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GOP convention gives local leaders exposure, audience.

The inclusion of municipal and county officials on the dias at the Republican National Convention in Houston last week signalled a new and concerted effort, by Party leadership and the Adminsitration, to enhance local input into the national political process.

Starting with the appearance of Mayor Steve Bartlett of Dallas and Bob Lanier of Houston - who welcomed delegates to his city - the president or highest ranking Republican official in NLC, USCM and NACo were all invited to address the delegates. NLC Board member, Mayor Nao Takasugi spoke in place of NLC President Glenda Hood, who was unable to attend the GOP Convention because of illness.

USCM President, Mayor William Althaus of York, Pa. as well as Mayor Victor Ashe of Knoxville, Tenn.,president of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials Association, lauded the administration for providing assistance to municipalities in securing enactment of major transportation legislation and for their housing initiatives. Both excoriated the Democratic Congress for its insensitivity to municipalities on such issues as unfunded mandates and failure to move forward with enterprise zones initiatives.

P.J. Morgan, Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska and Mayor Louise Gardner of Jefferson City, Missouri also addressed delegates.

Former NLC leaders spoke before the convention, too. Former. Cleveland Mayor and NLC President, Ohio Governor George Voinovich and former San Diego Mayor, now Governor of California, Pete Wilson addressed delegates on Wednesday.

On day one of the convention, Republicans adopted their national party platform. Major domestic policies approved by the delegates in the platform include: a call for health care and education reform; further reform of the regulatory process, including property rights endangered by over-regulation; emphasis on programs that stimulate homeownership; job creation; and implementation of risk-benefit assessments to determine environmental action.

The most thrilling event for the delegates on opening day was the address of the part,/s most popular president, "the grand young man of the Grand Old Party," former President Ronald Reagan who reassured delegates that "America's best days are yet to come." Warmly endorsing the re-election of President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle, Reagan told the delegates the change needed was in the election of a new, and Republican, Congress.

Delegates also wildly cheered Pat Buchanan's contradiction of Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Al Gore's assertion that the central organizing principle of an governments must be the environment. "Wrong, Albert," Buchanan exclaimed, "the central organizing principle of this republic is freedom!"

Highlighting Tuesday's agenda for the delegates, were both HUD Secretary Jack Kemp and U.S. Senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), followed on Wednesday by First Lady Barbara Bush and Marilyn Quayle.
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Author:Kocheisen, Carol
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 24, 1992
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