Bloomfield Township resident Daniel Elkus is among the few local residents making the trip to Charlotte, NC, to represent Michigan's 9th District at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Now a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Elkus has been involved with politics throughout most of his young life. An active supporter of the Democratic Party since 2004, Elkus' interests were first peaked during John Kerry's presidential bid.
As an early supporter and volunteer during President Obama's 2008 campaign, Elkus began to grow his political résumé. He volunteered with Congressman Gary Peters’ campaign the same year, and that would later lead to an internship during his re-election. Notably, Elkus served as Director of Research for Mark Bernstein’s Campaign for University of Michigan Regent.
Elkus is majoring in general studies, and is very involved with various campus political organizations including the ACLU, the College Democrats and Hillel. He cites disability rights and advocacy among his passions, as well as community involvement. Elkus currently serves as a board member of United Cerebral Palsy of Metropolitan Detroit.
To learn more about Elkus, read what he had to say to Bloomfield-Bloomfield Hills Patch below.
Q: How does a person become a delegate?
A: One can become a delegate by being politically active and volunteering on political campaigns. The formal process for becoming a delegate to the DNC in Michigan occurs in two stages- the district convention and the State Central meeting. Each Congressional District is allocated a certain number of male and female delegates based on its Democratic strength. The 9th District which includes most of Oakland County was allocated 4 male delegates, 1 male alternate and 5 female delegates.
In order to be allowed to run as a delegate one must file paperwork with the Michigan Democratic Party as well as be vetted by the Obama campaign. At the State Central stage of delegate selection an additional 41 delegates elected at the state level and 20 PLEO delegates (Party Leader and Elected Official delegates) are chosen. In total, there are 220 delegates from Michigan For me, becoming a delegate was the culmination of years of political involvement, volunteering and meeting with many key principals in the Michigan Democratic Party.
Q: Are we going to see you on TV in a funny hat?
A: No. That’s not my style.
Q: Do you feel that your presence at the convention will make an impact? How so?
A: My presence will make an impact at the convention because I am a young delegate and it is so crucial that younger Americans become more involved in the political process. Additionally, I will be able to represent the views of people with disabilities by showing my support for President Obama’s Health Care law, the Matthew Shepherd Act and increased employment for people with disabilities under Obama.
Q: These days a lot of people are disenchanted with the two major parties. What makes you proud of your party?
A: I’m proud of the Democratic Party because it collectively stands for the ideals of what America should be. The Democratic Party has a proven track record of standing up for quality education for all, progressive taxes, working families and the right to collectively bargain, Health Care for all Americans, a woman’s right to choose, effective public transportation, equality, and an alternative energy future.
Q: Do you know other delegates going, or are you about to join thousands of strangers on the convention floor?
A: I know a few other delegates from Michigan that will be going because of my time interning on various political campaigns. I look forward to meeting other young progressives from across the country in Charlotte as well as established political leaders.
Q: What are you looking forward to most at the convention?
A: I am most looking forward to President Obama’s acceptance of the nomination at Bank of America Stadium where he will lay out his vision for a just America.
Q: What would you want your neighbors to know about the convention?
A: I would want my neighbors to know that being involved in Democratic Politics is very accessible-if you put in the time on campaigns, your voice can be heard.