unscathed.
On April 17, on a very nice and sunny Sunday, more than 1,000 citizens gathered at the Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood to participate in the election of delegates. This is a very serious matter. All delegates and alternates elected from the precincts come together to caucus and select the delegates who would go to the next level: the Congressional District Caucus on May 21. There would be 17 delegates for Bernie Sanders and five delegates for Hillary Clinton. Supporters of Clinton and Sanders were separated into different areas to select their delegates. Based on party rules, the delegates are allocated equally to men and women. For Sanders, there would be 9 men and 8 women delegates who go to the next level.
Sixty-five men signed up to compete for nine spots. And 46 women were competing for the remaining eight spots. Each candidate was originally given one-minute to convince their fellow delegates that he/she should represent them at the next level.
I had done a lot of research and talked to past delegates about this process. In general, whoever can give a good speech will be elected. The speech has to be tight with no wasted words. Humor and some visual presentation should really help. I spent almost a week preparing for my speech. I also made up flyers describing myself and passed them out to the crowd. In addition, I made and placed a few large signs around the gym, so people would become familiar with my name. It was really a full blown campaign. To my surprise, I was the only person who had gone through all this trouble.
Because so many people signed up to speak, our time was cut down to 45 seconds each. I knew I needed to do something to stand out. So, here is how I started my speech: “My name is David Chan, and Jackie Chan is my cousin. So, I am your Kick A… delegate.” This opening received roaring laughter from the crowd and got their attention immediately. I pointed out that I was the most prepared candidate and took this delegate job very seriously. I also stated my purpose to encourage the API community to participate in our democratic process. I would share my experience by writing articles in our Asian community newspaper and spread the word through social media. “So, please do not cut my journey short and please send me to the National Convention in Philadelphia.”
I couldn’t believe that I got a high number of votes and became the only API out of the nine men to move to the next level. Now, I am asking the API community at large to support me and cheer for me as I move up to the next level. I hope to report to you from Philadelphia.
David Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.