COOKEVILLE — When delegates from across the country attend the Democratic National Convention this summer in Philadelphia to choose their nominee for the November presidential election, Cookeville’s Michelle Davis will be among them.
Davis was selected as the only delegate in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the Democratic District Convention on Saturday at the Putnam Courthouse in Cookeville.
More than 150 people from the nearly 20 counties in the 6th District filled the third-floor courtroom on Saturday as delegates for both Sanders and Hillary Clinton vyed to become delegates to represent their candidates at the Democratic National Convention.
The 6th District includes Pickett, Fentress, Cumberland, White, DeKalb, Cannon, Coffee, Wilson, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Trousdale, Macon, Sumner and Robertson counties and small portions of Van Buren and Cheatham counties.
“There are 76 total delegates in Tennessee,” 6th Congressional District Convention Chairperson Geeta McMillan told delegates on Saturday. “Forty-four of those are being elected today in all nine districts.”
Following McMillan’s introduction, supporters of Sanders and Clinton split into groups to caucus for which delegates would represent each in the national convention.
Five, including Davis, were selected. Based on the popular vote distribution across the state, Sanders was allowed one delegate from the 6th District, while Clinton was allowed four. Clinton received 66 percent of the Democratic vote on Super Tuesday, while Sanders received 32 percent of the vote.
Delegates were nominated by their supporters who introduced them, and then each was allowed one minute to encourage those present to vote for him or her.
Davis, who has been a member of the Putnam County Democratic Party for eight years and also served as chairperson, said she was inspired to run as a delegate by the candidacy of Sanders.
“The day Senator Sanders announced that he was joining the race for the presidency, I began to organize and volunteer for his campaign,” Davis told the Herald-Citizen by email. “Bernie is the only candidate who has an established record of fighting for the impoverished and the middle class against the billionaires and multi-national corporations that control the majority of wealth in this country and exert undue influence upon our political process.”
Davis, a Mississippi native, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston and a master’s in psychology from Vanderbilt. She works at Tennessee Tech University as an outreach coordinator.
“I am honored to be elected to represent the voters of the 6th District in Tennessee who voted for Bernie in the primary,” Davis said. “On their behalf, I will proudly cast my ballot for Senator Sanders to be the Democratic candidate for president.”
Jordan Wilkins of Smithville, Leonard Stevenson Jr. of Lebanon and Bonnie Fussell of Portland were selected as delegates representing Hillary Clinton. Pat Stanton of Lebanon was selected as an alternate for Clinton.
Prior to voting, some expressed concern about the Democratic Party’s requirement for diversity in the delegates selected, meaning that minorities, LGBTQ and disabled should represent half the delegates selected. McMillan confirmed that the requirement was met on Saturday.
Delegates elected Saturday will represent their candidates at the Democratic National Convention, July 25-28, in Philadelphia, where the Democratic nominee for president will be selected.