Lake Charles resident Davante Lewis, left, and Connecticut's Thomas Dec on the floor at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The 20-year-old Lewis served as Louisiana’s youngest delegate. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:30 AM
The past week has been a “dream come true” for Lake Charles resident Davante Lewis, who served as Louisiana’s youngest delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Lewis, 20, will not cast his first presidential vote until November, but he has already been more involved in the political process than most average citizens.
Lewis has been closely following presidential politics since 2004 and said getting to be an active participant in the election has been “a long time coming.”
“In 2004, I stayed up to watch bits and pieces of the convention with my grandparents and that was the first time I saw Barack Obama. I told my grandma I hoped he ran for a bigger office some day. I joined the Obama campaign in July 2007. I was an early fan. Then in 2008, it worked out that the convention was in Mountain Standard Time, so I had enough time to get home from school, do some homework, and eat something before watching the convention on C-SPAN from gavel to gavel,” Lewis said.
“But now I don’t have to just talk presidential politics. I don’t have to just watch presidential politics, now I’m a part of presidential politics. I’m completely honored.”
Lewis said attending the DNC was a “great experience”
“There’s a lot more to the convention than is shown on primetime TV. Beyond the speeches, there are a lot of educational meetings we go to. I’ve been to a panel on higher education and ones on specific policies,” Lewis said.
“It’s also a great networking and bonding experience.”
Lewis said he made it his goal to meet at least one person from every state and he spent a lot of his time interacting with the other young delegates from around the U.S. to accomplish it.
“The young delegates, of course we want more people our age to vote Democratic, but more than that we want to see more young people involved,” Lewis said.
“We want to go back to our home states and tell people our age why it’s important to vote, why it’s important to pay attention to these policies. I understand that social security may not affect you now, but it’s going to affect you later in life. We have to take hold of our own future if we ever want to prosper.”
Lewis said he also spent a lot of time bonding with the other Louisiana delegates.
“I connected a lot with the Louisiana delegation. There were so many great people and we were like family,” he said.
“The older ones were always checking on me. They really took me under their wing. I was basically their son or their grandson.”
The Louisiana delegation’s ages ranged from 20 to 77.
“I think we had someone from every single decade until about 80,” he said.
“We had just about every demographic represented too. White, black, old and young.”
Lewis said the speech by Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor, was his favorite and was one of the “most electric” of the convention.
“Her speech erupted the crowd, it erupted me. I was so energetic after that.”
He added that the speech by Vice President Joe Biden was a close second.
Lewis said the entire convention’s energy was “simply phenomenal.”
“You literally have America in that room. There were blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics. There were gays and straights, old and young. It was very representative of America,” Lewis said.
“When you sit down in that room and look around, not only are you looking at Democrats, but you’re looking at America because you can see the diversity in the states and the diversity in our nation’s population.”
Though the 2012 convention is over, Lewis wants to stay involved in national politics and keep the DNC’s momentum going.
“I heard a rumor that the 2016 convention may be held in New Orleans. That would be amazing to host it in my home state,” he said.
“But wherever we go in 2016, I hope to be there.”