First election a memorable one for Mountain Top woman


PHILADELPHIA — The 2016 Democratic National Convention is about Hillary Clinton and her quest to become the first female president in the history of the United States.

But Clinton was placed into nomination by her delegates, having won a majority of them during the primary process.

And now that competitive dust has settled, all delegates — nearly 5,000 of them — are near the end of a grueling week that showed a lot of unity, a large amount of dissent and a common thread that Democrats need to be Democrats to keep Republican Donald Trump from winning in November.

Eric Graff of Mountain Top, had a rough week. It started with him needing to be hospitalized after being overcome by heat inside the Wells Fargo Center Monday night. Graff returned to the convention Wednesday and he is ready to do all he can to support Clinton.

Graff has supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, but as he says, he is not a “Bernie or Bust” guy. He said the fight for the nomination is over and he is now 100 percent behind Clinton. Graff said he is and always has been a loyal Democrat.

Graff has been accompanied to the DNC by his daughter, Monica, 18, a graduate of Crestwood High School. Like her father, Monica has supported Sanders and his progressive agenda and political revolution.

This is Monica’s first election that she is eligible to vote. She was especially proud to be able to vote in the April Pennsylvania Primary, where she cast her vote for Sanders and her father.

“I found that to be amazing,” Monica said of her first-time voting experience. “Bernie has been a beacon of hope in this election. My dad has always been my beacon of hope. This has been a very special time for me.”

Monica said she has walked with the Sanders delegates when they paraded down Broad Street Monday and she has attended other events held by Sanders delegates that showed they are still adamant about getting the Democratic Party to incorporate Sanders views and issues into the party platform.

“I’m proud of her,” Eric said of his daughter, who has been at her father’s side throughout the convention.

John Zody, chairman of the Indiana State Democratic Party, said his state’s delegation has been split down the middle in support of Clinton and Sanders. He said the delegates have participated in spirited discussions and debates about the candidates.

“For the Bernie delegates, our hats are off to him,” Zody said. “His supporters have great respect for him. It will take time, but most will come around and support the Democratic ticket.”

Diana Carpenter Madoshi of California is a Clinton delegate. She said she hopes Clinton wins because her 13-year-old granddaughter is also rooting for her to win.

“Hillary is by far the most qualified person for the job,” Madoshi said.

She was wearing earrings in honor of Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt, two of her heroes.

Alexis Waksmunski, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, is a Sanders delegate from Cambrian County. She said she is now supporting Clinton and she hopes to see the candidate acknowledge much of Sanders’ platform.

“That’s what will ring over the Bernie people,” she said. “My concerns are in the areas of foreign policy, diplomacy and national security.”

And Waksmunski said seeing a woman be nominated and have the opportunity to become the first woman’s president in history is exciting.

“As a woman, it’s awesome to be here to witness this,” she said.

By Bill O’Boyle

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Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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