New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson will be attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Sept. 3-6, as part of the delegation from the 18th Congressional District in New York.
This is the first time he will be attending a convention and he said he has no idea what to expect.
"I'm entering into it as open minded to whatever it may be," Bramson said.
He said there should be no surprises because President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were not challenged within the party for re-election. And their Republican opponents are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, running for president and vice president, respectively.
Nonetheless, Bramson expects the convention will be an interesting experience.
"I find the process of electing a president to be very exciting and deeply meaningful and moving," he said, "and so to the extent that the convention is a contribution to that process, that is exciting."
Bramson is a life-long resident of New Rochelle, graduating from New Rochelle High School in 1987. He attended Harvard University where he completed his undergraduate degree in three years. He then received a master's degree in public policy.
He served for 10 years on the New Rochelle City Council, representing District 5. He was appointed mayor in January 2006 to complete the unexpired term of Timothy Idoni, who was elected Westchester County Clerk.
Bramson was elected to a full four-year term in November 2007 and was re-elected in 2011.
He is married to Catherine Stern, a clinical pediatric neuropsychologist. They have two sons—Jeremy, 8, and Owen, 6—who are students in the New Rochelle public schools.
Bramson said he expressed interest in being a delegate to the county Democratic Party leadership "without any particular expectation one way or the other."
Had there been a contested primary, there would have been slates of delegates for whom voters would have cast their ballots, he said.
"I was honored to be selected," Bramson said, "and I'm looking forward to the experience. I want to help the president in whatever tiny way I can."
While he has to pay for his own airfare, Bramson said the state party bought tickets in large enough numbers to cut down on the expense. While in Charlotte, he will be staying with friends.
No itinerary has been received so Bramson is not sure what activities will fill the days.
"I am expecting the major speeches are likely to be covered on television, and they will be interesting and uplifting," he said. "Seeing those speeches live, with the energy in the room, will be an impressive experience.
"I have no idea what to expect for the remainder," Bramson said. "I'm not one who enjoys milling around in cocktail parties engaging in meaningless debates."
What he is looking foward to is talking to other local officials, particularly mayors.
"Cities all around the country are facing similar challenges," Bramson said, "such as balancing the budget and continuing fiscal distress."
He's always on the lookout for examples of what works and what doesn't.
"Other mayors have distinct perspectives so that we will be able to appreciate how they view these challenges," he said.
Bramson sees the upcoming election as one that is important to the health of the nation.
"Every four years we seem to say that this is the most important election of our lives," he said. "It can't always be true, but I think there is an enormous difference in the way President Obama approaches the responsibilities and the priorities he has set for the country and the values that motivate his work.
"There is a tremendous difference between those and the agenda that Governor Romney would bring to the White house," Bramson said.
"Every piece of objective evidence tells us that President Obama's policies would be far better for the middle-class and working families," he said. "The philosophical and programmatic differences are probably as stark today as they have ever been."
This November's election is incredibly important to United States, Bramson said.
"If you think this election doesn't matter, you probably aren't paying attention," he said.