Lo­cal GOP sent two to con­ven­tion

The Covington News - - Front page - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

While Paul Ryan at­tacked Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s record, Mitt Rom­ney shared his his­tory and talk­ing points for a brighter fu­ture and di­rec­tor Clint East­wood in­ter­viewed an empty chair, two New­ton County res­i­dents eagerly lis­tened from the au­di­ence of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

The New­ton County Repub­li­can Party re­ceived the honor this year of send­ing two rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the con­ven­tion in Tampa, Fla., in­clud­ing del­e­gate Tim Flem­ing, a county com­mis­sioner, and al­ter­nate del­e­gate Linda Park, a de­voted mem­ber of the lo­cal GOP.

What else hap­pens at a con­ven­tion?

Flem­ing said it was the first time the party has sent two of­fi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, where 2,286 del­e­gates not only lis­ten to im­pas­sioned speeches by party lead­ers and of­fi­cially nom­i­nate the pres­i­den­tial and vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, but also adopt the party’s rules and plat­form for the next four years.

The party’s 2012 plat­form can be found at GOP. com and con­tains the usual mix of am­bi­tious goals, in­clud­ing job cre­ation, pro­mot­ing small busi­ness own­er­ship, of­fer­ing tax re­lief, al­ter­ing the tax code, bal­anc­ing the bud­get, ex­pand­ing home­own­er­ship and mak­ing Amer­i­can work­ers more glob­ally and tech­no­log­i­cally com­pet­i­tive, among oth­ers.

One piece of party busi­ness that was im­por­tant to Flem­ing and many of his fel­low del­e­gates was pro­tect­ing the cur­rent del­e­gate elec­tion process. A rule change would have al­lowed fu­ture pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nees to se­lect del­e­gates, but Flem­ing and a ma­jor­ity of del­e­gates sup­ported the cur­rent process which Flem­ing said al­lows for more “grass-roots” rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

As it stands now, each con­gres­sional dis­trict gets three del­e­gates and al­ter­nate del­e­gates, with the del­e­gates be­ing cho­sen based on the amount of work they put in pro­mot­ing the party, help­ing can­di­dates cam­paign and fundrais­ing. First, the lo­cal GOP se­lects del­e­gates to send to the dis­trict con­ven­tions; then, a com­mit­tee at the dis­trict level in­ter­view can­di­dates and chooses the del­e­gates to send to the na­tional con­ven­tion. The process works sim­i­larly for the Demo­cratic Party.

New­ton County re­ceived two del­e­gates out of around 60 can­di­dates, Flem­ing said.

“A trip to the na­tional con­ven­tion is a re­ward for peo­ple who have worked hard for the party; those who have given their blood, sweat and tears for can­di­dates at the lo­cal or state level — the peo­ple in the trenches,” Flem­ing said. “There are money peo­ple who write the checks, but that doesn’t do it (alone). You have to have the boots on the ground. Those are the peo­ple cho­sen to go to that na­tional con­ven­tion; it’s a re­ward for years and years of hard work.”

For Park, the trip was the cul­mi­na­tion of more than 20 years of ser­vice to the lo­cal party, in­clud­ing serv­ing as an of­fi­cer sev­eral times. She’s cam­paigned for many years for John Dou­glas, who was re­cently elected as a county com­mis­sioner, but has also served as a board of ed­u­ca­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tive and a state se­na­tor. But, what about the speeches?

“The ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing. My fa­vorite part were the speak­ers,” Park said. “I loved Anne Rom­ney and thought she did a stel­lar job in pre­sent­ing the case for our nom­i­nee along with Mitt Rom­ney him­self who also did a stel­lar job. I liked the VP pick too; I just be­lieve our slate the best.”

Of course, Flem­ing and Park loved the speeches, which are de­signed to fire up each party’s re­spec­tive bases ev­ery four years.

“My fa­vorite points in the con­ven­tion were Gov. Chris Christie and Con­gress­man Ryan’s speeches; when they spoke it re­ally en­er­gized the crowd and they de­liv­ered good mes­sages,” Flem­ing said. “Con­doleezza Rice was strong too. She is a great as­set to the ticket and will be a strong as­set to Gov. Rom­ney on the cam­paign trail and into the fu­ture if he gets elected.”

The one speech that was ques­tioned widely in the press also con­fused Flem­ing.

“The one speaker I didn’t care for was Clint East­wood. It was a very bizarre and odd seg­ment. I don’t think he de­liv­ered the mes­sage he was sup­posed to de­liver,” Flem­ing said.

The can­di­dates got a good view as Ge­or­gia’s del­e­ga­tion, which was the fourth largest there, sat only 10 rows back. In ad­di­tion to the del­e­gates, sev­eral state lead­ers at­tended, in­clud­ing Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle, House Speaker David Ral­ston, Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp, Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Gary Black and even Newt Gin­grich and wife Cal­lista.

“The coolest per­son I got to shake hands with was Gov. Huck­abee. I met him at one of our events af­ter the con­ven­tion one night. There was a band play­ing, and got up on stage and played with the band; he played bass gui­tar for five or six songs. He rocked out, rolled his sleeves up and had a good time,” Flem­ing said. “What you see on TV is what you get with him… He loves to play the gui­tar, and he’s pretty good at it. The Democrats have Bill Clin­ton to play the sax­o­phone, we have Gov. Huck­abee to play the bass.”

Now that the con­ven­tion is over, the party takes on the large task of de­feat­ing an in­cum­bent pres­i­dent.

“My fa­vorite part was just the ex­cite­ment of the con­ven­tion. Ev­ery­body com­ing to­gether and uni­fy­ing be­hind the Rom­ney-Ryan ticket,” Flem­ing said.

“But now that all the par­ty­ing is done, it’s time for us to come back home and for all the del­e­gates and al­ter­nates to get to work and make sure get the ticket elected. Get­ting signs up, hold­ing events for them, rais­ing money and get­ting the mes­sage out ev­ery Amer­i­can.”

As for the Democrats, their con­ven­tion be­gins Tues­day in Char­lotte, N.C.

Lo­cal del­e­gate Tim Flem­ing poses with del­e­gate Brad Hughes and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.