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Tight security has delegates walking
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Hall County Democratic delegate Joe Diaz is currently at the Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

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Because of a large security perimeter around the Pepsi Center and the convention center in Denver, delegates are getting in quite a bit of walking, according to Joe Diaz of Gainesville, one of two Hall County delegates to the convention.

"It’s a little bit hectic and there’s lots of walking," said Diaz, who said shuttle buses and taxis are kept away from the main venues.

"Security here is extremely tight, and as a result, there has been no disruption of the convention by the various peaceful protesters. Only those with credentials can get within three blocks of the Pepsi Center, and we go through two security checkpoints to get into the convention. This process takes approximately one hour to complete."

Lauren Bell, an Obama delegate from Gainesville, said the Pepsi Center, where the convention is being held, is almost an island to itself because of security. "All of the roads are shut down, and there is one way in and one way out. Security is very tight," she said.

The convention is an exciting time for Bell.

"It’s going great," Bell said, adding that Monday’s speech by U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was very emotional.

Diaz said the speech by Kennedy came as a surprise. He said delegates had no idea the Massachusetts senator would make an appearance.

"People were crying, and it was just incredible," Diaz said.

This week, Georgia delegates also are getting to hear from some heavyweights in Georgia’s Democratic party.

"This morning (Tuesday) we had Roy Barnes," she said, adding that the Georgia delegation was vocally encouraging him to run for governor.

"People were cheering him in that direction, but he made no announcement," she said.

Bell and her husband, Ashley, were seated on the convention floor when former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, took a seat near them in the Georgia delegation. "We spoke with them and told them we were from Gainesville," she said, adding that meeting the former president was her highlight for Monday.

Carter, who addressed the convention on Monday, is scheduled to speak to the Georgia delegation today.

Diaz, a Clinton delegate, was looking forward to hearing Sen. Clinton speak Tuesday. He also has been invited to an event for Clinton delegates this afternoon.

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