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Caraway honored to be part of 2016 RNC

Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway, the youngest County Commissioner in the state of Ohio,  spent last week as part of the Ohio delegation at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway, the youngest County Commissioner in the state of Ohio, spent last week as part of the Ohio delegation at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Experience will be one to remember for Commissioner –

By Patricia Beech –

Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway spent a hectic four days last week in  Cleveland as an Ohio  delegate to the Republican National Convention.  He was on the convention floor Monday for Melania Trump’s opening  speech,     Tuesday he witnessed history in the making as Donald  Trump officially clinched the nomination for President of the United  States, Wednesday he watched as Ted Cruz was booed from the stage, and  Thursday he listened as Trump laid out his vision for America’s future.
“I was sitting in the hall, confetti and balloons dropping from above,  and I thought what an honor it is to be part of this,” said Caraway.  “Here’s this guy from Blue Creek. I would never have thought that I’d  have the opportunity to join Ohio’s delegation to the national  convention.”
Caraway’s interest in politics most likely paved his way to the  convention floor, but it was his love of history that made the event  even more meaningful.
“I’ve served my community through elected service, and I’ve always  loved politics and public service,” he says. “Obviously in the past  I’ve been at home watching on television as the Republican nominee  accepted the nomination, but  this time I was fortunate  enough to be in the arena, to hear the speeches in person, and to  reach out and touch the confetti and balloons as they fell.”
Ever the diplomat, he adds, “I would like to point out, that I  watch both the Republican and Democratic conventions every four years.  I think it is very important to the political process. Make no  mistake, I am a conservative, but I find both to be educational and  historic.”
The heavy media presence at the 2016 convention dwarfed the number  of delegates by more than ten to one. “Cameras and print journalists  were everywhere,” said Caraway, who was himself interviewed on live  television by a reporter from a Virginia/DC metro station.
While live media coverage reported ongoing problems with the  convention, claiming the event was disorganized and lacked real  leadership, Caraway takes the opposite view. “The program went very  smoothly,” he says. “Many people thought there would be trouble with  the rules committee because it was sensationalized by the media, but  it was a very smooth convention. Our team leaders did an incredible  job.”
It’s been 80 years since the RNC was last held in Cleveland, and  according to Caraway, Ohio delegates are hopeful that the convention  will provide a future economic boost to Ohio. “There were tens of  thousands of people there and they’re going to come back for  conferences, vacations, and business trips, because they  discovered that Cleveland is a great place,” he said. “Another  thing people kept saying was, “Wow, Ohioans are really nice people.”
In addition to seeing sights such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  and “The Christmas Story” house, Caraway attended a Lynryd Skynyrd  concert benefitting Ohio’s veterans. He also had the opportunity to do  some hobnobbing with many of Ohio’s political elite and  powers-that-be.
“I wanted to talk to nearly all of the statewide  office holders, members of the Congressional delegation, and members  of the General Assembly about issues that have an effect on Southern  Ohio – specifically, Adams County.”  He spoke with Attorney General Mike  DeWine, Governor John Kasich, Secretary Jon Husted, Treasurer Josh Mandel,  Auditor Dave Yost, and Senator Rob Portman. Additionally, he had the  opportunity to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan and many other  national political figures during the delegation breakfasts each day.
Early on in the convention, the media reported friction had  arisen between Kasich and the Republican nominee when Trump’s top  adviser, Paul Manafort, accused the governor of being “petulant” and  “embarrassing his party in Ohio”.

During his time at the RNC, Commissioner Caraway found himself being interviewed by a television station from the VA/DC metro area.
During his time at the RNC, Commissioner Caraway found himself being interviewed by a television station from the VA/DC metro area.

Caraway says unequivocally that the Ohio delegation supports Donald  Trump. “We cast our votes for Governor Kasich because we were bound to  – he won the state. Most of us supported the governor in the primary,  but the opinion of the majority of the delegates was Donald Trump won  and we supported him.”
“It’s politics,” he says. “I always say primaries  are like family fights, and after the fight, the family all come  together again. A lot of the Democrats don’t like Hilary, they liked  Bernie, but those folks are going to follow Hilary, that’s just how it  works. It’s a unique dynamic.”
Concerning the Ted Cruz debacle on Wednesday night, Caraway says, “You  couldn’t hear a word Ted Cruz was saying. I’m sure you could hear it  through the news feed, but in the hall the booing was deafening, then  Trump walked in, and you could tell something was happening because  folks started to turn. It was an extremely awkward moment.”
Whether or not Cruz shut the proverbial political door on his own  foot, most Republicans agree he should not have allowed animosity to  rule his judgement.
“I believe the situation is comparable to the 1976 convention when  Gerald Ford defeated Ronald Reagan,” said Caraway. “There was strong  animosity between the two of them, but Reagan came to the floor and  delivered a speech that left his opportunities open for the future,  and he supported the nominee. It was a defining moment for the  Republican party.”
Caraway points to another defining moment in convention history, “In  2004 at John Kerry’s convention, a young Senator named Barack Obama  came on the radar screen. No one knew who the man was, yet four years  later he’s elected President. So these conventions have the ability to  elevate political leaders from both parties, and also dampen their  chances.”
Late Thursday night Caraway capped off his whirlwind week by  affixing his signature to the Ohio sign from the convention floor.
“I  wrote my name on it with a black sharpie marker,” he said. “The sign  will be given to the Ohio Historical Connection where it will have a  permanent home.”

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