PRESS RELEASE from the Democratic National Convention Committee

August 22, 2008
CONTACTS: Jenni Engebretsen
                        Damon Jones
                        Natalie Wyeth



Democrats Highlight and Celebrate Everyday Americans
Coming Together to Change the Course of a Nation

DENVER –The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Obama for America campaign today announced that everyday Americans will speak each night of the Convention in primetime to share their voices as the people who have been powering Barack Obama’s campaign for change.

Over the last few years, Barack Obama has joined with Americans in every state in this country in a positive campaign for change. The stories of the people he has met throughout this long campaign have inspired Barack Obama and helped to shape the policies he will promote as President. The speakers selected to be part of the nightly program come from across the nation, but they are all brought together through their personal stories, which address real life challenges.

Monday, August 25 – One Nation

On Monday night, Mike and Cheryl Fisher of Indiana will speak. After years of working to provide for their three children, the Fishers are facing the possibility of Mike being laid off from his job as an Amtrak mechanic. The Fishers believe Barack Obama is the best hope because he understands what it is like to face every day economic struggles.

"I'm just a poor railroader. I've got a small house and a family I'm trying to raise,” said Mike.  Barack and Michelle can relate to that because of their upbringing."

Margie Perez of Louisiana has also been inspired by Barack Obama’s call for change since losing her home in Hurricane Katrina. After her home was destroyed, Perez moved into a Habitat for Humanity home in the Musician’s Village of New Orleans. It was there that she had the opportunity to meet Senator Obama as he toured the Village, listened to survivors’ stories and shared his thoughts about how best to move forward with relief and rebuilding efforts.

Candi Schmieder of Iowa will also take the stage on Monday. After years spent removed from the political process and missing Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Schmieder became a precinct captain because she was excited by Obama’s “common sense ideas.”

Tuesday, August 26 – Renewing America’s Promise

Millions of Americans will be united through the stories presented during Tuesday night’s program, as they focus on Americans’ concerns about the economy, rising healthcare costs and the need to expand educational opportunities for all. Pauline Beck of California, a home healthcare worker, will speak during Tuesday’s program. As a mother balancing several jobs to make ends meet, and dedicated member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Pauline believes, “Barack Obama is the right candidate for workers.” Last year, Beck spent a day with Barack Obama joining in the “Walk a Day in My Shoes” program, chronicled here:

Pamella Cash-Roper of North Carolina was forced out of work after she and her husband suffered from severe and costly health issues. The uninsured couple was nearly forced into bankruptcy due to the rising costs of health care. Despite supporting Republicans all her life, Pamella wants to vote for a candidate she can believe in for the first time in her life.

Native American educator, David Gipp of North Dakota, has spent more than three decades working towards the development of tribal colleges. Speaking on Tuesday, Gipp is also an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux) Tribe.

Also on Tuesday, Robin Golden of Michigan will speak, representing just one of the hundreds of workers at the seat-track plant where he works whose job will be shipped overseas to Mexico when the plant closes in November. Robin supports Senator Obama because of his economic plans to rebuild America and help struggling working families. Katherine Marcano of Iowa, who balances working a full-time job and being a college student, while providing health insurance for her younger sister, will also speak. Katherine suffered even greater hardship after being displaced by this summer’s floods in Iowa.

Wednesday, August 27— Securing America’s Future

Mark Docherty of Michigan will speak on Wednesday.  As a former member of the US Army and fireman in the Hazardous Materials division, Mark understands the importance of having government support for critical services and believes that from infrastructure funding to ending the war in Iraq, Barack Obama will be a president that all Americans can rely on.

Michele Jones of Washington, DC a former enlisted member of the US Army, will also speak on behalf of military servants and their families. Prior to her retirement, she was the highest ranking enlisted woman in the Army. She is the first woman to serve as Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve. 

Wednesday night’s program will also feature Beth Robinson of Virginia, an active military spouse living with multiple sclerosis who is concerned for the health and safety of her young family. Her husband, Matt, is a United States Marine and expects to be deployed to the Middle East again next year. In the face of all these uncertainties, Beth believes strongly that Barack Obama is the man who will best represent the needs of those in the military and their families. Xiomara Rodriguez of Nevada, a 20-year Coast Guard veteran, grandmother and small business owner, will provide a voice on veteran affairs. She believes that Barack Obama will ensure every soldier and veteran in America is taken care of properly by the government, and that small business owners are protected.

Also taking part in Wednesday’s program in a very special role is Michael Wilson of Florida, a Republican and Air Force medic veteran of Iraq. Mike is inspired by Senator Obama’s courage, judgment, and determination to restore our country’s standing in the world and believes Obama reflects "what America is and what America needs."

The stories of all the featured speakers demonstrate Barack Obama’s ability to inspire Americans to come together for change.
Thursday, August 28 – Change We Can Believe In

On Thursday, Barack Obama will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President at INVESCO Field at Mile High in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 Democrats, Independents and Republicans.  He will speak from the 50-yard line surrounded by more than 300 first-time delegates, everyday Americans and the contest winners.

More details will be announced on the program for Thursday night in the coming days.

Everywhere you look at the 2008 Democratic Convention, you will see everyday Americans featured prominently. In addition to the speakers announced today, Americans will be celebrated through the Convention’s nightly “America’s Town Hall” segments in which the American people will have an opportunity to ask their leaders questions directly via video. Answers to those questions will be delivered live from the Convention floor Monday through Wednesday.

American Voices Center Stage

Monday, August 25
Mike and Cheryl Fisher (Beech Grove, IN)
Margie Perez (New Orleans, LA)
Candi Schmieder (Marengo, IA)

Tuesday, August 26
Pauline Beck (Oakland, CA)
Pamella Cash-Roper (Pittsboro, NC)
David Gipp (Fort Yates, ND)
Robin Golden (Wyoming, MI)
Katherine Marcano (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Wednesday, August 27
Mark Docherty (Sterling Heights, MI)
Michele Jones (Washington, DC)
Beth Robinson (Norfolk, VA)
Xiomara Rodriguez (Reno, NV)
Michael Wilson (Melbourne, FL)