KSU prof serves as delegate at Democratic National Convention

Nicole Stempak

Jonathan Selinger, a Kent State LCI professor who went to high school with Barack Obama, served as a delegate at this week’s convention.

Credit: DKS Editors

Jonathan Selinger, chemical physics professor at the Liquid Crystal Institute, knew Barack Obama before he was the Democratic presidential nominee. They walked the same hallways in high school.

Both attended Punahou High School in Honolulu, where they graduated in 1979. Selinger remembers Obama as a star on the basketball team.

Although Obama was a friend of a friend, being in the same class prompted Selinger to get involved in Obama’s campaign. Selinger has been at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week as an elected delegate for Obama.

“I was supporting Barack Obama right from the beginning of the campaign because I went to high school with him,” he said. “Apart from my personal connection, I also think he’s a great leader.”

Selinger said he believes Barack Obama is “a brilliant man.”

“I think he cares very deeply about the problems facing the country,” he said. “I think he really cares about ordinary Americans.

“I think he has great plans about how to help the country.”

This is Selinger’s first time serving as a delegate, where he represents Ohio’s 14th Congressional District, which includes Hudson.

In January, each congressional district in Ohio held a caucus, he said. At the caucus, officials made a list of all the potential delegates for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. All the male Obama supporters then gave a two-minute speech as to why they should be chosen as a delegate.

Selinger said he was fortunate to be placed at the top of the list of potential male delegates. Based on the voting results for the Ohio primary, the 14th Congressional District allocated one female and one male delegate to Obama.

“I’m very glad to have the opportunity to get involved with the local Democratic Party,” he said.

Selinger said he saw Obama in a surprise appearance Wednesday night after Joe Biden’s vice presidential acceptance speech.

“I didn’t talk to him personally, but I think he has bigger things on his mind than a high school reunion,” he said, adding there is another man from their graduating class who is a delegate from the state of Washington.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].