GOP National Convention kicks off Monday

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By Carol A. Clark

A cross-section of leaders will take the stage to highlight presumptive presidential nominee John McCain’s career beginning Monday at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

“The speakers will address John McCain’s unmatched record of service and sacrifice for America, and his vision for moving our nation forward to keep us safe and get our economy back on track,” said McCain 2008 Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker in a news release.

The four-day event will be held at Saint Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Some 45,000 delegates, alternate delegates, volunteers, members of the media and other guests are expected to attend the convention.

New Mexico is sending 32 delegates, including Sen. Pete Domenici, and 29 alternates including Veronica Rodriguez of Los Alamos.

Rodriguez works for Domenici and discussed the upcoming convention during an interview Saturday morning. “This will be my first convention,” Rodriguez said. “I’m excited and a little bit nervous not knowing quite what to expect but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Longtime local and state GOP leader JoAnn Johnson has attended three national conventions including New Orleans in 1988, Houston in 1992 and the 2004 convention in New York. This year she will watch the convention on television from her Los Alamos home.

“When I watch the conventions I sense the excitement and it brings back memories of having been there and it makes me want to go again,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been tapped to head up the Women’s Coalition for McCain in Los Alamos County.

“In this position I will rally area women to get out and work to help get Sen. McCain elected in November,” she said.

McCain of Arizona has created a lot of buzz with his vice presidential pick, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, whom he revealed early Friday. Palin is a mother of five with a son serving in the military. Her record includes reform and bipartisanship and she is credited with rejecting the “bridge to nowhere” project in her state that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

Among the scheduled speakers at the RNC are 10 current and former Republican governors, five current and former U.S. Senators, two top businesswomen and McCain and his wife Cindy McCain. Their remarks are expected to echo the themes that have been selected for each of the convention’s four days including service, reform, prosperity and peace.

Additional speakers and program details will be reported as soon as the information becomes available.

Local GOP activities include a grand opening of the Republican Party Headquarters at 1370-A Central Avenue at 4 p.m. Monday. The headquarters telephone, 662-0582, is set to be activated Tuesday. For information about Monday’s grand opening event, call Johnson at 662-7981.


GOP Convention Speaker lineup


 • Sen. Joseph Lieberman, CT

 • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, CA

 • Vice President Dick Cheney

• First Lady Laura Bush

• President George W. Bush


• Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

• Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, AR

• Former Gov. Tom Ridge, PA

• Gov. Sarah Palin, AK

• Gov. Jon Huntsman, Utah

• California Secretary of the State Rosario Marin

• Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, TN

• Gov. Linda Lingle, HA

• Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, MD


• U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, MN

• Meg Whitman, national co-chair for McCain 2008/former President and CEO of eBay

• Carly Fiorina, Victory ‘08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee/former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.

• Former Gov. Mitt Romney, MA

• Cindy McCain

• Gov. Bobby Jindal, LA

• Gov. Tim Pawlenty, MN

• Gov. Charlie Crist, FL

• U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, KS

  • U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, FL

   • John McCain