VOL. 131 | NO. 151 | Friday, July 29, 2016
Akbari Speaks at Democratic Convention
By Bill Dries
State Representative Raumesh Akbari had the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Thursday, July 28, for four minutes.
The speech Thursday afternoon was as part of a diverse group of younger state legislators and mayors from across the country to start the last day of the convention.
The gathering has been Akbari’s first political convention and she is the only Memphian to take the podium at either the Republican or Democratic national conventions this month.
“We have a choice and it’s crystal clear to me,” she began. “What side of history do we want to be on? Which political leaders will we allow to define our generation?”
Akbari has introduced Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Memphis audiences in this election year and campaigned with her as well as President Bill Clinton in the city in advance of the March Tennessee Presidential primaries.
In Philadelphia, Akbari pushed Clinton’s plan for debt-free college education, free community college for all students and relief for those burdened by student loan debt – what she termed “new strategies to help people in our generation.”
She called on Democrats and those watching the convention feed remotely to “support a leader who understands that the deep racial wounds of our country have not healed.”
“Will you stand with a leader who has defined her life by helping the least among us?” she asked, adding, “C’mon y’all she’s a bad sister.”
Akbari contrasted the Democratic convention with the Republican convention the week before in Cleveland.
“In Cleveland last week, the Republican National Convention nominated a man who has defined his campaign on words that divide us and walls that divide us,” she said.
Akbari, an attorney, was elected to the Tennessee Legislature in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the death of State House Speaker Pro Tempore Lois Deberry and was re-elected in 2014 to a full term.
Akbari is running unopposed in the Democratic state House primary on the August ballot and faces Republican opposition in the November general election.