Thursday, September 2, 2004

GOP convention gets a local touch


Prime-time minutes on stage at a national convention are a valuable commodity for any politician. So it's noteworthy that several Republicans representing our area made it onto the list of speakers at the party's convention this week in New York.

Rep. Rob Portman of Terrace Park, who represents much of Southwestern Ohio, including eastern Cincinnati, received a prime spot Wednesday night for a three-minute speech, and he made the most of it, touching on issues of trade, tax cuts, health care, energy policy and lawsuit reform - some of the issues he's addressed while in the House.

Portman argued for the "pro-growth, pro-jobs" agenda he believes President Bush would advance in a second term, and he praised Ohio workers who "know government doesn't create jobs ... (but that) the next administration will play a critical role in creating the environment for job growth."

His speech from the Madison Square Garden stage may have signaled that Portman is about to emerge onto the national political scene; as the Enquirer's Carl Weiser reported this week, Portman is a "rising star" who could land a major post in a second Bush term. But it also was a reflection of our area's importance in this fall's presidential race. There were plenty of other reflections:

Just before Portman spoke, the convention heard from Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who then introduced his wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Monday, Northern Kentucky's Geoff Davis, running in Kentucky's 4th U.S. House district race, got 30 seconds at the podium to outline his support for "policies guided by conservative principles and values."

Also on Monday, Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio called the session to order, and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft addressed the delegates as chairman of the Republican Governors Conference, asking for their help in 11 key gubernatorial races and praising the GOP candidates' "energy," "new ideas" and "vision." Ohio Lt. Gov. Jennette Bradley, serving as assistant secretary of the convention, helped with the roll call of the states Wednesday.

All told, this kind of attention is a sign that our area will continue to have plenty of policy clout, no matter who is elected.

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