For some, it may be their first time. Others can hardly even remember how many times they’ve gone.
Either way, this week’s Texas Republican state convention in Houston — which kicks off Thursday — is expected to invigorate party members, bring new members into the party and ensure the 140 chosen to attend as delegates to the national GOP convention in September are ready to go.
Some local residents attending the state convention:
Dr. Robert PaulPaul, a Benbrook doctor, has voted in the Republican primaries but never attended a state convention.
This year is different for Paul, son of GOP presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, whose campaigns he has helped with for the past 30 years.
“I see the level of my dad’s commitment, and I know that I need to do more,” he said.
So in between his work and helping his dad’s campaign, Robert Paul became a delegate to the convention.
There, he may talk about some of his father’s — and his own — beliefs, including that the value of the U.S. dollar has been ruined and more government will lead to more poverty.
Beryl DowdAfter Dowd graduated from college, she was active in Republican politics in Northern Virginia. But she quickly found out, as an airline employee, that she didn’t have much time to participate.
After she retired in 2002, the now 69-year-old North Richland Hills woman had time to work with the party again. This will be her second convention.
“It energizes us, gets us back to our roots,” she said. “We get to interact with people we haven’t seen in awhile, or meet new people who have the same thoughts and emotions we do with our politics.
“I feel very strongly about the future of the country, and I believe Republicans have the better plan.”
Tom WilderWilder, the Tarrant County district clerk, admits that he’s no political novice. He has been to every GOP state convention since 1980.
“It gets my juices flowing for the general election,” he said. “There are a lot of friends I’ll see that came in during the Reagan revolution.
“I’m sure we’ll have some discussions about the direction the party is headed. Many of us are appalled about fiscal irresponsibility that has crept into Congress. We need to go back to our basic conservative principles and speak out loudly so people hear us.”
Wilder, 64, still recalls the 1980 national convention and listening to Ronald Reagan’s acceptance speech.
“It’s one of the highlights of my personal life,” he said. “That was a watershed event in politics and the history of the country.”
Mona BaileyThis week’s convention will be the fifth since 2000 for Bailey, 69, of North Richland Hills.
At the conventions, she said she gets to see people she doesn’t get to see any other time.
“I’m excited about re-energizing the party,” she said. “I think we have a good chance if we get out our Republican base and our Reagan Republicans. I think John McCain is the right person to tie us together.
“I look forward to being with like-minded people.”
As the state Republican executive committee woman from senatorial district 12, Bailey will run both for re-election and to be a delegate to the national convention.
Jeremy BlosserThe 32-year-old senior systems engineer from Arlington has never attended a Republican convention before.
But he became a delegate this year to support Ron Paul, a former Libertarian presidential candidate who is running this year as a Republican.
“I have followed Ron Paul for 10 to 12 years now,” Blosser said. “I definitely wanted to support his run for president.”
But there’s much work to be done in the party. He said there’s an elephant, so to speak, in the room that no one is talking about.
“The other side of the aisle is pulling some major voters right now,” he said, referring to Democrats. “I don’t see our party talking about it and figuring out what to do.”