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Senator Hillary Clinton is one of the keynote speakers tonight at the Democratic National Convention. There’s been a lot of talk about how pledged Clinton delegates are feeling this week and what they will do with their votes. 18-year-old Taylor Riddle is part of the Arkansas delegation, so he’s heard plenty of talk about it. He’s one of the youngest delegates at the DNC and already an up and coming politico as Youth Radio’s Nico Savidge reports. (or: He’s one of the youngest delegates at the DNC and already an up and coming politico as Youth Radio’s Nico Savidge reports.)
Nico: My first encounter with Taylor Riddle inside the convention hall was all about the political handshake. There’s the standard up down:
Taylor:…then you’ve got the 4-hand where you’re grabbing the hand, then you’ve got the going in for a conversation shake where you’re reaching for the shoulder like you’re closing space. Politics 101.
Nico: Minutes later, this first time delegate is schmoozing with Civil Rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
Taylor: I’m a freshman in college. I’m actually missing my first week in school to be here. (Lewis) Well, you’re here participating in history…You’ll probably learn more here in one week in American political tradition…than you will learn in a few years studying political science…(Taylor) I don’t know watching you on the House floor for six months, that taught me a lot. (Lewis) Well, good to see you…
Nico: Everyone wants to give the young delegate at his first convention advice.
Hey Taylor. I’m Tom Baxter. I’m the editor of Southern Political Report. This morning I spoke with a lady who was 82 yrs old who was on her 11th. You’re on your first. You’ve got a great start. You’ve only got 10 more to go! (Taylor) I know. I’m excited. This is really neat.
Nico: Despite all the hobnobbing, Taylor’s political jargon fades when he gets his first glimpse inside the hall.
I’m trying to see where the action will take place and where history is being made…
Nico: Later, he starts talking about how he came to this moment.
Taylor: I was actually the founder of the Nettleton H-School Young Democrats and Young Republicans I felt like it was important just to have clubs where kids could get involved and actually start paying attention to the issues that affect them.
Nico: Here in Denver, Taylor is representing his state as a Clinton delegate. As an alternate, he won’t cast a vote unless someone drops out. But he’s supportive of those who will vote for the senator from New York in tomorrow night’s roll call.
Taylor: That vote for Hillary doesn’t show a dislikeness towards Obama but a thanks to Hillary for making the party stronger. That’s actually a closure. It’s a moment in time where the separation of the party will come to an end.
Nico: But Taylor Riddle reached that closure months ago. He’s featured on the Barack Obama campaign website under the title “Change of Heart.”
For NPR News, I’m Nico Savidge.
Host Back Announce: That story was produced by Youth Radio.
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