Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

What a treat it was to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention! All the fireworks that were anticipated over the past 18 months – with all the talk of a contested convention earlier in the spring – subsided to a rather ordinary convention. Ordinary, but still very exciting.

The 2016 RNC was a big celebration of the Republican Party. Despite the anti-climatic selection of Donald Trump (although there were some moments of tension with the Cruz supporters at the beginning), the Republican establishment seemed to embrace this outsider from New York. The selection of speakers and their speeches were right on with the party moving forward.

Security was tight and the police were visible from the onset. There were officers from all over the country there and it was heart-warming to see people walk up to them and thank them for their service. People were talking pictures with them, hugging them and giving them high-fives.

I enjoyed spending time with our local officials and party supporters. Among them were Bonnie Landrum, John Zull, Mary Balkema, Margaret O’Brien, David Maturen, Brandt Iden, Matt Hall, Mary and Kevin Whiteford, Paul and Anita DeYoung, Vic Fitz, Tonya Schuitmaker, Trisha Brumley, Sharon Tyler, Dennis Grosse, Bill and Barbara Parfet, and a few others. Bonnie made a new friend with State Rep. Nancy Jenkins from Adrian and she became an adopted part of our group.

The speeches were inspiring and the agenda was packed full each day. The whole event was really well-run. I was a little concerned going into the event since we didn’t see a lot of communication on the schedule from either the state or national party. That may have been for security, but it was a little bothersome. I could see how hard the staff at the state party worked. They did a great job. One drawback was the Michigan delegation hotel being 33 miles from the event site. We had a 45-minute bus ride in each day and back each evening.

Ronna Romney McDaniel did a great job as our state party chair during the event, even with the controversial “pass” that the RNC requested from the Michigan delegation. Somebody at the RNC couldn’t add very well and it looked a little foolish for Michigan and Pennsylvania to pass so randomly. I told Bill Schuette he should send RNC Chair Reince Priebus a “Schuette on Duty” calculator.

After returning home, I watched some of the Democratic Convention on television and cringed at what I saw. It’s going to be a long stretch between now and Nov. 8. Hold on to your hats!