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Student attends Democratic convention

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By Calen McKinney

His political science textbooks came to life last week when he heard speeches by famous politicians, Kentucky lawmakers and a presidential hopeful.

He was also the youngest person to serve as a Kentucky delegate at the Democratic National Convention.

Micah Spicer, 19, is a sophomore working on degrees in political science and pastoral ministries at Campbellsville University.

Originally from Graves County, Spicer participated in the Young Democrats club during his high school years. Through the club's events and meetings, Spicer said, he developed a close relationship with Rep. Fred Nesler (D-Mayfield).

Spicer said Nesler knew of his interest in politics and let him travel with him to Frankfort for political meetings. During these trips, Spicer met several other legislators and politicians.

"Politics is always something I've enjoyed and liked," Spicer said.

In 2006, Spicer met Hillary Clinton at a fundraising event.

"I decided then that if she ever ran for president, I wanted to be at the convention," Spicer said.

Two years later, Spicer accomplished his goal after being elected in June as one of about 35 delegates from Kentucky to attend the national convention.

In all, he said, 60 delegates, including various Kentucky politicians serving as super delegates, represented Kentucky.

Spicer completed his paperwork to become a delegate a few months ago and pledged his support for Clinton. After meeting and talking with several political figures at the state Democratic convention, Spicer said he was surprised to find his name on the delegate ballot.

"I met and shook as many hands as I could," he said. "I tried to get as many votes as I could."

Spicer said several political veterans were on the delegate ballot.

"I didn't think I had a chance at all," he said. "To hear my name called was this feeling of excitement."

At the Democratic National Convention, which was Aug. 25-28 in Denver, Colo., delegates from across the nation came together to hear speeches and vote on the Democratic party platform and presidential nominees.

"It's a lot more than speeches, confetti and fun, though," Spicer said.

Spicer said presidential candidates have to receive 15 percent or more of the popular vote in the May Primary Election before delegates can be elected to represent them at the convention.

As a delegate, Spicer said, his duties were to simply vote "yes" or "no" to the party's platform and select a nominee for the Democratic slot for president and vice president.

In addition to those duties, he said, he listened to speeches by political leaders such as Al Gore, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Barack and Michelle Obama, attended events geared toward college-aged young adults and attended meetings with Kentucky legislators.

Spicer also listened to concerts by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Melissa Etheridge and attended events geared toward environmentalism.

His daily schedule included sitting in on meetings and lunches, giving interviews with media, and attending the actual convention beginning daily at about 3 p.m. with parties following the close of each day of the convention.

"There wasn't a lot of downtime," he said.

Spicer said he didn't get to see the convention on television, though he thinks he was on air for a few seconds when he and a few other delegates stood up behind the delegates from Mississippi when they were introduced.

He said the convention was exciting and it was special to be the youngest delegate representing Kentucky.

"I was important for a week, now I'm just Micah Spicer again," he said.

"Not everyone my age gets to experience this."

Spicer said he was a bit disappointed, however, that Hillary Clinton was not chosen as the Democratic nominee.

"Barack is our nominee," he said. "It's my responsibility now to get behind him and help him in any way that I can."

Spicer said he has now seen some of the good and bad side of politics.

"You have to take a stand," he said. "You can't let [politicians] make you waiver. You've got to follow your conscience."

Spicer said some of the highlights of the convention included hearing 84,000 people in a stadium singing "Born in the USA."

"That was really cool," he said. "An adrenaline rush."

Another memorable moment for Spicer was seeing several black people cry at the emotional moment when Obama was chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate.

"They never expected the day [a black person was nominated for president] to come," he said.

Spicer said he saw several people become emotional when Clinton didn't receive the party's nomination.

"Some people were crying," he said. "They put all they had into Hillary Clinton's campaign."

He said he remembers taking his Clinton button off the night before the last day of the convention and replacing it with an Obama one.

"It was time to move on," he said. "I voted Hillary. I voted my conscience."

Spicer said another memorable moment came when Clinton asked to meet with the delegates from Kentucky.

"She had pretty strong voters in our delegation and wanted to meet us."

Spicer said he would like to have a future as a member of Kentucky's state legislature. On the state level, he said, representatives are able to interact with Kentucky's residents.

"You go to the same grocery store as the people you represent," he said. "I think it's important to have a relationship with the people of the district."

- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at reporter@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.