CHARLOTTE — For Oklahoman Wallace Stevens, Wednesday night’s proceedings would have been hardly imaginable a couple decades ago, but there he was, chairman of his state’s Democratic Party watching a woman from his hometown of Norman deliver rousing remarks from the convention stage.
Besides their shared hometown, Stevens’ life bears some similarities to the personal story U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren told of her childhood “on the ragged edge of the middle class,” growing up in Oklahoma.
“Yeah, I can identify with all that,” said Stevens, who was an automotive machinist for years before running and winning a state representative seat. Stevens said he went to school with Warren’s older brother, David Herring, and described him as “just an average teenage kid. You know, we were friends, and ran around together some.”
“I guess I’d have to say this, I was kind of surprised… You kind of have this image of kids when they’re in high school, and of course you never know what they’re going to grow up to be, and I’m the same way. I’m frankly surprised that I grew up to be a state representative and now I’m chair of the Democratic Party and all that, and it’s like, you know, I didn’t dream to be that. I didn’t dream to be this,” said Stevens, who was at his first Democratic National Convention.
Warren was also at her first DNC, she said from the stage, giving the lead-in speech to former President Bill Clinton’s nominating speech. Warren talked about her own middle-class story, and the history of the middle class in America, contrasting ideas shared by her and President Barack Obama and those she attributed to Mitt Romney. Warren did not mention her opponent, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.