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Tri-State GOP delegates ready for Philly convention

July 26, 2000

Tri-State GOP delegates ready for Philly convention



By DON WORTHINGTON / Staff Writer


With its ticket set, much of the drama has already played out as Republicans converge on Philadelphia for their 37th national convention.

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Having the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney ticket set hasn't lessened the excitement for the region's delegates, said Bonnie Mellott Keefer, the Fulton County (Pa.) treasurer, and Del. Charles S. Trump IV, R-Berkeley Springs, the House minority leader in the West Virginia Legislature.

No Washington County residents were elected to attend the GOP convention.

Trump said he takes "great comfort" in the announced ticket.

"It speaks well of the candidate that we have settled on him (Bush) already. He's ready to step forward and be the obvious choice to be our next president."

With his "message of compassionate conservatism he's exactly the person to lead American into the future," said Trump, who is making his first trip to a national convention as an alternate delegate.

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Keefer said she hopes the lack of political intrigue means there will be more focus on developing the platform, particularly a plank related to the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"Controlling guns is not the answer," Keefer said. The key is controlling the "person behind the weapon, not the tool."

The Philadelphia convention will be the fourth straight GOP national convention Keefer has attended. She was a delegate in 1984 and 1992 and a guest in 1996 when her husband, Randy, was an alternate delegate. He and three of her four children will attend this year's convention.

The convention in the City of Brotherly Love is expected to draw more than 45,000 people, including 2,066 delegates, 2,066 alternates, 10,000 volunteers and 15,000 media representatives. The convention opens Monday, July 31, and will conclude with Bush's nomination Aug. 3.

Keefer and Trump praised Bush for his selection of Cheney as a running mate. Cheney's rsum includes serving as chief of staff for President Ford, stints in Congress and serving as George Bush's secretary of defense.

"(George W. Bush) has selected, without question, a person who could if necessary step in and be president," Trump said. "Cheney's rock solid."

Keefer admitted the choice of Cheney surprised her because she knew Sen. John McCain, Bush's opponent in the primaries, had made overtures.

But, she said, "Cheney is a man of character and good credentials."

Character was a big reason why Keefer and Trump supported Bush, they said.

She said she was impressed with the things Bush did for people because he believed in them, rather than for political gain.

She added she's looking forward to casting her convention vote for the Bush-Cheney ticket.

"It makes you feel like you made a difference," she said.

Trump said likely Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore seems more interested in his own political future than America's future.

"What I haven't heard from Bush, and I hear from Vice President Gore, is his chameleon-like appearance; every two months he reinvents himself."

Washington County Republican Chairman Vincent Dellaposta said he had the chance to attend the convention but had made other plans.

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