Charlotte, NC -- Cleveland Heights Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox at the Democratic National Convention. He took time away from a delegate breakfast in Charlotte on Wednesday morning — and chants of “O-H! I-O! — to talk to Patch about the convention:
So does it feel like work or does it feel like a vacation being here?
We’re here at 7:30 (a.m.), and we were back at 1 a.m. last night, so it’s not exactly a vacation.
What’s been the most exciting part so far?
Michelle Obama’s speech. She seems very genuine, and very down to earth. Women in particular will resonate with it. My daughter called me this morning and asked me, “What did you think of Michelle’s speech?” She was really excited.
What delegate duties have you performed so far?
Last night I got to sign (a paper) stating that I support Barack Obama. Tonight is when we’ll be casting them for real.
What resonated with the Ohio delegation?
Ted Strickland’s speech. The first thing he really hit on was the importance of the auto industry in Ohio. The auto bailout really saved the industry in Ohio. Something like 80 out of 88 counties in the state have some kind of auto manufacturing. One in eight jobs in Ohio is related in some way to the auto industry. Parma has a Chevy plant that is large, Brook Park has a Ford engine plant. A lot of the economic recovery you see in Ohio is due to this bailout.
How is the campaign going in Cleveland Heights?
Cleveland Heights is a very strong Democratic city, but it's time to get our grassroots moving. Absentee voting will start in about 30 days.
Does this election feel different than 2008?
I’m not sure I sense a palpable difference. I think people understand that his record is something we can run on. We’ve turned the economy around, and people do understand that. The Affordable Care has a lot of parts people like, but they’re not aware of. In Cleveland Heights, Pell Grants and funding public education really resonate.
What’s at stake is going back to economic policies that we know aren’t going to work. To maintain the health care benefits that our citizens enjoy. And the importance of women’s health issues. It’s been a really exciting time to be here.