CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Bertrand R. Perdomo-Uclés didn’t win the April election to be named a California delegate for this year’s democratic convention, he didn’t stop trying.
Perdomo-Uclés, a 2011 graduate of USC with a major in public policy, management and planning, worked full-time last spring on his campaign to be elected a delegate — making flyers, canvassing neighborhoods, meeting with his campaign team and raising money. He came up only a few votes short.
“I wanted to be there to represent the community I grew up in,” Perdomo-Uclés said. “I’ve always loved to serve others.”
Convention delegates vote for the party’s presidential and vice-presidential nominees and also vote on the party’s platform on behalf of their constituents.
“The party platform issues delegates get to vote on, such as the economy, education, healthcare, housing and immigration, are critical for our nation’s and my own community’s health,” Perdomo-Uclés said.
He admitted he was distraught after the loss. But through keeping in touch with the California Democratic Party after the election, Perdomo-Uclés received a call this summer letting him know room had opened up for him to become a delegate.
“When I got that phone call, I knew this was a special time for me,” Perdomo-Uclés said. “It was a time for me to serve my party and my voters in Los Angeles.”
He knew he had to attend the convention after receiving that information — even though he needed to raise $1,700 in just a few months.
Perdomo-Uclés turned to GoFundMe.com and enlisted help from a cinema school friend to film a video for the campaign. He invited his professors, neighbors, fraternity brothers in Delta Omicron Zeta and colleagues to support him by donating.
“Proud of you Hermano! ¡Sigue luchando por nosotros!” reads a message donor Charlie Arreola wrote on Perdomo-Uclés’ GoFundMe.com page with a donation of $100.
“I’ve known Bertrand for years and he has continued to be such a great support for me,” wrote Karla Barajas, who donated $5. “I know he will represent us well. Fight On Bertrand!”
“Your making all of your friends and family proud bro,” wrote Christain Rodriguez, who donated $30 online. “Represent the great state of California. I love you like a brother man, and proud to have you as a mentor.”
Similar messages and donation amounts lined Perdomo-Uclés’ page. By Aug. 20, he had raised $1,660 from 49 donations, just $40 shy of his goal.
“A lot of people went out of their way to give … they really believe in me,” Perdomo-Uclés said.
Now that Perdomo-Uclés is at the convention sitting in prime seats with the California delegation, he says the convention experience is better than he ever imagined.
“Not winning the election in April makes this all the much better. It’s making me appreciate the experience even more,” Perdomo-Uclés said.
Perdomo-Uclés said that studying public policy, management and planning at USC was a great set-up for an experience like the DNC.
“I want to make the world a better place through policy, but after attending the convention I now see that politics has to be in the mix too,” Perdomo-Uclés said.
His flight out to Charlotte was an experience in itself. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, congressional staff and fellow California delegates were all on the same flight.
“It was an awesome feeling knowing we were all headed to the same place where the party is going to be united,” said Perdomo-Uclés.
Perdomo-Uclés shook Michelle Obama’s hand at an event Wednesday morning — something he said as though it wasn’t a big deal. He attended a presentation by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and said he has been networking with policymakers and politicians from around the nation.
“What an experience already, and today’s only Wednesday,” Perdomo-Uclés said. “Being around so many elected officials was definitely a highlight for me.”