Updated 08/23/2012 10:04 PM
Former convention speaker recalls political spotlight
This story has been shared from sister station YNN Austin
Texans from both the Republican and Democratic parties will make history over the next two weeks speaking at their respective party conventions. Victor Morales lobbied President Clinton to get his three minutes at the podium at the 1996 DNC. Now, as two more Texans with Latin backgrounds move into convention speaking roles, he recalls just how significant the political extravaganzas can be.
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UNITED STATES -- U.S. Senate Republican nominee Ted Cruz and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will join the likes of Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards in the next couple of weeks.
They're speaking at their respective party national conventions. It is a national stage, both literally and figuratively, that can make or break the political aspirations of the person behind the podium.
Former U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Victor Morales remembers his spotlight at the convention in 1996. The school teacher from Crandall called then-President Bill Clinton directly to get his three minutes at the DNC.
“We feel like things that are much more important than big money are ‘las ganas,’ [or] desire,” he said. “The fact also that I was representing so many Democrats, my party up there. Add to that being Latino, a minority.”
Now, as two more Texans with Latin backgrounds move into speaking roles at the conventions, Morales knows just how they may be feeling.
“I can imagine those people will be pretty nervous. As people said, ‘How nervous were you?’’ he said. “Well, I said, ‘I seemed very calm, but behind the podium my leg was shaking.'”
While Morales' speech did energize Hispanic voters and gave his campaign a great boost, he ultimately lost to Phil Gramm.
Both Cruz and Castro are already well known, but their time on the stage can only heighten their profile in politics.
Mayor Julian Castro will be the first Latino keynote speaker in the history of the Democratic National Convention.