So Far, Delegates with Disabilities Under-represented on State Slate

    With 37 national delegates seats out of 70 already filled for the Colorado Democratic Party, only one delegate with disabilities has been selected. As of Friday morning, there are 33 delegates and five alternate seats still to be determined at the state convention at the World Arena in Colorado Springs this weekend. The question among some of party disability activities is: will the party meet its goal of diversity? In the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) delegate selection plan, one of the main goals was to have a diversified delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Denver Aug. 25-28. Out of the 70 national delegate and nine alternate slots assigned, the party is seeking to include four delegates with disabilities. Joe Beaver, the chair of the Democrats with Disabilities Initiative, is concerned the party won’t meet its goal.

    Beaver himself was fortunate last weekend; he was chosen to be a national delegate for Sen. Barack Obama from Congressional District 7. So far, he is the only disabled delegate to represent the Colorado Democrats.

    “I came to the CD7 convention a couple of hours early to prepare,” Beaver said, “I had flyers made and put a poster on the back of my wheel chair promoting my candidacy as a national delegate.” Beaver said his most effective campaign ploy was to drive up and down the aisles. “It was hard to miss me.”

    Now, he wants to help other national delegate hopefuls with disabilities get selected out of the CD3, CD4 and CD5 conventions Friday night and out of the at-large and party leader groups on Saturday.

    “I let CDP Chair Pat Waak know that we have only one out of four national delegate seats filled for persons with disabilities. So far, the party has gone out of its way to accommodate the state delegates with special needs,” Beaver explained.

    Nick Isenberg, who has hearing and vision difficulties, is an Obama state delegate from Glenwood Springs and he hopes to get one of the five national delegate seats out of CD3 convention Friday night at the DoubleTree Hotel in Colorado Springs. He has prepared for his campaign, too.

    Photobucket“I sent emails to all of the county chairs in the CD3, asking them to vote for me and to mention my name in their delegation. Volunteers will carry my posters and I’ll have 300 name tags that say, ‘Stick with Nick’ to distribute,” Isenberg said.

    He is also bringing special equipment to amplify his hearing capabilities and has reserved special wireless earphones made available by the party.

    Beaver said he is going to help Isenberg campaign so at least one more national delegate with disabilities is chosen to go to Denver. “I think he has a good chance.”

    Isenberg agrees. “I think my chances will be about 30 to one – much better than other CDs. If I’m not selected, I’ve signed up to be a volunteer at the national convention. One way or the other, I will be there in Denver.”

    For other stories about the Democratic national delegate selection process:
    Colorado Delegate Hopefuls Face Fierce Competition for Convention Seats
    Campaigning Key to Delegate Hopefuls
    Hopeful DNC Delegate Prepares for State Contest
    National Delegate Tackles Second Challenge: The County Convention

    Photo: Nick Isenberg needs special equipment to supplement his hearing.