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J. Pat Carter/AP
Robert Wexler

Campaign Profiles: Key Speakers at the Democratic National Convention: Wednesday

August 27, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
FindingDulcinea profiles some of the key speakers at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, including biographical information and insight into why they will be speaking at the event.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Robert Wexler

A self-described “Fire-Breathing Liberal,” Florida’s Robert Wexler has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, earning a consistently progressive reputation and a local popularity that has left him unopposed in his last two elections.
Born in Queens, New York, Wexler moved at the age of ten to Florida’s 19th District, which includes Palm Beach and parts of Broward Counties. After earning degrees from the University of Florida and George Washington University Law School, Wexler served in the state senate before running for national office. Since entering Congress, Wexler has used his position on the House Judiciary Committee to pursue a number of controversial investigations, including an effort to open hearings on high crime charges against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Dubbed the country’s “Most Valuable Congressmen” by The Nation magazine, Wexler spoke on behalf of Barack Obama at May’s Democratic National Committee meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

The meeting decided the contested primary elections in Florida and Michigan in favor of Obama, effectively ending the Democratic primary.

Wexler is married to Laurie Cohen and has three children.

Richard Daley

The current Democratic mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley is the second longest-serving mayor in U.S. history, bested only by his father, who held office from 1955 until 1976.

Reelected in 2007 with more than 70 percent of the vote, the younger Daley will likely surpass his father around Christmas 2010.
The eldest son in a deeply political family, Daley has spent his life in Illinois politics, beginning public life as a delegate to the state’s constitutional committee before holding positions as a state senator, state’s attorney and prosecutor.

Since taking office in 1989, Daley has pursued a hard line approach to economic and environmental development. In 2005, Time magazine named him one of the country’s five best big-city mayors. Thanks in part to his family legacy and long tenure in office, Richard the Second, as he is known, reportedly wields more power than any mayor in the country’s history.

Intent on bringing the Olympic Games to Chicago in 2016, Daley has spent much of his political capital to revitalize great swaths of the city, including the opening of Millennium Park.

Daley endorsed Barack Obama for president just hours after the Illinois senator announced his intention to run in February 2007. The mayor is married to Margaret Daley and has four children.

L. Tammy Duckworth

Born in Thailand to an American father and Chinese mother, Duckworth comes from a long family tradition of military service. A member of the Illinois National Guard, L. Tammy Duckworth was called to active duty in Iraq as a helicopter pilot, a position she chose because it was the only combat role available to women.
In November 2004, Duckworth’s helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade outside of Baghdad. Although she was able to land the aircraft safely, the incident resulted in the loss of both of her legs and nearly destroyed one of her arms.

After recovering at Walter Reed Hospital, Major Duckworth dedicated her professional life to the needs of returning veterans. After running for the U.S. House seat for Illinois’s 6th District, which she lost by 2 percent of the vote, Duckworth was appointed the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. She is also pursuing a doctorate in political science.

Deeply critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq and treatment of veterans, Duckworth has pushed to assure tax breaks for employers who hire vets and below-market mortgages for injured soldiers, among many other efforts.

Duckworth is married to Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey and was endorsed by Barack Obama in her Congressional campaign.

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