Sunday, April 20, 2008

24 hours - Three Conventions - 700 Miles

Friday night at the Tooele County convention, County Chairman Chris Sloan and his committee devised a great way to encourage attendance. They preceded their county convention with a Lincoln Day dinner..."If you feed them, they will come" remarked Congressman Rob Bishop, keynote speaker for the dinner. I was running a little late from a job site in Ogden. I got there in time to hear Rob, but everyone else was already finished eating. The good news was there were plenty of swedish meatballs and I made a dinner out of those during Rob's educational separation and balance of powers speech. (and yes, I still paid for dinner... and I got my money's worth with all the meatballs!)

And can I just say WOW! about the growth in Tooele County. It has been a number of years since I have been to Tooele and the commercial and residential activity is astounding. What a great place to be with the beautiful Oquirrh Mountains as a backdrop and all the shopping and amenities you could ask for.

We were able to meet in the beautiful new high school and Tooele had a great turn out of delegates to the convention. Thanks for the opportunity to say a few words about the role of the National Committeeman, still perhaps, the most obscure position in the party organization.

The early morning light on the red rock of Dixie is a beautiful site.

St. George has traditionally held its convention in the morning, which makes sense because it allows Cedar City to have its convention later in the day. Its a nice accommodation for those of us running for statewide office to group conventions geographically together... but wait... Tooele was the NIGHT before the Washington County Convention. Short night and a long drive!! Best laid plans etc...

But here is why it is so worth it. These county conventions are so uplifting. Case in point, Washington County had the Sheriff's honor guard present the flag in a dignified and exemplary fashion and then a male member of that honor guard, in a beautiful tenor voice, gave a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem. Later in the program, Chairman Dean Cox read a moving account of what the Pledge of Allegiance meant to Republican Presidential presumptive nominee John McCain. It related to a specific experience as a POW in Vietnam. (See the attached so you can read the entire story yourself.)

After that, the audience arose to recite the pledge. After hearing McCain's story it had some additional meaning and emotion for me as I'm sure it did for the rest of the audience.

It was great seeing many of my acquaintances and friends in St. George, but let me give a special shout out to Jeanine Holt, a past aid to Senator Hatch. She was a great supporter when I ran for and served as State Chairman many years ago. She is a stalwart among stalwarts in the party and I am amazed at her continued involvement as Vice Chair of the county party. I get a hug every time I see her. She's the best.

After a leisurely lunch at "Lefty's Hideout" (a Mexican restaurant on the north end of Cedar City), I went to the middle school nearby to participate in the Iron County Republican Party Convention. A couple of highlights... The Hope Choir (from the SUU Institute of Religion) sang and it was very inspirational to hear young people sing songs of patriotism, including the the National Anthem (see thevideo below). A uniformed U.S. veteran of the Iraq war posted the colors and I'm quite sure that the gentleman who accompanied him was a WWII Veteran. Their contrast in age was diminished by their mutual respect for flag and country.

It was good to see Representative "Bud" Bowman as well. He has gone through a lot of illness over the past year but he was looking very well indeed. At 80 years old he said he had some 20 grandchildren and even more great grandchildren. A new legislator from the area will be representing the folks from Iron County but Bud's sixteen years in the state house were honored with a standing ovation. Enjoy those grand and great grandkids Bud!!

Chairman Mervin Adair ran a great convention and it seemed like almost everyone stayed until the end. I asked the crowd if they had been uplifted during the convention and I think it was almost unanimous that they were. It is a great thing to see the grassroots activity in the political process and witness democracy in action at its most fundamental level.

On my drive back to the Wasatch Front I became aware of how tired I was but in the next instant I was smiling as I thought of Congressman Rob Bishop's tutorial on the balance and separation of power, the lovely tenor voice of the Sheriff's deputy singing the National Anthem, the John McCain Pledge of Allegiance story, Jeanine Holt, Bud Bowman, the Hope Choir, the military veterans who participated in the conventions, and I even remembered the swedish meatballs... I felt a renewed energy with a surge of pride in our political process; I was reasured and hopeful, and yes, uplifted.

1 comment:

Shante said...

Hey Bruce - great blog. Good information and talking points. Let me know if you need any help from a PR professional...or just someone who claims to be one!