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Noonan brought populist approach to DNC

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By AJ Vicens

South Jeffco resident Paula Noonan was thrilled to cast her vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. But Noonan believed that her duties as a delegate went much further.

Noonan wrote a daily blog from ground zero at the Democratic gathering in Denver last week, and she didn’t restrict her musings to just the official business of the DNC. Noonan talked with everyone she could — at the hotel where the Colorado delegation stayed, at parties and meetings, and on the streets with protesters. Many of those voices can be heard in audio bites on her convention blog, which is hosted at www.coloradocapitolwatch.com.

During a brief interview on the floor of the convention Aug. 26, Noonan talked about her experiences.

"For me, it's been fantastic. I was in the very front row, maybe 20 feet from all the speakers," she said of the first session.

Noonan also discussed why she supports Obama — and why she thinks he’ll carry Jefferson County in November. She especially supports his plans for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in a responsible way, and for a big push on renewable energy.

"There are a lot of guys out of work, a lot of people out of work who could have wonderful jobs in building this green economy," Noonan said. "I'm not just talking about the fancy engineers. I'm talking about the roofers, I'm talking the construction guys, the window guys, anybody that would be involved in the construction industry, anybody involved in the energy industry."

She's confident Obama will carry Jeffco, despite the traditional Republican strength in the county.

"(The Democrats) have an amazing ground game going in Jefferson County," Noonan said. "Republicans are really going to have to be on top of their game. I'm not sure if we're going to take South Jeffco, but we are going to take the county."

Noonan, 60, served as an Obama delegate from the 6th Congressional District, which includes Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe, Elbert and part of Park counties.

The longtime veteran of South Jeffco politics works with Colorado Capitol Watch, a nonpartisan watchdog organization that tracks votes in the state legislature. In her first-day blog on the group’s website, Noonan waxed cinematic about her role at the DNC.

"Rather like Jimmy Stewart in 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' Paula Noonan from CCW will attend the Democratic National Convention," she wrote.

"It's been really fun," she said of writing the blog. "More to the point, I'm also trying to get the voices of the people who are here, so anybody who goes to the site doesn't just have to hear me. They can hear what everybody else is thinking, too."

With the convention winding down, Noonan was philosophical about the work Democrats still have before them.

"People might not agree with Sen. Obama's politics, but I hope when they make their decisions about it, it's based on policy, because I don't want this election to be degraded or screwed up by people voting on bias or anything like that," Noonan said. "It's such a wonderful event for the people of this country to have a man of his stature and background being our nominee."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.

On the Web

Paula Noonan chronicled her experiences during the Democratic National Convention last week at www.coloradocapitolwatch.com. You can read her daily posts and listen to audio from the people she talked to, including high-profile Hollywood stars and protesters on 16th Street Mall. There's also video of Noonan meeting with a group of protesters.