Republican National Convention Update

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>> Republicans Gather to Promote Asian-American Voting, Raise Funds for Hurricane Gustav Response

>> Republican National Convention: Day 1 – Monday Sept 1

Republican National Convention: Day 1 – Monday Sept 1

by Shandon Phan’s Convention Dispatch Maryland’s 7th Congressional District – Delegate, Whip

We arrived in Minneapolis airport late on Sunday evening and headed straight to the Convention Party.  While waiting in line to take our group picture with the entire Maryland delegation, a friend who works on the campaign stopped by and shared with us some good news.  The most recent Zogby poll, released less than an hour earlier, put McCain two points ahead of Obama nationally.  Everyone was screaming in disbelief and excitement.  What an amazing start for our convention!

But… things never go as planned.  With Hurricane Gustav pushing its way through the Gulf Coast states, Sen. McCain decided to put all planned convention activities on hold and focus our efforts and resources to assist our fellow Americans who are in harm’s way.  President Bush, California Governor Schwarzenegger, Texas Governor Perry who were scheduled to speak today, couldn’t come.

On Monday morning, I joined other APA community, political, and business leaders at a joint event organized by APIA Vote and McCain’s National APA Coalitions.  In addition to many friends whom I was surprised and glad to see there, I met many interesting, accomplished and inspiring leaders and will upload photos on our web site at

During the week ahead, the RNC contacted me to serve as a speaker to reach out to community media and they continuously sent reporters my way.  So I spent the rest of the day holding interviews with Saigon Broadcasting & Television Network, Asian American Press, and Taiwan Central News Agency.

In the evening, we ended up having no speakers at all on our first day.  A few delegates were frustrated and unhappy at first, stating that “it’s a normal hurricane.  There is nothing we can do about it. So why postpone our convention, lose our momentum and diminish our morale while the other side is actively campaigning?”  I thought it was a real act of leadership from Sen. McCain who puts the wellbeing of his fellow Americans, his country before his own nomination celebration.  Even if he could not really help the people on the ground, he set the tone for our action, sent the right message of compassion and national unity, inspired as an example and provided spiritual & statistical support to the leaders of those states in leading their people through this natural disaster.  And so, while thousands of anti-war protesters gathered outside looking for ways to cause disruption to our convention, including harassing delegates and causing violence, inside the Xcel Convention Center, our spirit was uplifting and united.

So, without all the glamorous celebrations, we officially started our convention and spent the evening getting the official business of the convention finished.  The highlight of the night was when the First Lady Laura Bush and Future First Lady Cindy McCain came and called for our help and support in assisting the Gulf Coast states facing down Gustav.  So everyone answered the call for help, pulled out their cell phones and made $5 donations via text messages.

Not your typical political convention activity!  And I am both proud and humbled to be a part of this.

Republicans Gather to Promote Asian-American Voting, Raise Funds for Hurricane Gustav Response

by Peter Su, September 2, 2008

Minneapolis, MN) The Republican National Committee and the non-partisan Asian Pacific Islander American Vote sponsored an opening reception for Asian Pacific Americans at the Republican National Convention last night.

The event aimed to raise awareness among APAs about voting in the presidential election this fall.  Also, in the spirit of somber support for those affected by Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf Coast, those gathered participated in raising emergency relief funds.

“Our thoughts are with the people of the Gulf Coast, and we are relieved that the impact has been contained,” said Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), who spoke at the gathering.  “Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R), a fellow APA, led an exceptional response to an extraordinary natural disaster.”

McCain Campaign Co-Chair and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.gave the keynote remarks, and spoke fluently in Mandarin and Taiwanese, surprising and delighting many observers.  Huntsman has a long history with the Asian community, serving as Ambassador to Singapore and as Deputy United States Trade Representative.  He and his wifeare also the parents of two adopted Asian-American daughters, one from India and another from China.

Other dignitaries who spoke includedformer Ambassador SichanSiv, former California State Treasurer Matt Fong, Southern California Assemblyman Van Tran, and former President Richard Nixon’s son-in-law Ed Cox.

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