Being a delegate is a new experience for Cristina Castro of Elgin, who arrived in Charlotte, N.C., over the weekend for her first Democratic National Convention and was delighted by everything from her "swag bag" to the oversized role of the Illinois delegation.
On being from President Barack Obama's home state:
"Look at the GOP convention. There wasn't one prominent Illinois person that was speaking. That just shows the importance of our state. I had an opportunity to go to the Democratic Governor's Association, and it was interesting to see a bunch of folks just coming up to say: 'Gov. Quinn, nice to meet you.' It just shows how people feel about our state."
The early scene:
Castro arrived in Charlotte Saturday morning, early enough to explore before security tightened around the downtown convention site.
"They had not closed anything off. Everything was open. Literally an hour after we got checked in, settled, and we went and looked at something, they put up barricades. It's very different."
About those gift bags:
"A lot of it is from the sponsors. We got some brown sugar. I think brown sugar is made here, so I think that's interesting. We got our delegates pin. ... It's an honor to be a delegate. Not many people in a lifetime can say they've been a delegate, especially a delegate for a sitting president."
"For me, as a newbie, this is really cool for me to experience."