Republican National Convention
Monday, July 31, 2000

Convention Notebook

Blackwell gets name up in lights

By Howard Wilkinson and Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Most Philadelphians don't know Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. But they know he's in town.

        On Saturday night, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was the host at a Republican conference for minority delegates downtown. Mr. Blackwell, one of a handful of black Republican officials elected at the state level, served as keynote speaker.

        To honor Mr. Blackwell, the governor arranged for lighting on top of five office towers on the Delaware River. When lit, the message — “Welcome to Philadelphia Secretary Blackwell” — flashed in 10-foot-high letters that could be seen from just about any point in downtown Philadelphia.

        Newport native Gary Bauer had hoped to be here as the party's nominee.

        But the former Reagan administration official, who has become a spokesman on socially conservative causes, dropped out of the GOP race after poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        His Campaign for Working Families is peppering reporters with press releases on a number of topics, including the party's platform.

        “My initial reaction to the Republican Convention platform draft is positive,” Mr. Bauer says in one of the releases. “This is a document by and large that accurately reflects the conservative grass roots of our party.”

        Mr. Bauer is expected to at least try to establish a public profile during the convention.

        A group of Kentucky delegates got up early Sunday and headed right to Independence Hall.

        “I want to take the historic tour of this great city before I get too busy,” said Kentucky GOP vice chairman Damon Thayer. “This is where freedom was founded in this country, and I want to see where it happened.”

        Ohio State Sen. Doug White and his wife took a leisurely route to the convention.

        The Brown County Republican drove, stopping in Gettysburg two days to tour the Civil War battlefield, about two-and-a-half hours west of Philadelphia.

        “I figured we'd take it nice and slow for a few days, because there would be enough hassles when we got to the convention,” Mr. White said.

        Boone County Jailer John Schickel, a delegate from Hebron, is the subject of a press release by convention organizers. Mr. Schickel is lauded for switching parties four years ago.

        Ohio State Rep. Jackie O'Brien of Anderson Township is a veteran of several GOP conventions. But when she arrived at the Philadelphia airport Saturday night, she experienced something new.

        Philadelphia's city manager came up to her party and welcomed them.

        “We didn't have any badges on or anything; he was just walking around the terminal greeting people,” Mrs. O'Brien said. “What a great gesture.”


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