Stephanie Markstein is an At-Large Delegate representing Bernie Sanders. She is chairwoman of the West Chester Democratic Committee, an elected position. Stephanie is also a singer-songwriter and a yoga teacher/personal trainer.
DocJess: So, Stephanie, is this your first time as a delegate?
Stephanie Markstein: Yes, I am a rookie delegate, and I’m very excited.
DJ: How did you get to become a delegate?
SM: I put my name in to run as a delegate but I was not chosen, so I didn’t get to run, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I happen to know the Vermont coordinator between the Bernie campaign and PA Democrats because I work on the Pennsylvania Progressive Caucus. After the primary, both campaigns were putting together their delegate slates. I knew the Bernie campaign was putting together a slate that needed to check all the demographic boxes, and I also found out that Hillary campaign coordinators were coordinating to check all the demographic boxes, so I don’t know how I was chosen. There were a lot of people on both sides who wanted to become At-Large delegates. But I was chosen. It’s a lot easier than running on the ballot. I was part of the slate elected on June 6th at the PA State Committee meeting.
DJ: When did you become a Bernie supporter?
SM: I became a supporter when he announced. I’ve never been a Hillary Clinton fan. I don’t hate her, and I’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee. But I don’t jibe with her policies. She’s a hawk, too corporate, but to be fair, in certain ways, Bernie leaves me a little lukewarm at times. I love his heart, his passion and his sense of purpose. I don’t love that he seems to be lacking details. I’m one of those people who tune into the details, and he’s been light on them. If he were elected and had a Democratic House and Senate, I still don’t think he’d be able to get free college for everyone. I support Bernie over Hillary because he speaks to my progressive values: taking care of the poor and the lower middle class, raising the minimum wage and single payer.
DJ: What are you most looking forward to at the convention?
SM: I think because I’m such a policy wonk, voting on the platform – that’s the important thing since Bernie’s not going to be the nominee – the platform is the most important thing about what we’re bringing to the table. I’ve read most of the platform, and will finish it before the convention to be up on all the details. I’m also looking forward to hearing Bernie speak, and Hillary too. I’m also looking forward to socializing with other progressives and networking with like-minded people.
DJ: How’s the money raising coming?
SM: It’s expensive to be a delegate. Even though I can take the train into Philly, the hotel alone is a little over $2,000. Bernie’s campaign has been raising money – so I’m going to look into that. They didn’t let us know what it would cost before becoming a delegate. I hadn’t realized it would be so expensive.
DJ: Had you known the cost, would that have made you rethink wanting to be a delegate?
DJ: Any final thoughts?
SM: I found it interesting that the Philadelphia Inquirer put out a schedule not of convention-related events but of all the protests and rallies. I had put it on my fridge when they published it a couple months ago since I didn’t know I’d be going as a delegate and thought I might be going to some of the “outside” events. You’ve been to conventions before, do you have any advice for this newbie?
DJ: Wear comfortable shoes. And have a great time!