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Ohio's Ruby Gilliam Leads the Pledge at her Eighth DNC

Ruby Gilliam decked out for her eighth Democratic National Convention.
Ruby Gilliam decked out for her eighth Democratic National Convention.
Ruby Gilliam decked out for her eighth Democratic National Convention.
Credit KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO
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Ruby Gilliam decked out for her eighth Democratic National Convention.

  A 93-year-old Ohio woman – the oldest delegate to this year’s DNC  – says she’s been “walking on air” since she was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance on the first day of her eighth Democratic convention. For Ohio Public Radio,WKSU’sM.L.Schultzesat down with Ruby Gilliam to talk about her moment, perspectives and commitment.

Ruby Gilliam is a lifelong Democrat in a Northeast Ohio  county – Carroll – that leans Republican. And though she says she was born into Democratic politics, it’s a little more complicated than that.

“My dad’s side of the family were all Republicans and mmy mothers side were all Democrat. I was the youngest of eight – my oldest sister was 22 years older than me. The oldest were Republicans and the four youngest were Democrats.”

Come Thanksgiving dinner, “We didn’t discuss politics. Well, we did. But nobody got furious over it or anything.”

She says her father and brothers ran – often – for office, and never won. But she got used to passing out campaign literature at an early age.

Her own commitment to Democrats, she says is “I believe in people helping people” and the Democratic Party speaks to that.

As for Hillary Clinton, “She is the most qualified to be the president and we need a woman to be the president.”

As for those who dismiss qualifications and want drastic change in stead, she responds, “Change from what?

“I don’t understand when they say we need change. This is the greatest country in the world. It’s always been great and it’s going to stay great.”

Ruby Gilliam is the oldest among the more than 4,000 delegates at the Democratic convention. 

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