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September 03, 2008 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com i
Family ties grow tighter at DNC

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 -9A

'U' student, Clinton
supporter, served as
delegate with father
By JACOB SMILOVITZ
Daily StaffReporter
While most students were mak-
ing last-minute runs to Target last
week to get ready for the start of
school, LSA junior Kelly Bernero
was casting a vote for a presidential
nominee at the Democratic National
Convention in Denver.
Bernero, the former chair of the
University's chapter of Students for
Hillary, spent the week mingling
with Democratic bigwigs, net-
working with other young Demo-
crats and participating in various
caucuses for groups within the
party. But the highlight, she said,
was doing it with her father, Virg
Bernero, the Democratic mayor of
Lansing.
"Ifitwasn't for my dad,I wouldn't
have so much of an interest in poli-
tics," she said. "Since I was in third
grade, I've been following him
around to political events and we
were finally equals at an event."
For her father, who admitted
following his daughter's lead in
endorsing Sen. Hillary Clinton in
her bid for the presidency, it was a
proud occasion.

"To have her there, it wasjust ter-
rific. It's hard to describe. It brings a
tear tomy eye," the first-term mayor
of Michigan's capital said.
Kelly, 20, was the third-youngest
member of the Michigan delega-'"
tion. Eight people from Michigan's
157-person delegation were under
the age of 25.
Virgil said Kelly was selected as
a delegate because of her work for
the Clinton campaign, not because
of her father's connections.
"She was everybody's first choice
because all the party folks knew
how hard she'd worked," he said.
Any member of the Michigan
Democratic Party can apply to be a
delegate.
. After an application process,
potential delegates are elected at
the local and state level, said Eliza-
beth Kerr, communications director
for the Michigan Democratic Party,
in a statementyesterday.
The Berneros arrived at the con-
vention as Clinton delegates, though
the New York senator released her
delegates to vote for Sen. Barack
Obama. Still, Kelly continued to
support the candidate she'd backed
for more than ayear-and-a-half.She
cast her vote for Clinton via paper
ballot.
"I worked really hard for her last
school year as the chair of Students
for Hillary," she said. "For me, itcame
downto the historic chance that Ihad

to vote for a woman president."
Virg voted for Obama, saying it
was time for the party to coalesce
behind its candidate.
"Hillary herself had endorsed
Barack, so it made no sense for me to
cast my vote for anybody but Barack
Obama," he said.
Both Berneros said Obama's
acceptance speech Thursday night
was the best part of their week in
Denver, as well asa turning point in
their political allegiance.
"We were both so touched, I
knew we were, and I didn't even
have to say it," Virg said. "We both
had a tear in our eye and it was about
patriotism and love of this country."
Aside from the political implica-
tions of the speech, Virg enjoyed the
opportunity to spend the historic
moment with his daughter.
"It was at once a very big, big
moment, and also a very personal,
intimate moment with my daugh-
ter," he said. "Even though we were
among 80,000 people, for a min-
ute it was just the two of us, and I
hugged her."
Virg said that while he enjoyed
his opportunity to attend the con-
vention this year, he was unsure if
he would go again in 2012.
"That'd be awesome," Kelly said
when asked if she was hoping to
attend the next Democratic Nation-
al Convention. "I'd go back as a del-
egate again, and again, and again."

After Gustav, looking toward future hurricanes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Millions us aren't going to evacuate," Cathe-
fled the Gulf Coast in fear of Hurri- rine Jones, 53, of Silsbee, Texas, who
cane Gustav, billed as the apocalyp- spent three days on a cot at a church
tic "mother of all storms." It didn't shelter with her disabled son. "They
deliver.Now,withthree other storms jumped the gun."
lining up in the Atlantic, some fear Emergency officials strongly
people might not listen next time. defended the decision to evacu-
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ate coastal areas, saying that with
announced residents could start something as unpredictable as a
coming back early Thursday. But the hurricane, it is better to be safe than
first of the 2 million people who fled sorry - a lesson driven home by
Gustav began trickling home yester- Katrina, which killed 1,600 people
day from shelters, many grumbling in the U.S. in 2005, compared with
about the food, the heat, the over- nine deaths attributed to Gustav.
crowding, the uncertainty and the Officials noted that, yes, New
frustrating wait for the all-clear. Orleans' levees held, and Gustav
Some evacuees, particularly struck only a glancing blow. But
in Texas, on the far fringes of the whentrees fellonhomes,powerlines
storm's path, suggested authori- went down and roads were washed
ties overreacted in demanding they out in parts of south Louisiana, there
leave their homes. was no one around to get hurt. And
"Next time, it's going to be bad there was significant damage: Early
because people who evacuated like insurance industry estimates put the

expected damage to covered prop-
erties at anywhere from $2 billion
to $10 billion. That's high, but well
short of Katrina's $41billion.
"The reasons you're not seeing
dramatic stories of rescue is because
we had a successful evacuation," said
HomelandSecuritySecretaryMichael
Chertoff. "The only reason we don't
have more tales of people in grave dan-
ger is because everyone heeded the
instructions to get out of town.
At the same time, a top emergency
planner in Louisiana acknowledged
that authorities run the risk of being
accused of crying wolf.
"At all levels, that is a tremendous
concern," said Col. Pat Griffin, head
of logistics for the state. "After one
or two or three of these, I think the
leadership on the local and state
level are going to have to push even
harder to convince the people."

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