Luverne man attends Republican National Convention
LUVERNE -- Steven and Marianne Perkins of Luverne braved Hurricane Isaac and attended the 2012 Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, Fla.
Steven was one of 40 Minnesota delegates, and Marianne was one of 37 Minnesota alternates to be invited to the event.
Perkins was elected in April at the Republican Party of Minnesota's First Congressional District Convention. He estimated about 15 or 16 Republicans ran for the three available spots in his district.
Bill Weber, the Republican co-chair of Perkins' district, said he knows Perkins on a personal level. He described him as "very forthright, and a great deal of service to the party."
Perkins said the highlight of the week was seeing Mitt Romney give his Republican presidential nomination acceptance speech.
"It hit a home run," he said, adding Romney left people motivated at a time when "America is at a true crossroads."
Perkins thinks the Obama administration is not moving things forward.
"The country is under an entirely different economic structure than what America is used to," Perkins said. "It's a government-run economy, much like Europe."
While many demonstrators were present, he said the Republican and Democratic national conventions "are the two most secure events in the country."
Most of the hotel rooms in the city were blocked out, Perkins said, noting that room prices went up for the event.
"There was a lot of activity and all sorts of events," he said.
One of the events Perkins attended involved discussions on energy policy, which he said focused on forward-thinking energy initiatives.
It wasn't all work and no play at the convention, though. There was plenty of time for socializing, including receptions and mingling with Republicans from other states, he added.
This makes Perkins' fourth national convention appearance. In 1972, he was a first-time delegate at the ripe age of 21. He served as an alternate in 1988, and volunteered at the 2008 convention in St. Paul.
This year's convention was different than others because of the threat posed by Hurricane Isaac.
"It was an interesting dimension, (but) fortunately went west," Perkins said of the hurricane. Although official activities were cancelled on Monday, various group activities continued, he said.
Aside from seeing Romney and his wife, Ann, firsthand, Perkins also witnessed speeches from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
"You get tears in your eyes (thinking of the) greatness of America," Perkins said. "(In spite of) really troubling times, there was a message of hope and of creating jobs and improving economic activity."
Weber agreed that it was a great convention and that "Romney was presented in a meaningful way."
Looking ahead, if Romney wins the Minnesota general election, Perkins will get one of the state's 10 Electoral College votes. Perkins said he was nominated at his district's GOP convention.
Although rare, Perkins said, "Electors (in Minnesota) don't have to vote for their party' candidate, and a few times some have bolted and voted for someone else."
There are a total of 538 electors in the country. It takes a majority of 270 votes to win the presidency.
Perkins said he shook Romney's hand at the convention and told him, "I'm going to vote for you on Nov. 6, and as an elector."
Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.