National Democrat Leaders to Address W&L's 2004 Mock Convention

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Florida Rep. Jim Davis, and founder of the Alliance for Democracy Ronnie Dugger have joined the growing list of confirmed speakers for Washington and Lee University's 23rd Mock Convention on Jan. 30-31.

Former Oklahoma Sen. David Boren and Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor also are scheduled to speak.

The nation's most accurate Mock Convention will rev up on Thursday, Jan. 29 with a rousing speech from W&L alumnus Jim Davis, and end Saturday, Jan. 31 with the students' prediction of the Democrat's nominee to take on President George Bush.

"We've been fortunate to secure some well-respected leaders in the Democratic Party to participate with us," said Convention Personnel Chairman Jacquelyn Clark, a W&L senior. "These initial confirmations coupled with our close negotiations with several potential keynote speakers are a huge step towards our success in a couple of weeks."

Founded in 1908, the Washington and Lee Mock Convention is a completely student-run event that predicts the presidential nominee for the party currently out of the White House. After more than two years of planning and months of grassroots research in all 50 states and four U.S. territories, more than 1,600 current W&L students will try to live up to Mock Con's 92 percent accuracy rate. The students have been wrong only once since 1948.

In addition, they will try to replicate the events and political process surrounding the actual Democratic National Convention that will take place in Boston this summer.

To kick off the weekend's events, W&L alumnus and Florida Rep. Jim Davis will address students on Thursday evening, Jan. 29, in Lee Chapel. Davis is a national co-chair of the New Democratic Coalition, a group of moderate House Democrats who promote bipartisan solutions.

The 2004 Mock Convention festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a parade in downtown Lexington.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will call the Mock Convention to order at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, as he also will do at the actual Democratic Convention in June. Menino has served three terms as Boston's mayor and is the first Italian-American to hold the position. He also is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Friday's session will continue with Oklahoma's former Governor and Senator David Boren. After serving as governor from 1975-1979, Boren spent 15 years in the Senate. He was the longest-serving member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Boren currently serves as the 13th president of the University of Oklahoma.

Ronnie Dugger, co-founder of the Alliance for Democracy and founding editor of the Texas Observer, also will speak on Friday. The Alliance for Democracy is an organization dedicated to end corporate dominance.
Dugger is one of presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich's major supporters. In 2002, he attempted to run as the Green Party candidate in the New York senate race, which would have pitted him against Hillary Clinton, but he lost the Green primary.

Friday night's Mock Con events will conclude with Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor. Taylor is known for his conservative Democratic politics and has served as a congressman since 1989. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Saturday's session will begin at 9 a.m., concluding late Saturday, when the state and U.S. territories' delegations cast their votes for who will be the Democrats' nominee to oppose President George W. Bush.
Invited keynote speakers include: Hillary Clinton; Howard Dean; John Edwards; John Kerry; Dick Gephardt; Dennis Kucinich; Carol Mosely Braun; Joseph Lieberman; Gen. Wesley Clark; Harold Ford; Sen. Sam Nunn; Rep. John Lewis; Rep. James Clyburn; Al Sharpton; and Donna Brazile, both of whom spoke at the Mock Convention's Spring Kickoff.

More information and media credentials may be obtained on the Mock Convention website.
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