A co-owner of a brewery. A tribal council member. A young woman fresh out of high school.
These are some of the six men and women who will represent Bellingham and Whatcom County as delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Washington state also will send Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, both of whom are superdelegates who have pledged to support Hillary Clinton. All delegates will contribute to the Democratic Party platform and select a Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election.
Here is a look at Bellingham’s 2016 delegates to the Democratic National Convention:
At 18 years old, Kenn is the youngest delegate from Bellingham attending the DNC. Kenn, a delegate pledged to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is a 2016 graduate of Mount Vernon High School and plans to attend Western Washington University in the fall.
She is co-chair of the Stonewall Democrats of Washington and a member of the LGBT community – she said she hopes to push for LGBT rights at the DNC. Additionally, Kenn hopes to focus on environmental issues and the engagement of young people in politics.
It will be Kenn’s first time away from her family when she travels to Philadelphia for the convention.
“I’m prepared to network and get as much as I can out of this experience because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.
To follow Kenn at the DNC, readers can find her on Facebook.
U.S. Rep Rick Larsen
Larsen, 51, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing Washington’s 2nd Congressional District in 2000. He has been re-elected in the six subsequent elections. Larsen will attend the DNC as a superdelegate supporting Clinton.
“I believe that she’s the best foot forward for the Democratic Party, and she’s the most qualified and most capable candidate running for president,” Larsen said.
Larsen said he thinks the most important issues to the people of Bellingham are climate change, the creation of jobs and the protection of women’s rights and civil rights.
Lewis, 24, will attend the DNC as a pledged delegate to Sanders. Lewis is an English instructor at Northwest Indian College.
“College funding is like the new housing bubble,” Lewis said. “It’s set up to fail, and something needs to be done before it’s too late.”
Lewis said she is most passionate about child wellness in the education system. It’s important, she said, to reform the system so it can address students’ mental and physical health issues.
“It’s an investment rather than an expenditure,” she noted. “We’ll see the payoff.”
To follow Lewis at the DNC, readers can find her on Facebook.
As an elected council member for the Lummi Nation, Nickolaus Lewis, 34, said he hopes to improve relationships between Native American tribes and the government as a delegate for Sanders at the DNC.
“There are constant threats to take away our treaty rights,” Lewis said. “I feel we’ve always been underrepresented.”
Lewis also hopes to advocate for environmental issues, which he said go “hand-in-hand” with tribal issues.
“We need to protect the one world we have,” he said. “We need green energy and to move away from fossil fuels so our children can have the same resources we grew up with.”
To follow Lewis at the DNC, readers can follow him on Facebook.
This month’s convention will not be Richard May’s first time representing the people of Washington. May, 49, the planning commissioner for Blaine, also attended the Democratic conventions in 2004 and 2008 as a local delegate. This time, he will support Sanders.
May said he will advocate for a $15 minimum wage and fight against climate change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a trade deal among 12 countries presently stirring up controversy in Washington.
“The convention is a big battle to railroad those through,” May said.
Dallas Roberts, 23, graduated from Western Washington University in 2016 and has since been working as a field organizer for Denny Heck for Congress. Roberts will attend the DNC as a pledged delegate for Sanders.
At the convention, Roberts hopes to promote campaign finance reform and take a stance on environmental issues. Roberts said climate change is the “defining issue of my generation, which really needs to be addressed.”
“The convention is a culmination of a lot of hard work, not only on my part, but for Americans across the country,” Roberts said. “To be one of those people representing Washington state and Bernie is awesome.”
More than 30 years ago, Victoria Savage, 59, worked as a patient advocate and an HIV coordinator in San Francisco. She witnessed atrocities regularly, she said, like when some of her terminally ill patients had to auction off their life insurance to pay for medication or to pay expenses that let them remain in their homes.
Savage, drawing on her own experience in the industry, said she wants to improve national health care during her time as an alternate delegate pledged to Sanders.
Since Savage left the health care industry, she opened North Fork Brewery with her husband near Deming and has spent the past six years on the Board of Directors of the Whatcom Humane Society.
As an alternate delegate, Savage will fill in for delegates at the convention during their absence or when they leave the floor. Savage said she is confident her fellow delegates will share their time on the floor with her generously.
“There’s the widespread opinion among full delegates that they’re going to give alternate delegates some time on the floor,” Savage said.
Michaela Winberg is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. This month, she will be reporting on the Democratic National Convention from Philadelphia as part of a groundbreaking project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets. To keep up with DNC in real time, readers can follow the hashtag #DemsInPhilly on Twitter. For live coverage of the Washington delegation specifically, follow @mwinberg_on Twitter and like Whatcom at DNC2016 on Facebook.