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Meet Georgia delegates from Hall County to Democratic National Convention
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The control room where live feeds are managed is in operation for the first night of the virtual DNC convention at the Wisconsin Center on August 17, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The convention, which was once expected to draw 50,000 people to the city, is now taking place virtually due to concerns with the coronavirus pandemic. (Scott Olson/Pool via AP)

Editor’s note: The Times reached out to local delegates to the Republican National Convention and published that article

when the convention was held in late August.

Wilson Golden of Gainesville is a veteran of Democratic national conventions, but he hasn’t seen anything like this year’s digital version.

“I’m an old guy, not a tech guy, although I retired out of Xerox,” he said Tuesday, Aug. 18. “But I think this Zoom thing is a saving grace. It’s pretty good. You have to get your backdrop set up just right, need to comb your hair and wear your casual clothes.”

Golden, 72, is one of two Georgia delegates from Hall County attending this week’s Milwaukee-based Democratic National Convention, which began Monday, Aug. 17. The other is Carmen Gonzalez, 73, of Flowery Branch.

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Wilson Golden

Delegate selection for Georgia’s representatives at the Democratic National Convention was done virtually. 

Neither Golden nor Gonzalez are Hall natives. Both had busy careers elsewhere – Golden as an attorney and lobbyist, and Gonzalez as a clinical psychologist – then retired here within the past few years.

One difference between them is their politics. Golden is a lifelong Democrat, while Gonzalez describes herself as more of an independent.

“A cradle Presbyterian and, I guess, you’d say, a cradle Democrat,” said Golden, a Mississippi native who has been to 11 conventions, four as a delegate, including in 1976, when Jimmy Carter was handed the nomination.

He also met a young Joe Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware, at the 1976 convention.

“I have stayed up with him,” Golden said. “I think the appeal Joe will have across the country is going to work really well. And let’s face it: having an African-American child of immigrant parents is going to make (running mate Kamala) Harris a real plus here in Georgia.”

Delegate selection for Georgia’s representatives at the Democratic National Convention was done virtually.  

Georgia is allocated 129 delegates, nine of whom are alternates, according to the Democratic Party of Georgia website

The state has 68 district-level delegates, including Golden, who were elected online within delegates’ congressional districts. Fourteen party leaders and elected officials were chosen using online voting by the district-level delegates, according to the website. 

Then, 23 at-large delegates, including Gonzalez, and nine alternates were elected by the State Committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia using online voting.  

As an independent, Gonzalez decided to support Biden, including financially, “because I thought he would have the best chance to bring our country together.”

But still, “I was really shocked that I was picked as a delegate,” she said. “There are so many people who are involved with the party.”

As for the convention and looking ahead to the general election on Nov. 3, “I am excited about supporting Joe Biden,” Gonzalez said. “I’m originally from Cuba … and to me, the ideas of freedom and justice and equality for all resonates with me. Right now, we are really divided, and I don’t feel we should be, even though we come from different backgrounds.”

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