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Ohio




Ohio's oldest delegate on convention No. 7
Like Bill Clinton, Ruby Gilliam has seen them all since 1988
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI
This story is part of a special series.


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
89-year-old Ruby Gilliam of Minerva is attending her seventh convention.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
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Bill Clinton gave a rousing speech last night at the Democratic National Convention. But it was nothing new for Ohio’s oldest delegate. 

Eighty-nine-year-old Ruby Gilliam of Carroll County saw Clinton’s first convention speech and like Clinton, she’s been at every convention since.  From Charlotte WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports.

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Ruby Gilliam is chairwoman of the Carroll County Democratic Party and has attended seven Democratic conventions.  She’s seen Bill Clinton’s prime time performances each time, including the year when the Arkansas governor gave his famously long-winded coming-out speech at the convention in Atlanta in 1988.

When she thinks about memorable convention moments, it’s the inter-party squabbles of Ohio Democrats that year that come to mind.

“In Atlanta, the Ohio delegation almost fell apart. That really wasn’t a highlight, but we had some things happen there. And then New York, that’s when Clinton spoke. And then Denver, seeing 86,000 people in Mile High Stadium, and 86,000 people holding an American flag. And being in the military, the tears streamed. That was one of the most emotional moments of my life.”

Ruby Gilliam grew up a Democrat in Kentucky and moved to Ohio when she got married. Her husband, a captain in the medical corps, was killed in World War II; that’s when she left college to join the Navy herself. 

 She’s hoping President Obama can deliver again with his acceptance speech tonight.  

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