As the hot sun rose over Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, California delegates started off the third day of the Democratic National Convention with breakfast at the delegation hotel.
Politicians from across California took to the stage during breakfast to rally delegates behind Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday night, Clinton clinched the presidential nomination after the official roll call on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center.
Many delegates who supported Bernie Sanders had found the loss painful, weeping in the convention hall and mounting protests outside the building. During the California delegation breakfast Tuesday, Sanders was met by boos from many of his own delegates when he urged them to support Clinton.
So on Wednesday, breakfast speakers urged the delegates to come together behind their nominee and to continue to push for change.
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California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told delegates that more Democrats need to be elected to office across the nation.
“I believe the best and easiest way to do that is to keep telling the California story,” he said. “California is proof that you can be progressive and prosperous at the same time.”
Following Rendon, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis took the stage and was welcomed by a round of applause from the delegation. She started off her speech cheering, “Si se puede (yes we can)!,” and the delegates returned the favor.
California is proof that you can be progressive and prosperous at the same time.
California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
Solis, a Clinton supporter, served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, at the same time Clinton was secretary of state.
She addressed issues she said she believes only the Democratic presidential nominee will be able to handle.
“We need equal pay for equal work,” Solis said. “We need a clean environment. No household should be contaminated –– no matter where you live.”
As a child of immigrants, Solis said she was proud of her heritage and found strength in the nation’s diversity, adding that she wants other immigrants and children of immigrants to feel the same way.
“I was told in high school that I would only be an office clerk,” she said. “I can now walk into my high school and say that I am a proud secretary of the United States.”
She related her own experiences as a Latina who often was not taken seriously to the challenges that Bernie Sanders delegates have faced. She urged them not to become disillusioned with the political process or the Democratic Party.
“The Democratic Party is expansive,” she said. “We want everyone to feel that their voices will be heard.”
State Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles was the next to take the stage.
“This convention has been an emotional roller coaster,” Mitchell said, to clear agreement from the crowd.
Mitchell continued with a call to action for both Sanders and Clinton delegates.
“Is everything perfect now? Of course not,” said Mitchell, who is African-American. “But do we want to go backward? I cannot –– and I will not –– because my forefathers were already robbed of so much. We can’t risk to go back to a time when America was great for only a few.”
California has led the way for equality, especially for our transgender brothers and sisters. We are doing and proving that a progressive agenda is the recipe for success.
Toni Atkins, who served as the first openly lesbian speaker of the Assembly from 2014 to 2016
Mitchell challenged Californians to make real the promises shouted at protests.
“Trump will not take us forward,” she said. “Hillary Clinton will.”
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego spoke next, reminding delegates of her state’s progressive successes.
“California has led the way for equality, especially for our transgender brothers and sisters,” said Atkins, who served as the first openly lesbian speaker of the Assembly from 2014 to 2016. “We are doing and proving that a progressive agenda is the recipe for success.”
Atkins thanked the delegation for being an example and “making the difference in the country.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lesbian candidate elected to the Senate, took the stage after Atkins and was welcomed with a standing ovation. She opened her speech with a remark about the delegation from her home state of Wisconsin.
“Our breakfast doesn’t have a stage or stage lights,” Baldwin joked.
Switching to a serious tone, Baldwin warned that Democrats must stay engaged or risk the kinds of controversies her state has faced with the election of conservative Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
“What has happened in Wisconsin is extremely frustrating, (Walker) pitting one group against another,” she said. “Families can’t even talk politics around the table because they have been ripped apart. I see similarities with Donald Trump.
“I want to call out everybody in California to make sure America doesn’t have to experience the discord that my state has faced,” Baldwin said. “In order to succeed, we have to be able to win elections.”
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer closed Wednesday’s breakfast.
“There were very few role models when I started my career,” Boxer said. “On Thursday evening, millions upon millions of young girls and boys will watch what happens and say to themselves, ‘I can do anything.’ ”
Taylor Carson is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She will be reporting on the Democratic National Convention from Philadelphia as part of a project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets.