North Texas Daily

Non-traditional student “Billy” Cunningham to attend state convention as Sanders’ delegate

Non-traditional student “Billy” Cunningham to attend state convention as Sanders’ delegate

May 05
03:18 2016

Jynn Schubert | Staff Writer


After deciding earlier this semester not to run for Justice of the Peace in Dallas County, UNT student William Cunningham Jr. began serving as a state delegate for Bernie Sanders.

Though he identified as being politically independent for most of his life, he was inspired by Sanders to become a Democrat in order to be his delegate on a state, and potentially national, level.

“It seems to be that I have on an individual level, by being in the party system, more input, control, voice and all of these other things that an Independent doesn’t have.” Cunningham said. “So I decided that because Bernie was an Independent and I was an Independent when he decided to go Democrat I went with him.”

Cunningham is currently the executive director for Texas Renewable Energy Systems, and does a lot of volunteer work in his free time.

“The reason I got into that is exactly what our company motto is: making a greener planet,” Cunningham said. “And before we started the company I decided I didn’t know enough, so I got my associates degree in renewable and sustainable energy.”

The process to become a state delegate has many steps, from voting in the primary election and attending the county convention where you sign up for the state convention, to being selected by a committee of Senate district leaders to be allowed to go. Once there, Cunningham will be presented with an opportunity to sign up to be a national delegate.

“The committee picks people who say that they could go, want to go and would support certain candidates, and I happened to get picked for the Bernie candidate to go to the state,” Cunningham said. “It’s fun, I feel like I’m more involved in the political process than I was before.”

Delegates are responsible for choosing who the nominee will be for presidential elections. Super delegates may vote for whichever candidate they chose at the national convention, whereas normal delegates choose which candidate they support ahead of time.

“Since we are a representative democracy I am the representative of the democracy to pick the presidential candidate,” Cunningham said.

A baby boomer, Cunningham is proud to be one of Bernie’s older supporters and credits it for his motivation to become a national delegate.

“First of all they say that [few] of the people [supporting Sanders] are over 45, so I’m one of the rare ones,” Cunningham said. “I’m articulate, I can persuade people and I think that I can do the domino effect up there where I talk to a few people and they’ll say ‘Hey, we need to rethink this.’”

Cunningham hopes Hillary Clinton will continue to absorb some more of Sanders’ ideals before election comes around.

“I’m worried that Trump will get the vote, and if Hillary doesn’t have Bernie’s supporters with her, then we’re going to have a Republican, fascist president,” Cunningham said. “We can’t have that, so I’ve got to rally the troops at the national level and make sure that the Bernie supporters support the Democratic candidate because the alternative is not good.”

Cunningham is a non-traditional student studying for his degree in public affairs and community service, with a minor in anthropology. He is also considering going for his master’s degree.

“I’m a non-traditional everything,” Cunningham said. “I’m a non-traditional student, and I’m a non-traditional person, I’m just not traditional. But you know, that’s what we need. It’s time for non-traditional, because the regular guys aren’t doing the job.”

Featured Image: UNT non-traditional student William “Billy” Cunningham poses for a photo on campus. Cunningham will be attending the state convention as Bernie Sanders’ delegate. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

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1 Comment

  1. Dr Baloney
    Dr Baloney February 16, 12:49

    Than you, NTD

    Reply to this comment

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