After the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem and some early speeches, it was time for Springfield’s native son, and former mayor, U.S. Representative Richie Neal.

"I think what I’m about to say I can offer with great accuracy,” Neal said. “I'm the only person in this arena who is being sued by Donald Trump.”

Neal mentioned nothing about his campaign for reelection or that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse was running against him, though he vowed to keep leading the fight against President Trump.

“Donald Trump is the most reckless president in our lifetime and we must be united in defeating him,” Neal said. “And speaking of defeating him, 'President Elizabeth Warren' sounds pretty good."

It was another two hours before Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren came to the stage.

And before she did, Warren was hanging out in the crowd where dozens of people like Jamie Minacci from Stockbridge was quite surprised and delighted to see her.

“Well, we were wondering what the hubbub was and we're like, ‘Oh, there she is!’” Minacci said. “You could see the purple,” referring to the senator’s purple jacket.

And Michelle Picot was there. She’s from the Berkshires but is not a delegate, nor was anyone in her group. They were in Springfield for her nephew's wedding and just had to see Warren. But Picot, who is a Democrat, is not quite a supporter.

“I'm not there yet,” Picot said. “Because what you say in a speech and what you can actually deliver are very different.”

In her speech, Warren said Massachusetts has been a “beacon of light shining hope across the country.” She applauded the efforts of politicians, activists and voters in the state since Trump was elected.

Then Warren turned to her stump speech, bemoaning the high cost of housing and health care, and the epidemic of gun violence, among other challenges.

“They are all rooted in the ability of the wealthy and the well-connected to get Washington to work for them and to leave everyone else behind,” she said. “That is wrong. It is fundamentally un-American, and that's why I’m running for president of the United States.”

A presidential candidate is a hard act to follow; U.S. Senator Ed Markey did.

“So many of us are here today because we recognize that right now we are in an epic struggle for the very heart of our sacred democracy,” Markey told delegates.

By the time Markey came on stage, it was long after Steve Pemberton and Shannon Liss-Riordan spoke. They’re two Democrats who’ve announced they're running against Markey and they were given an unusual slot on the convention agenda, in a non-election year.

Not giving a speech, but around for part of the convention, was U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III, who is also considering a challenge to Markey. That Democratic primary for Senate is a full year away. 

This story comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies, including The Public's Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.