Local construction crew front and center for Romney speech | PostIndependent.com

Local construction crew front and center for Romney speech

Jenna Jordan
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

BASALT, Colorado – When construction worker Justin Blanke agreed to join his boss for Mitt Romney’s speech at Basalt High School Thursday afternoon, he thought he would just be part of the crowd on the gym floor.

“He just kind of said, ‘Come on down if you’d like.’ We didn’t know where we’d be,” Blanke said.

In fact, Blanke and around 20 of his Gould Construction co-workers, decked out in neon vests and carrying hard hats, sat directly behind Romney’s podium. They sat before an audience of hundreds of local supporters, visible to cameras from local and national television networks.

Mark Gould, who owns Gould Construction, said he reached out to the Romney campaign last weekend about attending the event, and campaign officials asked him to gather a group of his employees to join him.

“We had more people that wanted to come that actually had to stay working, since it was in the middle of the afternoon,” Gould said. “We didn’t require anybody to come. We asked for volunteers that wanted to come.”

Gould, who supports Romney’s campaign, says he feels compelled to speak up for the Republican candidate as he faces President Obama. “I’m very frustrated with the president’s policies for small business, and the fact that he believes that I didn’t build my business, somehow the government did. I’ve decided that I need to be more vocal.”

Gould Construction employee Dale Merrill said he joined the group because he is hoping Romney will be the next president. Romney’s speech only strengthened that opinion, he said.

“It reinforced that it’s the correct decision for the United States to go forward,” Merrill said.

Not all of the Gould Construction workers who attended feel as strongly. Blanke says he is undecided and Thursday’s event did not sway his opinion one way or the other. Joe Enzer also joined the group to watch the speech, but said he still has not made up his mind.

“I’m an independent, and I’m looking to hear everything I can from both candidates to make my informed decision,” Enzer said. But Thursday’s in-person experience gave him extra insights.

“It gave me an opportunity to hear from him in person, and get a feel for the person he is rather than simply watching it on television,” Enzer said.

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