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Mary Katherine Brown, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Committee, will be heading to Boston for the Democratic National Convention July 26. (Meredith Spencer The Vicksburg Post)

[7/19/04]A repeat delegate to a Democratic National Convention will be Warren County’s lone representative to a major political party’s national convention this year.

Mary Katherine Brown, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Committee, is preparing to attend her second straight Democratic National Convention as a delegate in Boston a week from today.

Each major political party will hold its national convention.

The Republican National Convention will begin Aug. 30 in New York.

At each of the conventions, delegates will nominate the party’s candidate for president and outline party positions.

Brown was also a delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

“What I learned last time that I didn’t know is that there are all kinds of meetings and training that go on during the day,” during the weeklong convention, she said.

“There are meetings of a women’s group, a meeting of an African-American coalition, meetings on health issues, meetings dealing with education issues, training as it relates to how to get out the vote,” she said. “This time I have made plans to attend certain of those meetings” on topics she believes will help her work in Warren County.

Brown said she already knows the Mississippi delegation to the convention will be sharing a hotel with delegates from North Carolina, Alabama and Iowa, and she looks forward to informal meetings with delegates from those places.

“It’s always good to get with other people from different states and find out how they do things,” she said. “This will be the first time we’ve had the opportunity to be with a state from the Midwest such as Iowa.”

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention have been elected during a democratic process that began with caucuses in each voting precinct of each county in the state Feb. 21.

Such caucuses or conventions resulted in the election of delegates to the meeting for the next-largest geographical area and continued as a meeting was held for each county, each congressional district and the state.

Those meetings were in each of three successive months. The meetings culminated with the May 29 state convention.

Brown said she and other delegates to the national convention were elected at the congressional-district conventions and the rest were elected at the state convention. Delegates to the national convention are required only to attend the convention at which they are so elected, she said.

The state Democratic Party will send a delegation of 53 to Boston, said its executive director, Keelan Sanders. The entire delegation will vote for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the party’s expected nominee for president, who received 78.4 percent of votes cast in March in the eight-candidate state Democratic presidential primary, Sanders said.

Party rules require the delegation’s votes to be cast as a bloc for the primary winner unless a candidate receives 15 percent or more of the primary vote, Sanders said. In such cases each candidate who meets that popular-vote threshold receives a proportional number of the delegates’ votes at the convention, he added.

Kerry’s choice for vice president, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., finished second in the Mississippi primary with 7.3 percent of the vote. Kerry also carried Warren County in the primary.

Kerry will challenge President Bush, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary and is expected to be nominated for re-election at his party’s convention five weeks later.

Issues addressed in the party’s platform may also be proposed and considered at each level in the convention process.

A change in the Democratic Party’s platform Brown said was approved at this year’s state convention is the scope of the party’s position on poverty. Once limited to conditions in Mississippi, the state party’s new platform reads, “We call for the total eradication of poverty around the world.”

Such a change allows the state party to propose to the national convention that it adopt that position unchanged.

Delegates have been advised that increased security precautions are being taken this year, with access to the Fleet Center, where the main events will be held, to be limited for several blocks around the building.

“We will be transported from our hotel sites to the convention,” Brown said, adding that each delegation will be driven separately to the meeting location.

No delegate to the Democratic convention is from Claiborne, Sharkey or Issaquena county.

The state Republican Party’s Web site lists 38 delegates and 35 alternates for its national convention, none from Warren or its neighbors to the north or south.