AFTON — A Saint Croix Valley man is preparing attend the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, Fla., in an effort to return the GOP to its roots.
Craig Westover ran as a “Liberty Republican” at the state Republican convention and secured a nomination along with 80 others, 40 delegates and 40 alternates, to participate in the next phase of election 2012. Of the 40 delegates going to the RNC from Minnesota 32 are Liberty Republicans.
“The most important movement in American politics today is occurring within the Republican Party,” said Westover. “Ron Paul and Liberty Republicans are driving the Republican Party back to its small ‘r’ republican roots of constitutional, limited government and individual liberty. I ran for national delegate to be a part of that.”
Westover believes attending the RNC will be a great experience. He also thinks that it will be more than the rubber stamp that seems to occur each time national conventions take place.
“I’ve been involved in the (Republican) party for five or six years and in the past I haven’t had a lot of interest in the convention, I watch it on TV like everyone else and it seems more like a coronation since almost everything is all decided,” Westover said. “But it seems like this year is going to be different and that there will be some other things surrounding the party.”
With such a large representation of Liberty Republicans going to the convention Westover, who plans to support Dr. Ron Paul, believes other delegates who are Liberty Republicans will have a significant presence at the RNC this year.
“There’s not enough to discourage the nomination of Romney but I think there will be a movement to put Ron Paul in as a nominee to at least let him speak at the convention,” Westover said.
Westover said Ron Paul’s people would introduce numerous platform issues that haven’t been touched on in the race so far. Westover thinks that the main ones will be about auditing the Federal Reserve, foreign policy and war issues, such as whether the government has to formally declare war when they go overseas will be some of the items discussed.
“I firmly believe we are drifting away from the basic constitutional principals of our country. I think the federal government is involved in way more than they need to be. For the U.S. it’s not a question about spending. Spending I feel is a direct result of being involved in more things than the government needs to be,” Westover said.
Westover’s main concern, though, is that the country is moving away from individual liberty.
“It’s not a lot of big things but little things adding up over time. If you think about it one day and realize how many things you do each day that require government permission or approval it’s a lot and I’m starting to think that is sapping the resilience and spiritual energy out of the country and I’m concerned about that,” Westover said.
Though Westover knows that some delegates will be going for the party, the former St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist is looking at the RNC as an educational opportunity.
“It’s like when you go to a sausage factory and find out how they make the sausage,” Westover said. “We’ll see if I still want to eat the sausage after I get back, but I think it will teach me a lot.”