Berkshire delegates: Unity efforts on at Democratic National Convention


PHILADELPHIA — Local delegates to the Democratic National Convention said Wednesday that party unity continues to grow in the wake of Hillary Clinton's nomination the night before as the first woman presidential candidate.

"Today's [Massachusetts delegation] breakfast was particularly exciting," said state Rep. Trisha Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield. "While we were listening to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Bernie Sanders himself walks in. The room went wild."

She added, "Bernie gave some remarks focusing on how we need to unify for a victory in November, because if [Republican Donald] Trump wins, the goals of the [progressive] revolution will be lost."

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, said during the afternoon that, as a longtime supporter of the Clintons, he cast his vote for Hillary Clinton during the roll call of states that ended when Sanders called for her selection by acclamation.

"I was a delegate eight years ago, in Denver," Neal said. "I think there was a great lesson in sticking to it. We will be united. There are always some hard feelings, but there seemed to be an effort to heal those rifts."

In 2008, after a hard-fought Democratic primary campaign won by Sen. Barack Obama over Clinton, she made a motion from the convention floor to make Obama's selection a unanimous one, helping to foster unity among Democrats for the fall campaign.

"It seems that the [convention] speakers were pretty positive," Neal said, referring to the efforts to unite the Clinton and Sanders delegates for taking on the Republican nominee. "The comments afterward have been too."

The congressman added, "I think we will leave with a very strong ticket."

"I go way back with the Clintons," Neal said, "so I was really pleased. Hillary, now she will become the leader of the party as well, which is another milestone."

Farley-Bouvier said she also attended a Working Families Caucus Wednesday, "where such things as paid family leave, minimum wage and pay equity were discussed. Interestingly, when I tell people I am from Massachusetts, many say how many of a progressive bills they are fighting for are based on Mass. laws."

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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