Editor's Note: Mason Neck's Rob Hartwell is attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Hartwell is a Mitt Romney supporter and past finance chair of the Republican Party of Virginia.
I arrived in Tampa on Thursday and was a guest of Maryland and Sen. Alex Mooney (Md.-3rd) at the RNC Farewell Reception and Dinner honoring past RNC Members! I met lots of state chairmen and chairwomen, including those from California, the District, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington, and you would be surprised to know that most of the conversations were about the pending hurricane, accomodations, and the economy...not the pending convention.
Mount Vernon is well represented at the convention, with the youngest convention delegate, Evan Draim; our Governor Bob McDonnell; Marta Saltus and others (more on our local delegates later). Quite a diverse group of youth, experience and a veteran and a Puerto Rican-American woman!
I talked briefly with former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who was also chief of staff to former President George H.W. Bush, about the ability of the Obama campaign to successfully move the debate away from jobs and the economy.
I spent a lot of time working on arrangements for friends who wanted credentials and I stopped by the Virginia hotel...the Marriott at Sand Key which is very nice, but one of the farthest away, almost an hour! I am credentialed with the Republican National Committee, Virginia and Maryland, and will be seeing quite a few of our party leaders and of course have a good view of the speeches.
I've also made contingency plans on the east coast of Florida if the storm looks bad. It's not all work though as I had dinner in Sarasota on Friday with a former client and her husband, and managed a dip in the Gulf of Mexico Friday p.m.
It's sunny and hot and water far warmer than we are used to in the Atlantic! The TV ads are intense down here, with some I’ve not seen in Virginia. I will start reporting on convention activities soon. While I did joke on Facebook that I felt safe from the pending hurricane because all the hot air from politicians in Tampa would keep the storm away, I encourage everyone to listen carefully to the proceedings. We have major issues and differences of opinion in how to make America again that "shining city on the Hill" for all the world to appreciate and envy!
The directions laid out by both parties at their conventions are important. Most importantly, we must find a way after this election to bring everyone together to solve our problems.