A few days before Democratic Party delegate Kristie Helms flew down to Charlotte, N.C. for the convention, she and her wife sat down with JP Patch at to talk about why she got into politics and her hopes for the convention.
Helms isn't related to me, but she is a fellow southerner. She grew up in a small town in Kentucky while I was raised in a small town in North Carolina.
Helms got into politics when the 2004 Democratic National Convention came to Boston. She served as a "Beantown Buddy" for her home state's delegation.
Since then she's become active with Ward 19 Democratic Committee, starting her involvement at the same time as now-Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz. She worked for campaigns including those of Deval Patrick for governor, Willie Mae Allen for Sixth Suffolk State Representative and Ayanna Pressley for City Council. Lately she's been knocking on a lot of doors for Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.
"It's a great way to get to know your neighbors," Helms said of canvassing.
It was a natural progression for her to become a delegate to this year's DNC, as the marketing professional recounts on her Website. It boiled down, she said, to caring and, crucially, "to showing up."
One of Helms' goals for the convention was to make sure the Democrats added a pro same-sex marriage plank to the party platform.
"It's so normal in JP," said Helms, who was getting ready to have dinner with her wife, Kathryn Nettles. The two married June 15, 2007 and live on Florian Street in Roslindale, just outside JP. "The Democratic Party's platform is completely in line with Jamaica Plain."
She can consider that mission accomplished, as the party did include support for marriage equality in this year's platform.