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Pomona Sophomore Headed to the DNC as a Pledged Delegate

This year’s presidential election is bringing out the political activism in younger voters and the Pomona campus is no different, as evidenced by the sidewalk chalk declarations of support for candidates found on campus during the primaries in February. One Pomona sophomore has taken her activism to the next level by becoming a pledged delegate for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“I was at one of the wonderful informal talks that the Political Department gives in the Doms Social Room and Professor [Susan] McWilliams said to us, ‘You know you guys can run for delegate, too,’” says Rachel Pelham ’10, a public policy analysis major. “That took me aback because we students are so used to observing the political process from a distances that it rarely occurs to us to think about taking a more active role.”

Pelham starting becoming more active around the time of the primaries, attending meetings of the Democrats of the Claremont Colleges club and gathering a small group of Clinton supporters to raise Clinton's profile on campus.

To become a pledged delegate, Pelham applied to the California Democratic Party to represent Congressional District 26. “Each district votes for a certain number of delegates to go and represent them at the [Democratic] National Convention, pledged to one candidate or the other,” says Pelham. The caucus to determine the district’s representatives was held last Saturday at Scripps.

Pelham will attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August, and also has to travel to Sacramento to be sworn in in person. She hopes to find funding through Pomona and may also fundraise from other sources to pay for the trips.

There was some surprise from the local Democratic Party at Pelham’s youthful age of 20, as other candidates were significantly older, but Pelham says she likely won’t be the only young person at the DNC.

“This year has seen a wave of young people running to go to the convention, from all across the nation, which I am really excited about," says Pelham. “As a student, it’s important to me that when party leaders look out at the convention floor, they see young faces out there who have made the effort to run and get elected, showing that students are finally ready to shed our apathy and become a dynamic voting bloc within their party.”