Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens, attending her first Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, said she is excited to be part of the political process.
"I had no idea what to expect," Phillips said from the convention floor Tuesday afternoon. "I'm really just taking it all in, and enjoying the opportunity."
Phillips called the level of security at the convention "very interesting."
"There's a lot of figuring out the right entrance to use to get into different venues," she said.
Phillips arrived at the convention two days early to attend pre-meetings. Tuesday she'd been to a women's caucus meeting, a rural caucus meeting and a third caucus meeting for small business owners.
For Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason, his first day of convention was spent meeting with a homebuilders' association and in the same rural caucus meeting Phillips attended.
Eliason is at the convention as part of the delegation from the National Association of Counties, in his role as its immediate past president.
Phillips, a PLEO (Public Leaders and Elected Officials) Delegate for the Ohio Democratic Party, said she is one of about 180 party delegates from Ohio at the Democratic National Convention.
According to Phillips and Eliason, the atmosphere at the convention is upbeat.
"There's a lot of really positive buzz and energy," Phillips noted.
"People are enthusiastic about getting four more years for Barack Obama. ...Everybody feels we're better off than four years ago, but it's not enough," said Eliason.
Tuesday evening's speaker line-up was especially exciting for Phillips.
"We'll have four Buckeyes speaking," she said.
Speakers include former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Joyce Beatty, candidate for a new Franklin County congressional seat.
Phillips said she was also looking forward to hearing from First Lady Michelle Obama Tuesday evening.
"I really think that she is a very smart and compassionate person," she said.
Eliason, who had visited with the Rev. Jesse Jackson earlier in the day Tuesday, was keen on hearing President Obama speak Thursday night.
"It's always interesting to see the various people who are here advancing their causes," said Eliason, who had seen actor Beau Bridges being interviewed by the media Tuesday.
The rumor at the Charlotte convention is that actress Betty White will be a featured speaker later this week.
"I have not seen a finalized speakers' list, but I have been hearing that rumor as well," noted Phillips.