Most of Emily Liner's friends are starting to pack for college. She's taking her suitcase on a much different educational adventure. The Bay St. Louis teenager will be Mississippi's youngest delegate in Boston, at next week's Democratic National Convention. "Here I am, just 18 years old," she said. "And I'm just starting in the democratic party. So I was really shocked that I was elected."
Since her election, Liner has been swamped with mail about the convention. "This is from the DNC," she said, holding one of the letters sent to her Bay St. Louis home. It said, "I would like to congratulate you on your election as a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention."
Suddenly, an 18 year old who has never voted in a presidential election is going to be hob-nobbing with her party's top guns. "I just thought I would try just to try, and just to see if I could do it," she said.
Because of her dedication, Liner is one of 41 Mississippi democrats headed to Boston as an official delegate. "I'm really looking forward to hearing Bill Clinton, and John Edwards, and John Kerry," she said.
Terry Waltman is Emily's proud mother. "Emily has had a passion for politics since she was in junior high," said Mom. "And so I'm not surprised, but I'm like wow, she's going to the national democratic convention."
Friends often joked about Liner's passion for the democratic party. "I like to be a liberal," she said. "I'm proud of being liberal. And it isn't an insult to me."
Mississippi's 18 year old delegate begins her eight day political adventure Saturday morning. After the convention, Emily Liner will start focusing on college. This fall, she'll attend Georgetown University, so she can be closer to the nation's capitol.