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Big weekend ahead for Iowa Democrats

James Q. Lynch, CR Gazette –

It will be a big weekend for Iowa Democrats as they celebrate their Hall of Fame Dinner Friday night and then gather Saturday for the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention in Des Moines.

The Friday night gala at the at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines (Veterans Auditorium) will honor retiring Sen. Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg, and Michael Gartner, a longtime party supporter.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, more than 1,000 Democrats are expected to attend the convention at Vets where the party will affirm its platform and elect 19 national convention delegates.

At both events, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will deliver the keynote address. IDP Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky of Coralville called Patrick “a great advocate for Democratic values and middle class opportunity.”

The platform, which calls condemns “all forms of discrimination,” such as the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other limits on same-sex marriage, will provide a contrast to the Republican Party of Iowa which will have its convention down the street at Hy-Vee Hall as the same time Democrats are meeting, said Democratic spokesman Michael Hunt. The GOP platform includes language banning same-sex marriage.

The Democratic platform expands on the party’s position in 2010 to oppose the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but did call same-sex marriage a “civil right.”

Although he anticipates little debate on the platform, which can be seen at http://iowademocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2010platform.pdf, Hunt said the discussion will take up the largest block of time.

Democrats already have elected 35 delegates to the national convention in Charlotte, NC., in late August. Nineteen more delegates will be elected Saturday. Two Democratic National Committee members will be elected.

The party will elect chairs for the veterans, Latinos, Asian-Pacific Islanders, LGBT, African-American, American Indian and Disability caucuses.

In addition to Patrick, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and other Democratic members of the congressional delegation – Reps. Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell – as well as congressional candidates and legislative leaders are expected to speak.

For a list of delegates elected at the district conventions, visit http://www.iowademocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Delegates1.pdf.

To see the proposed platform, visit http://iowademocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2010platform.pdf.

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