While most of us are watching the Republican National Convention from the comfort of our living rooms, others are right there on the floor where the action is and one of those people is Scioto County resident and Republican delegate Kay Reynolds, who gave The Daily Times an up-close-and-personal view that one can only get by being in the middle of it all.
One of the things that has impressed Reynolds is the security.
“This is my fifth convention and this is the most organized event I’ve ever gone to in my life,” Reynolds told the Times. “I had questioned right up to when I left home as to whether I should do this. I was concerned about my physical safety.”
That all changed when Reynolds saw the security.
“There are security people from all over the United States here,” Reynolds said. “They have been the most gracious giving individuals you have ever seen. There are thousands of people. Our fellow delegates are coming up to us as we are walking outside on the street, and will say – ‘you’re from Ohio aren’t you.’ And they are saying this is the best planned convention they have ever attended in their life.”
Were there demonstrations going on outside the arena?
“I saw a few unorganized demonstrators,” Reynolds said. “I have not seen any problems whatsoever.”
That’s the report Portsmouth Post Commander Lieutenant Doug DeBord is getting as well.
“So far it has worked pretty well, there has been a lot of positive things happen up there,” DeBord said. “Yesterday (Wednesday) they had to make some arrests, Cleveland PD and the State Patrol, and the other law enforcement up there. There was a little bit of a ruckus, but nothing major. They’re doing a good job.”
DeBord said he has six personnel in Cleveland
“I talked to (Sergeant) John (Howard) and he said things are pretty smooth right now,” DeBord said. “There hasn’t been any major problems like everyone has been braced for and things are going well.”
DeBord is holding his final judgment until the event is over.
“Donald Trump talks tonight (Thursday) and we’ll see,” DeBord said. “Today will be the test, I’m sure. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and pray and hope everything continues to run as smooth as it can.”
Reynolds commented on the facility – Quicken Loans Arena, home of the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
“This is my first time in ‘the Q.’ They had a very short time to transition from the basketball center into decorations for this,” Reynolds said. “It is a beautiful, beautiful facility.”
One of the people watching from back home is Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis who is heavily involved in the local Republican Party, so he hangs onto every word in hopes it furthers the cause of his party.
“I think it’s a unifying message if people listen,” Davis said. “I’ve been impressed with the speakers that are there.”
Davis said the convention is making a strong case for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States.
“I think they’re making a strong case as to why (Democratic nominee Hillary) Clinton shouldn’t be,” Davis said. “There has been a lot of things said about that – her email scandal to the different issues she has had over the years – Benghazi and dereliction of duty in regards to different things she’s been involved with as Secretary of State.”
Davis said one of the strongest statements made on Tuesday night was made by Donald Trump, Jr.
“He said that Hillary Clinton couldn’t pass the basic background check that so many of us have been required to pass in public office,” Davis said. “Teachers, police officers and everybody else – I thought that was a strong statement that brought it all to our level as to just how serious of an issue her infractions have been.”
Davis did not mince words when it came to discussing the man most conspicuous by his absence.
“I’ve been very disappointed that our Governor (John Kasich) isn’t there,” Davis said. “I think he could have at least showed up and opened the convention as governor, representative of the people of Ohio. But he chose not to do that for various reasons, but I am disappointed in him and his decision.”
Davis said, no matter how you feel about the nominee, the governor should put in an appearance for the sake of his party and for the people who worked to bring the convention to the buckeye state.
“On top of that, the economic impact it has had on Cleveland,” Davis said. “What a great economic impact it has had in a positive way for the people of Cleveland, so I just think it is disappointing.”
Davis said, all in all, he likes the positive message emulating from the convention.
“I like the hope, the fact that there is a message being sent out that we have brighter days coming. It’s not going to be easy. It’s gonna be a fight,” Davis said. “We’ve got a hole to dig ourselves out of, but I’m impressed with the whole convention so far.”
The Republican convention ended with Donald Trump accepting his party’s nomination Thursday. The Democratic convention convenes next week in Philadelphia and the Daily Times will again get first-hand coverage from people at the scene.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.