Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012
Ohio is not the most important state in this election -- but there is no state more important than Ohio, that is very clear.
The Ohio delegation is definitely getting a lot of attention. Senator Rick Santorum was our speaking guest at a breakfast hosted by Attorney General Mike DeWine. Leaving breakfast, I was interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch, all of the questions were in anticipation of Ann Romney's scheduled appearance at the convention.
Today was our first trip to the actual convention venue, the Tampa Times Forum. We arrived around 12:30 p.m. It was about a 15 minute bus ride for delegates. Interstates were closed along the route, security was high and there was no oncoming traffic permitted.
Once at the forum, Amy Casner of Cuyahoga County and I were interviewed by the BBC and a group of us were interviewed by Japanese Public Television.
It is easy to forget the interest the rest of the world has in our Presidential election but it is overwhelmingly obvious when attending a nominating convention. I am told the reporters outnumber us 4 to 1. It seems like more.
Entering the convention hall was surreal! The Ohio delegation has excellent floor positioning. My assigned seat is in the eighth row from center stage, 4th seat from the left, 11th seat from the right. Wow! I can hardly believe it.
In the early afternoon, there were quite a few speeches from Congressional members and candidates. The first session was mostly housekeeping, voting on officers, to adopt the platform and rules.
Ohio's Speaker John Boehner was elected to chair the convention. There was a small amount of cheering when Ron Paul entered the room at about 1:30 p.m. but not much more excitement until roll call where the states cast their delegate votes which started at about 5 p.m.
After roll call and into the evening there were speeches by organization representatives, business owners from around the country and a number of governors including our own John Kasich.
Just before the headline speakers started, the Oakridge Boys came to the stage. I had just finished telling Tammy Puff, another 7th District Delegate, that I remembered the Oakridge Boys when it was still a gospel band when they announced the one and only song they would be performing. They invited those in the convention hall to sing along while they performed Amazing Grace. This was by far my favorite part of the evening.
The convention hall, filled with people from all over the USA and it's delegates from beyond the borders of the continental U.S. singing Amazing Grace together. It truly was AMAZING!
As I have said before, Ohioans have a lot to be proud of. Among other accomplishments, we lead the nation in job creation and deficit reduction.
Governor Kasich hit it out of the park with his speech talking about the progress Ohio has made. We have so much to be thankful for. After he finished speaking, Governor Kasich came down on the floor and personally greeted Ohio delegates. He didn't just walk down the aisle, he spent time talking to individuals and responding to requests for pictures.
Our governor earned great style points for that courtesy. It might not seem like much but it was no small thing to do given the pressing schedule.
Ann Romney, making her first convention appearance, told us about a life of purpose and perseverance. The conversation between delegates on the bus trip home confirmed what had been my impression, Ann Romney delivered a home run.
Wrapping up the evening was New Jersey Governor Christie. Governor Christie has a reputation for telling it like it is with no apologies. His convention appearance was no exception. He talked about the many improvements in his state that have come about due to an administration willing to make the tough calls and public employees and a voting public who supported the changes needed for the greater good of the state and its people.
The trip back to the Ohio delegation housing was not quite as easy as the trip in to the convention. We sat on buses for a little more than two hours loading, going through security, into a transfer area and then to our housing. By 2 a.m., I was starving. Attorney General DeWine's wife, Fran, was two seats ahead of me. Hearing me joke about ordering a pizza if we were going to have to sit much longer, she handed me her last pack of peanut butter crackers!
We have heard rumors Condoleza Rice will be joining the Ohio delegation for breakfast. It is past 3 a.m. If I don't put my computer to bed, I'll sleep through it.
Lynda Bowers is a trustee from Lafayette Township in Medina County.