WatchSonoma Watch

Delegates ready for Democratic National Convention



Sukhwinder Lamba and Rumka Singh, an upwardly mobile Santa Rosa couple, are taking their two children on a special trip this

Sukwinder Lamba and his wife Rumka Singh of Santa Rosa are local delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. They are taking their children Ansh, 3, and have a ticket for daughter Noor, 13, to attend President Obama's acceptance speech. (JOHN BURGESS/ PD)

week to North Carolina.

Lamba, a software sales executive, has degrees in engineering and business administration. Singh is a physician specializing in internal medicine.

They are immigrants from India, members of the Sikh Temple of Santa Rosa and naturalized citizens.

And as recent converts to political activism, Lamba, 46, and Singh, 45, are among the roughly 6,000 delegates attending the Democratic National Convention starting today in Charlotte, N.C.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” Singh said last week.

“We tell our friends if we can get involved in politics, anybody can,” Lamba said. “It’s such a great thing about this country that anybody can get involved.”

Any registered Democrat, in fact, may sign up as a candidate in the party’s open caucuses, held in each California congressional district, to elect 399 delegates and alternates, the majority of California’s roughly 700 convention delegates this year.

Lamba and Singh did so, then engaged in classic grassroots politicking: house parties, phone calls and public speeches before the April 29 caucus in Santa Rosa.

“We campaigned very hard,” Lamba said.

They won two of the eight delegate positions in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Santa Rosa.

“I was amazed at how much love and support I got,” said Singh, who described herself as a hardworking physician and “not a very social person.”

In daily life, the couple wear contemporary American clothes, but at the convention they will dress as traditional Sikhs, Lamba in a turban and Singh in long slacks, a shirt and scarf.

Singh said she wants to “raise awareness about our (Sikh) community so people learn we are part of the fabric of this nation, part of the political process.”

The presence of about 500,000 Sikhs in the United States was highlighted by the fatal shooting of six Sikhs at a temple south of Milwaukee in early August, possibly because they were mistaken for Muslims.

Ishwar Singh, a Sikh leader from Orlando, Fla., made history last week as the first Sikh to open a Republican National Convention session with an invocation.

Blake Hooper of Petaluma is another newcomer to Democratic Party politics, a 22-year-old graduate from UC Santa Cruz who switched majors from computer engineering to political science.

“The whole process fascinates me,” said Hooper, who worked on congressional candidate Norman Solomon’s unsuccessful primary campaign and attended the California Democratic Convention as a proxy delegate in February.

Energized by that experience, Hooper went to the 2nd Congressional District caucus in San Rafael and got elected as one of the district’s nine delegates.

“You have to make a case for why you want to be a delegate,” which meant lobbying strangers as well as counting on friends he brought along, Hooper said.

Hooper, now working on Assemblyman Michael Allen’s re-election campaign, said his political career started while he attended Tech High School in Rohnert Park and appealed to the school board over proposed budget cuts.

The 2nd District delegation is geographically lopsided, with 13 of 17 delegates — both elected and appointed — from Marin County, which holds 37 percent of the coastal district’s registered voters.

Hooper is one of three delegates from Sonoma County, along with Marie Gil of Santa Rosa and Petaluma City Councilman Gabe Kearney.

Debra Broner, a party leader from Del Norte County, is the lone delegate from the district’s four counties north of Sonoma.

Broner, 60, said she had to drive 90 miles to the party caucus in Eureka, along with some supporters, from her home in Smith River, an Easter lily and dairy farming town on the coast 10 miles from the Oregon border.

Broner finished first in caucus voting among 34 candidates. “It worked. I was surprised,” she said.

A retired small-business owner from Arizona, Broner moved to Smith River in 2004 and has logged more than 20 years as a Democratic activist.

“I figured this was my one shot to go,” she said.

Like the other North Coast delegates, Broner said she’s looking forward to President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, which holds nearly 74,000 people for Carolina Panthers football games.

Lamba and Singh think the Democrats are “on the right track” and want to introduce their older child, Noor Lamba, 13, to politics from a seat in the stadium on Thursday.

Noor, an eighth-grader at Rincon Valley Middle School, got permission to miss class this week but is taking homework with her.

Hooper said he hopes Obama will make it plain that he supports Medicare and Medi-Cal, two of the entitlement programs the Republicans want to cut.

“There’s no point in pretending it’s any other way,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

15 Responses to “Delegates ready for Democratic National Convention”

  1. Skippy says:

    So requiring a photo ID for everything EXCEPT(m’bird volume increase)voting makes perfect sense to you.

    Sorry, I thought I was dealing with a responsible adult.
    I won’t make that error again.

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  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    SKIPPY, I’ve been working the polls for years and years. We’ve NEVER even remotely had a question about who people are. You should “volunteer” to find out how it’s done. You actually get paid $100 for a 14 hour day but it will be enlightening.

    There is a signature sheet that people sign. Those signatures are vetted and matched to the signatures from the registration forms that people send in. That signature is the key to voting. It’s just like when you present you credit card and your signature is checked to make sure you are you.

