The Inaugural Convention of the Maine Chapter of the College Democrats of America was deemed a success by Bowdoin Democrats and visiting delegates.
Delegate turnout for the Friday and Saturday convention reached nearly 200, a higher attendance than projected by convention organizers earlier that week.
The event, which focused on the the youth vote in Maine and political activism on college campuses, intended to strengthen liberal political organizations in the state. Governor John Baldacci, Congressman Tom Allen and Congressman Mike Michaud spoke at the event.
Student delegations represented Bowdoin, Colby, Bates, Farmington, Orono, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Augusta, Southern Maine, and Southern Maine Community College.
"It was energizing to get together with other young Democrats, and talk about the upcoming election and things we could do to make sure Maine swings to Kerry," said Colby College Democrats President Kelly Benvenuto '07. "I felt that the convention gave me a lot of focus, with specific things I could bring back to my campus."
While Baldacci, Allen, and Michaud all emphasized the importance of the youth vote in the upcoming election, students say each speaker's message appealed to them differently.
Michaud spoke of the lunch pail he used to carry with him to the mill everyday and explained that the pail now sits on his desk in Washington, D.C. "I like that he keeps the idea of the average worker with him when he's at work," said Benvenuto, whose college is located in Michaud's district. "He is distinct from every other congressman in that he never went to college. He is a real testament to what people can do in this country."
"Tom Allen was a great speaker," Tim Webster '08 said. "He addressed the importance of this election for the state of Maine and raised spirits for November 2."
Though originally scheduled to take place in Smith Union, Baldacci's speech was moved at the last minute to Moulton by event organizers.
"We only reserved Smith Union in the event that we ran out of space. In addition, Moulton provided better security and we could control protesters easily," said Bowdoin College Democrats Co-President and Maine College Democrats Co-President Alex Cornell du Houx '06.
Republicans did hold a rally outside of Moulton (see related story.) Cornell du Houx found the scene to be a motivating factor.
"Baldacci drew protesters from across the state, which is a complement to us and shows how worried the Republicans are regarding the strength of our organization," he said.