Local hero makes good | VailDaily.com

Local hero makes good

Melissa M. Kellogg
Vail Trail File PhotoNancy Reid and Ali Hasan at the Repbulican Women's State Dinner.

If someone had told me this time last year that I would be giving a political campaign speech to more than 3,000 people at the Broomfield Event Center, I’d say they were smoking something. Used to being one who writes about the achievements of others, I surprised myself by throwing my hat in the ring to become a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota in September.

It all started Friday, when a delegation of Eagle County Republicans led by President Randy Milhoan of Minturn convened at the Westin in Westminster for the 2008 Colorado Republican Convention. I was one of 27 such delegates and 13 alternates sent by the Eagle County Republicans to represent our county. The purpose of the convention was to nominate all the Republican candidates for this year’s state, congressional and senatorial elections.

In Friday’s meetings, the delegates nominated Scott Starin as our Congressional candidate as well Avon resident Ali Hasan for House District 56 and Summit County’s Mark Hurlbert as District Attorney for Judicial District 5. Following the day’s business was the Republican Women’s State Dinner at which Eagle County had a table hosted by Chapter President Donna Spinelli of Eagle.

On Saturday, delegates numbering more than 3,000, from every Colorado county, converged on the Broomfield Event Center to nominate the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, being vacated by Senator Wayne Allard, as well as elect the Colorado delegation to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in September. I, along with Jennifer Biehn of Edwards and Thomas Kirk of Vail, were nominees for the delegation of 22 delegates and 22 alternates that would be chosen from more than 380 candidates for a no-expenses paid trip to nominate the Republican’s choice for President of the United States.

Before the election of delegates to National, the agenda included the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the national anthem, as well as various speeches by Colorado State Republican leaders and candidates. There was a moving tribute to and speech by long-time veterinarian-turned-Colorado Senator Wayne Allard, and the conventioneers nominated former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer as the Republican choice for Allard’s Senate seat.

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Then it came time for Ms. Biehn, Mr. Kirk and me to speak to the assembly. Because of the large number of nominees, we each only had 15 seconds. It was a challenge, even for this writer, to come up with just a few powerful words that would give the electorate an idea of who I am and why I should be chosen to go to Minnesota. I became painfully ” yet proudly ” aware of my inadequacy when I heard fellow Eagle County delegate Thomas Kirk speak to the crowd, which fell largely silent after his first sentence, something like: ‘I’m Thomas Kirk and I was in a prison cell in Vietnam with John McCain.’ Just those few words spoke a lifetime of courage, service and a distinction no one could match. Kirk is a retired Air Force Colonel and an ardent McCain supporter. He’s been traveling the nation and campaigning for McCain, whose virtues he says were demonstrated in that prison cell so many years ago.

When all the ballots were cast and votes were counted, neither I nor Biehn was chosen to go to Minneapolis in September. Now back behind the desk in Edwards, my universe is just as it should be as I report that local hero Thomas Kirk will be ably representing our county and our state at the Republican National Convention, and I have the humble honor of covering his election victory.

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