The City of Brotherly Love has certainly lived up to its name in welcoming the overseer of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Ask her, anyway, and that’s what DNC CEO the Rev. Leah D. Daughtry will likely attest to.
A newcomer to Philadelphia and originally from Brooklyn, Daughtry picked up and moved to Philly from Washington, D.C. in December. She’s still finding her bearings, but has said that just four months here, people have already rolled out the red carpet.
“Everybody’s been great. Folks are excited about the convention. I don’t always wear a badge that says I’m working for the convention, but even as you just walk around, people are warm, they want to help you. If I’m turned around or lost or I don’t know which way Broad Street is, somebody’s always helping,” said Daughtry.
“People love their city and that’s infectious, and we’re looking forward to the delegates experiencing that in July.”
Daughtry recently sat down with Metro to discuss how and why she got here, how she got established within the Democratic Party and worked her way up the ranks to lead the DNC in July.
The convention is expected to draw up to 50,000 participants to Philadelphia as Democrats gather to nominate their pick for the next President of the United States. It will be held July 25 through 28 at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.
Daughtry said she grew up in a very politically active, church-going family. Her father was a minister in Brooklyn.
“We were always involved in the political process in some way so, I grew up in it,” she said.
She moved to D.C. out of college and soon began working for the late Ron Brown, the first African-American chairman of the Democratic Party. She then went on to work for former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, under then-President Bill Clinton. Herman helped organize the 1992 DNC.
“It was hard work, and as my mom would often quote the Scripture, ‘your gifts would make room for you and bring before you great people,’” – a paraphrased quote from Proverbs 18:16.
Daughtry said she has a very good relationship with the Clintons and worked for Clinton within the labor department during his second term as president.
“I think they’re great people – warm, welcoming, embracing. Very smart, they love this country and they love the party,” she said.
Daughtry currently resides in Rittenhouse Square. She said she chose her location based on its proximity to her job at the main DNC office at 1900 Market St.
“At the time I was looking [for housing], I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I needed no more than a 10-minute walk to the office,” she said.
“I love to walk, and its imminently walkable – easy to get around – a great restaurant scene.”
She said her favorite chefs right now are Jose Garces and Kevin Spraga, but don’t even try to get on her schedule for lunch or dinner. She’s pretty booked up between now and the convention.