Faces of the Republican National Convention

CLEVELAND - An estimated 50,000 people traveled to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.

From Clevelanders to delegates, thousands of people are taking in the sights, sounds and events this week.

The Delegates 

Name: Mike Rose

Home: Sommerville, South Carolina

Travel time to Cleveland: 10-hour drive

Mike Rose, a delegate from South Carolina, visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He acknowledged all of the work the city has done to prepare for the convention. 

"Cleveland has done a lot of work to prepare for our group and has made us feel very much at home," Rose said. "In fact, it's southern hospitality."

This is his first convention. He said the country is at a turning point, and he wanted to be here to help influence the country's future. 

Name: Fredi Simpson

Home: Washington

Travel time to Cleveland: She drove more than two hours to the airport in Seattle and took a four-hour flight to Cleveland

Fredi Simpson, a delegate from Washington state, is attending her third convention in Cleveland. 

She has visited the city multiple times, but she says it gets better every time.

"Surprised, the first time, and then it was better every other time," Simpson said of Cleveland. "So now, I would automatically tell people, 'Go to Cleveland, it is absolutely spectacular.' "

She was inspired by Bob Bennett, the former Ohio Republican Party chairman, to come to this convention. Bennett died in Dec. 2014. 

Name: Erich Wolz

Home: Houston, Texas

Erich Wolz, a delegate from Texas, is visiting the city for the first time. This is also his first convention. 

"Everybody is super friendly and really going out of their way to make everyone feel welcome," Wolz said. 

Wolz says he had second thoughts about coming to the convention when he found out Donald Trump would be the nominee. He also wasn't happy with the outcome of some of the procedures at the convention Monday.

"But I decided at some point that I still really wanted to come here, because this is certainly going to be the most interesting convention in my lifetime, I think," Wolz said. "I just wanted to be a part of it."

Name: Rick Romero

Home: Cuba, New Mexico

Travel time to Cleveland: Five-hour flight 

Rick Romero, an alternate delegate, is visiting Cleveland for the first time. 

He didn't know what to expect from the city, but says he is loving the weather and the city's natural beauty.

"I'd love to get out and see the city," Romero said. "I've seen some of the architecture and things that we witnessed driving by, it's beautiful."

This is his first convention. He felt it was important to become a delegate to help unify the Republican Party and the nation

"We're in trouble, I think our party is in trouble," Romero said. It's time to bring some unity to it. I think on the national politics side, we need to get more people involved in order to bring unity and more diversity in the Party."

Romero is the son of two legal immigrants. He acknowledges the importance of letting immigrants come to the country legally, but he also supports Trumps plan to build a wall. 



Name: Trooper Randy Kind

Home: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Travel time to Cleveland: 12-hour drive

Trooper Randy Kind, of the Wisconsin State Patrol, volunteered to work security at the Republican National Convention. 

His patrol group is staying at Case Western Reserve University. 

This is Kind's first time in Cleveland, and he says he is pleasantly surprised. 

"When you come to a big city, everybody has their impressions," Kind said. "The first thing I noticed was the downtown area...very clean, very nice."

Kind is working 12-hour shifts, but is excited to have this unique opportunity. 

"I look at it as an opportunity to do something different, I'll probably never get this opportunity again," Kind said. 

He says safety is always in the back of his mind, but he feels like things have been very peaceful at the convention so far. 



Name: Kat Smith 

Home: Currently goes to school in Long Island

Travel time to Cleveland: Four-hour drive

Kat Smith, with the Planned Parenthood advocates of Ohio, is visiting Cleveland for the first time. 

She is a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and was excited to volunteer with the organization at the Republican National Convention. 

Her group is moving around the city this week to promote their message. On Tuesday, she was dressed as the organization's mascot speaking to people passing by near the Free Stamp.

Smith has a strong message for politicians trying to defund Planned Parenthood, saying any politician that poses a threat to health care is problematic.

The Locals

Name: Brandon Kuglin

Home: Berea, Ohio

Brandon Kuglin comes to lunch almost every day in downtown Cleveland. 

He came to East 4th Street with two of his coworkers on Tuesday to check out the convention. He noted that getting around the city took longer than usual due to the high security.

He says he is proud to be a Clevelander, and he hopes the convention will show the world what Cleveland has to offer. 

Name: Robert Wright

Home: Cleveland

Robert Wright works in downtown Cleveland. He was visiting East 4th Street during his lunch break Tuesday. 

He says the convention has made it a little more difficult to get to his parking garage every day, but he thinks the convention is great for the city. 

"I think it's a good thing for Cleveland," Wright said. "It showcases the city. It exposes people to our city that probably would never come."

He expected there to be more chaos in the city during the convention. 

Name: Jack Bracken

Home: He lives in Ashland, but he is from Cleveland

Travel time to Cleveland: One-hour drive

Jack Bracken grew up in Cleveland. He came to the city Tuesday to get a look at the convention. 

"We're Clevelanders, and it would be almost obscene to not appear and show up at an event like this," Bracken said. 

He is amazed by all the progress the city has made over the years, but says he has always been proud to be from Cleveland. 


Convention Worker

Name: Maya Logan

Home: South Carolina

Maya Logan, 16, is working with How Tomorrow Votes and the Washington Post during the convention. 

This is her first convention and first visit to Cleveland.

"I've never been here before, but my impression is that it's a wonderful city," Logan said. 

Although Logan wants to be a doctor when she grows up, she wanted to come to the convention to experience new opportunities. 


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment