Local delegates travel to Tampa, support Romney
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
TAMPA, Fla. – Amid the grandeur and spectacle of the 2012 Republican National Convention, two women from the Roaring Fork Valley have traveled to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for a single purpose.
“I’m very committed to electing Mitt Romney as president and Paul Ryan as vice president,” said Frieda Wallison, Pitkin County’s first Republican national delegate in forty years. “I very much wanted to be part of that effort at this convention.”
Nancy Carlson, an alternate delegate from Garfield County, feels the same way. “I ran [for delegate] because I felt it was really important to get Mitt Romney elected.”
Both women pledged to support Romney at the state GOP convention when they ran for delegate. They were among the 28 Colorado delegates who cast their votes for Romney’s nomination Tuesday evening, in a process that Wallison said was a highlight of the week so far.
“The roll call vote was very exciting, just to be part of that. I’ve often seen that on television. I was standing right behind Ryan Call and Luke Kirk when they announced the results,” said Wallison, who lives in Old Snowmass and chairs the Pitkin County Republicans.
Call is the chairman of the state Republican party; Kirk is the state’s youngest Republican delegate. They were on the big screen, with Wallison behind them, when Colorado’s votes were announced.
The eight remaining delegates from Colorado, originally supporters of Ron Paul, abstained from the vote. Carlson believes those differences in opinion will make the party stronger.
“I understand that there’s diversity within the Republican Party, and I accept that,” said Carlson. “I actually think it’s good to have that diversity because everyone’s different. They were so passionate about their candidates. They have some really fine ideas and I think we need to try and incorporate that into our Republican platform.”
Colorado’s Ron Paul supporters were not alone during Tuesday’s roll call vote. Some delegates, like those from Nevada, cast the majority of their votes for Paul. However, Romney did garner the 1,144 votes needed to clinch the party nomination, and Wallison believes that is what matters when it comes to this year’s election.
She thinks putting Romney in the White House is what the country needs.
“We need a change in Washington. I think that’s absolutely clear,” said Wallison. “I think the policies of this administration are all wrong on the economic front. A lot of people are really hurting in this country, a lot of people are really hurting in my community. We have a situation that is very damaging for our country, and that’s what makes this convention so important, and what makes this election so important.”
On Wednesday morning, both Wallison and Carlson had good things to say about the first night of convention speech-making.
“I keep using the word inspiring,” Carlson said. “Mia Love – wow, she was great. Being in Glenwood Springs, I have a very limited vantage point. To hear Mia, who is from Utah, and to hear Nikki Haley from South Carolina talk about the manufacturing and all the stuff in her state – that’s fun. Chris Christie was just phenomenal.”
Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and a candidate for Congress, was a favorite for Wallison as well. She also picked out Artur Davis, a former Alabama congressman and former Democrat, as one of her favorites. Both Wallison and Carlson called Ann Romney’s speech “inspiring.”
“Some of the speeches last night were really unbelievable. I just thought all of them blew the socks off everybody,” said Wallison.
Another highlight for Carlson were the three former Olympians who spoke to the Colorado delegation at breakfast Wednesday morning. The athletes competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and shared stories about Romney’s impact in managing the games that year and on their lives. Carlson recounted her favorite story, about a traffic jam that snarled the first day of the Winter Games.
“The second day of the Olympics, traffic was flowing smoothly, and when they got up to where the bottleneck had been, here was Mitt Romney, directing traffic himself,” she said.
At a breakfast earlier in the week, Colorado’s delegates heard from Matt Romney, Mitt’s second-oldest son. Carlson said the speakers she’s heard at Colorado delegation events paint a behind-the-scenes picture of the candidate.
“There have been opportunities, through all these different people, to learn the kind of man that Mitt Romney is, and I think he’s kind of a private man,” Carlson said. “He doesn’t want a lot of recognition for all the things he’s done. He likes to work, he likes to solve problems, he likes to help people.”
Colorado delegates also hosted Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at their breakfast Wednesday.
As the convention comes to a close today, an even more high-profile guest will drop by Colorado’s breakfast – former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a former Colorado resident.
Rice addressed the entire convention Wednesday evening, shortly before vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan took the stage for the night’s keynote address.
Not everything is going smoothly this week for the Colorado delegation in Tampa. Tuesday evening’s transportation was a headache for delegates, whose day began at 9 in the morning and lasted until after 11 p.m.
“It took us three and a half hours to get back here after the end of the convention,” Wallison said at the hotel Wednesday morning. The bus ride normally takes about 30 minutes. “But these things happen. Hopefully they’ll be resolved tonight.”
Overall, both women say they’re having a good time.
“Being in a venue with Republicans who all want the same thing for our country, and being able to hear fellow Republicans get up and talk about why they think Mitt Romney is the man to be our next president, is inspiring,” said Carlson.
But once the delegates are finished celebrating at the convention, the real work begins.
“Telephone calls, knocking on doors, telephone calls, being in the Garfield County Republican Headquarters – I’m going to spend as much time as I possibly can,” said Carlson, who is the vice chair of the Garfield County Republicans. “The next morning after the election, I don’t want to get up and be disappointed.”
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