USC alum experiences convention as Calif. delegate
CHARLOTTE, N.C. â Though Bertrand R. Perdomo-UclĂ©s didnât win the April election to be named a California delegate for this yearâs democratic convention, he didnât stop trying.
Perdomo-UclĂ©s, 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 â making flyers, canvassing neighborhoods, meeting with his campaign team and raising money. He came up only a few votes short.
âI wanted to be there to represent the community I grew up in,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said. âIâve always loved to serve others.â
Convention delegates vote for the partyâs presidential and vice-presidential nominees and also vote on the partyâs platform on behalf of their constituents.
âThe party platform issues delegates get to vote on, such as the economy, education, healthcare, housing and immigration, are critical for our nationâs and my own communityâs health,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said.
He admitted he was distraught after the loss. But through keeping in touch with the California Democratic Party after the election, Perdomo-UclĂ©s received a call this summer letting him know room had opened up for him to become a delegate.
âWhen I got that phone call, I knew this was a special time for me,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said. âIt was a time for me to serve my party and my voters in Los Angeles.â
He knew he had to attend the convention after receiving that information â even though he needed to raise $1,700 in just a few months.
Perdomo-UclĂ©s 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.
âProud of you Hermano! ÂĄSigue luchando por nosotros!â reads a message donor Charlie Arreola wrote on Perdomo-UclĂ©sâ GoFundMe.com page with a donation of $100.
âIâve known Bertrand for years and he has continued to be such a great support for me,â wrote Karla Barajas, who donated $5. âI know he will represent us well. Fight On Bertrand!â
âYour making all of your friends and family proud bro,â wrote Christain Rodriguez, who donated $30 online. âRepresent the great state of California. I love you like a brother man, and proud to have you as a mentor.â
Similar messages and donation amounts lined Perdomo-UclĂ©sâ page. By Aug. 20, he had raised $1,660 from 49 donations, just $40 shy of his goal.
âA lot of people went out of their way to give âŠ they really believe in me,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said.
Now that Perdomo-UclĂ©s is at the convention sitting in prime seats with the California delegation, he says the convention experience is better than he ever imagined.
âNot winning the election in April makes this all the much better. Itâs making me appreciate the experience even more,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said.
Perdomo-UclĂ©s said that studying public policy, management and planning at USC was a great set-up for an experience like the DNC.
âI 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,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s 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.
âIt was an awesome feeling knowing we were all headed to the same place where the party is going to be united,â said Perdomo-UclĂ©s.
Perdomo-UclĂ©s shook Michelle Obamaâs hand at an event Wednesday morning â something he saidÂ as though it wasnât 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.
âWhat an experience already, and todayâs only Wednesday,â Perdomo-UclĂ©s said. âBeing around so many elected officials was definitely a highlight for me.â