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  3. Skippy says:

    So you’re satisfied that, when a person approaches the polling place, the poll workers should just accept that they are who they say they are?
    With photo ID required for literally every official interaction in America, you see no reason to ever verify eligibility?
    With a monumentally consequential election coming, and every vote being important, you are happy simply believing everyone is an eligible voter?
    Your faith in the Democrats, who invented voter fraud in the political sewer of O’Bama’s Chicago, is frightening.
    Maybe Republicans should start registering our own fictitious voters as well.
    A right-wing ACORN, funded by the Koch brothers sounds swell!
    How would that sound to you?

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  4. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Skippy, I’ll admit that only CITIZENS OF THE USA should be allowed to vote in our elections. And I’m a progressive, liberal, just left of center Democrat. You don’t know what you are talking about. None of my liberal friends believe illegals should be voting in our elections either.

    You far rightwingers just make things up. You have no basis or fact, not even real incidences of fraud, to back up your ridiculous statements. Even the Republicans in the states trying to take away people’s right to vote are saying they don’t have any examples of fraud to show the public. Republicans need to cheat to win and that’s EXACTLY what they are trying to do with the fixing of election rules to keep people from the polls.
    It’s Jim Crow all over again. The violation of the constitution that these states are doing by keeping people from voting MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL. This is coming from Republicans only because Democrats believe EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN has the constitutional right to vote. EVEN REPUBLICANS. So whose the better American? Those that cheat or those that want FAIR AND UNBIASED ELECTIONS?

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  5. Skippy says:

    No Liberal will ever admit that voting should be done only by bonafide citizens.
    Those words will never pass their lips except when expressed as a lie.
    No argument can be made to support the “trust me” system currently in place.
    The dirty little secret is, if everyone had to show a free State-issued photo ID to vote, Democrats would rarely win an election.
    Voter fraud is institutionalized in the Democrat party and has been for decades.
    That’s why they fight so furiously and lie so brazenly against accountability.

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  6. Michael Sheehan says:

    I agree that voter fraud is a MUCH greater problem and MUCH more common than voter suppression, if suppression even exists.

    Those who disagree are ignoring the facts.

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  7. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Liz, they did the Republican one on 8/28. You must have missed it. I didn’t.

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  8. Jean Anderson says:

    All Democrats at the convention needed to show a ID to get in, yet you think it’s fine for anyone to vote without an ID, leading to massive fraud (as with ACORN in 2008). This is partly how Al Franken won in Minnesota (what else could explain how this total idiot got elected!!)

    Voting is a sacred right – allowing non-citizens or frauds to vote is a crime. Spreading lies about “voter suppression” is merely a diversion from the genuine problem of voter fraud.

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  9. Jean Anderson says:

    I ALWAYS pay attention, especially when people on this site make up garbage and spew complete nonsense.

    I’m just not as gullible or easily misled as some here.

    Too bad the looney fringe has overrun Sonoma County. This was a wonderful place to live at one time.

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  10. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Jean Anderson-you aren’t paying attention. The Republicans are BRAGGING ABOUT taking away voting rights to keep Democrats from voting. Many have been caught on video, in public, admitting that fraud isn’t really the issue for the changes in voting laws they’ve initiated, but exclusion of progressive voters-minorities, elderly, students and the poor. Not bright enough to keep their mouths shut. Mitch McConnell met with Republicans immediately after Obama was elected to strategize ways to make sure he was as ineffectual as possible and make him a one term president. HE SAID THIS IN PUBLIC TO ALL OF US many times and the Republicans have worked hard to make it so. And it didn’t seem to matter to any of them what damage this would do to the country and the American people.
    Everything I’ve said is true. You can keep your head in the sand but mine is out and thinking. I listen to the Republicans too, and I can tell you they DON’T have my or YOUR health and welfare in mind. You can CHECK THEIR LIES, FACT CHECK. It’s all about getting elected, with lie upon lie upon lie, along with promoting an agenda of social behavior legislating (which isn’t small government), cutting social safety nets, and giving more tax breaks for the very rich.

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  11. Liz says:

    Nice article on those attending the DNC, now where is the article on those who attended the RNC?

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  12. Jean anderson says:


    Pure propaganda.

    Republicans are doing NONE of the false things that you claim.

    Look in the mirror to see who the problem is.

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  13. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Coming to this country, becoming citizens, VOTING, and working to make this world a better place. Isn’t that what America has always been about? There is not one of us in this country, except people of native American decent, that didn’t come from some other country through their ancestors. I believe the diversity of this country is what makes us strong along with a strong middleclass. The Republicans are trying to take away citizens’ right to vote, women’s rights to healthcare and birth control, funding for education, children’s healthcare, and has been purposely eroding the middleclass to the point that most of the wealth is concentrated at the top.
    I applaud this MIDDLECLASS family for contributing their time and energy at working to make a better America for us all.

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  14. Skippy says:

    Bless those who take the time to become involved in electoral politics.
    Sadly, they have been misinformed about the nature of the American experiment.
    With luck this election will shift our focus from resenting what others have to working towards prosperity for those still willing to work.

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