Newcomer at convention learns ropes

Posted: Sunday, August 06, 2000

PHILADELPHIA -- Kevin Simpson, 21, of Douglas, has not even voted yet in a national election.

But he received a first-hand look at the political process when he served as a page to the Republican National Convention.

Simpson, whose mother Paulette was a delegate, spent the week ferrying messages and credentials between delegations, mingling with politicians and sampling some of the lavish parties at Philadelphia hot spots.

He returns home this weekend with a new affinity for the political scene.

``I have watched the Democratic and Republican conventions on television since I was young,'' Simpson said during a break in the proceedings. ``But as Republican conventions go, this one has an air of excitement about it that is unparalleled. There is good, positive energy.''

Simpson, an upcoming senior at Gonzaga, intends to vote for Bush although he differs with many of the GOP platform principles.

``I am not the most outright conservative. I am more open-minded. I read the platform and I agree with several principles and disagree with some,'' he said.

Simpson said he is ``not sure where I stand on reproductive rights or the war on drugs.''

He was impressed by the Republican Party's efforts to convey tolerance and inclusiveness at the convention.

``That is what will win it for us,'' he said.

Simpson spent last year studying in Italy and traveling through Europe. He has a double major in broadcast studies and Italian, with a concentration in political science.

Hoping for a broadcast career, Simpson visited the media tents outside the convention center. A highlight was sitting in on a taping of a talk show with Oliver North. Simpson said he took North fishing when the conservative leader visited Juneau.

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