A long and winding road to the Democratic convention

Jon Delperdang
Jon Delperdang Special to the Sun Herald

One Mississippi Democratic delegate traveled a circuitous route to the convention.

Since spring, Jon Delperdang has served as an alternate delegate for the Mississippi Democratic Party.

Delperdang’s journey, carrying to Philadelphia the wishes of the 2nd Congressional District Democrats in Mississippi began in Blaine, Minn., a suburb 15 miles north of Minneapolis. From there he went the University of Minnesota to study political science and philosophy. Then he moved to Detroit and worked for United Way, serving the southeastern Michigan city for two years. But he found his true calling, and new home, three years ago in the Magnolia State.

“I feel like there is a need for teachers in Mississippi and I want to be in a place where there is a need,” said Delperdang. “I found myself enjoying being in Mississippi and being with the community I’ve been working with.”

Wanting to further serve his adopted community, Delperdang is attending his first national convention. Mississippi Field Director Jacqueline Amos offered him and other convention first-timers a lot of advice.

“I encouraged them to participate in the caucuses, you know, if they can. Get to the caucuses, at least one or two while they’re here. But try to be on time for gavel time,” said Amos. “But just listen. Meet other delegates and I think they’ve been doing a lot of networking.”

Delperdang teaches at West Bolivar High School in Rosedale, Miss., the Delta town of about 2,400 immortalized by bluesman Robert Johnson and the British supergroup Cream. He says his main motivation for being a delegate is his students and their families.

“I feel like their voices are not being heard and their needs are not being met with the state,” said Delperdang. “I feel really passionate about doing what I can for the community I’ve been able to serve and have the pleasure of serving.”

Christopher Abruzzo, a student at Temple University, is covering the Democratic National Convention for the Sun Herald.