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Caplan: Democratic convention a 'once-in-a-lifetime experience'





Being a Democrat in the reddest of red states doesn't faze Harriet Caplan one bit.

OK, maybe just a little bit.

"Well, frustrating sometimes," she said.

Caplan prefers to turn that frustration into opportunity.

"In one sense, because you are a smaller group, you have the ability to be more involved," Caplan said. "If you want to be involved, you can be. And, sometimes, that's much easier than when there are a lot of people out there."

Caplan has been involved with the Ellis County Democratic Party, serving as treasurer for more than 10 years. She was a supporter of then-candidate Barack Obama four years ago and hoped to be a delegate then, but wasn't selected.

Caplan was picked this time, and planned to fly with her husband, Lou, to Charlotte, N.C., today for the 2012 Democratic Convention, which starts Tuesday and lasts through Thursday.

"I'm very excited," she said. "There are going to be many, many things to do. There will be caucuses that can be attended -- the schedule is just jam-packed."

Caplan knows for sure one thing she is looking forward to this week.

"I suppose the most exciting thing is going to be Thursday night, to hear President Obama talk," she said of the president's acceptance speech.

But Caplan is looking forward to all the speakers at the convention.

"The other speakers are going to be wonderful," she said. "Former President Clinton will speak, Michelle Obama will speak; a lot of wonderful people talking and presenting their positions."

Voters need to make an informed choice at the polls, Caplan said.

"I think people need to be educating themselves about what is actually happening, and not the sound bites one gets on media -- from both sides," she said. "You need to understand what the positions are."

Caplan, 67, who along with her husband retired as teachers at Fort Hays State University last year, said being involved in politics keeps her busy.

"It keeps you active, keeps you aware of what's going on in the world, in your state," she said. "You become much more aware of issues; you pay attention."

This convention will be Caplan's first.

"It's certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said.