First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, talking to The Darien Times from the reception welcoming delegates at the Tropicana in Tampa at the national Republican convention, said the experience has been “really exciting.”
The reception included over 15,000 from all over the country and is being held Sunday night in the indoor area that hosts the Tampa Bay Rays. While the official kick-off of the convention was expected to be Monday, weather has pushed all delegate activity off to Tuesday.
Stevenson arrived a few days before the convention’s opening to serve on the credentials committee, which she called a “privilege” and said was a highlight of her experience so far.
The committee consisted of two reps from every state, one man and one woman.
“We had to act somewhat like an appellate court. There were appeals from three different states as to how they selected their delegates,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said supporters of former presidential hopeful Ron Paul were behind the challenge to Oregon, Oklahoma and Maine delegate choices.
An Aug. 24 Hartford Courant story about Connecticut representatives at the GOP convention in the Hartford Courant quoted Stevenson on the issue of social issues in the Republican party, in particular abortion rights.
Some Connecticut delegates said abortion is one issue that divides them from the national party. The convention’s platform committee has approved a strict anti-abortion plank that outlaws abortion, and delegates will be expected to vote on the issue.
“Social issues have no role in political platforms,” said Stevenson, an abortion-rights supporter who is also on the convention’s credentials committee.
On Sunday night, Stevenson told The Darien Times that “obviously there’s a lot of national attention on the right to life issue, and people are very sensitive.”
“It is my personal belief that social issues shouldn’t be part of the party’s agenda. But I’m here with the rest of the United States and eager to hear their opinions on the matter. I believe many people in the state of Connecticut agree with me,” she said.
It is not the first time Stevenson has made her feelings clear on the place for social issues in the Republican party. In April 2011, while accepting the state GOP’s Women’s Leadership Award at the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner that featured Speaker of the House John Boehner, Stevenson expressed a similar philosophy.
From a story in the April 14, 2011 Darien Times:
Stevenson also said it was time to “put the party differences on social issues aside.”
“It is these very social issues that divide our party from within and create the tipping point for women to remain independent or affiliate with our more liberal friends,” she said.
Stevenson said she will be in Tampa until Friday. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to make his official acceptance speech to the convention on Thursday night. She’s joined by other Connecticut candidates, including Darien’s State Rep. Terrie Wood.
“We’re very proud to be here, representing not only the state of Connecticut, but the town of Darien.
Check back with darientimes.com for more updates from the convention throughout the week.