Sitting along a quiet stretch of the Chicago River on a recent warm, sunny afternoon, Sodiqa Williams has got a lot on her mind.
In only a few minutes, she brings up environmental protection and energy, poverty, education, funding for education and the incarceration system.
There’s a reason Williams can go on about so many issues. She was deep in the policy side of things when she worked for Pat Quinn on environmental issues back when he was lieutenant governor.
And now that she’s going to her first convention, she wants to do more than just officially nominate Barack Obama.
"Coming from an advocacy point, coming from someone who really wants to make a fundamental difference, I think it will be an amazing opportunity to pick their brains, pick their minds on what works and what isn’t working and what do we need to do to make things work," she said.
Williams said she wants to take what she learns to push for better wind and alternative energy policies.
But even then, she worries the policy discussions often get drowned out by harshly partisan rhetoric on the national level. But she said things are aren’t the same back home in DuPage County.
Williams, who’s 30, lives in Wheaton in a Republican congressional district, where you might think a Democrat would have a hard time. But when she gathered signatures to be a delegate, she had a different experience.
"Generally people are civil and do treat you (with) respect, listen to what you have to say even though they disagree with what you’re saying," she said.
And even though Williams can get along with Republicans, as she prepares for the convention, she hasn’t forgotten her true colors.
"I’m getting my blue stuff ready," she laughed. "My blue jewelry, my blue purses, my blue earrings so I’m getting ready. I’ll have a different look every day."