Trio of Mercer Island delegates heading to Republican National Convention

For the three Islanders selected to attend the Republican National Convention later this summer, it is all about finishing what they started with the district caucus last February.

This September, Mercer Island Councilmember Mike Cero, King County Republican Chair Lori Sotelo and resident Ann Adams will be attending the convention in Minneapolis, Minn., as delegates for the 8th Congressional district. All three delegates said they are pleased to have the opportunity to experience the nomination process from start to finish. All three attended the Republican district caucuses at Islander Middle School last February.

Islander Ann Adams, who campaigned for Cero during his bid for the Council last fall, said she enjoys showing her support for her party and presidential candidate on the convention floor. Adams attended the 2004 Republican Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“I feel fortunate to get elected,” she said. “At the last convention I saw lots of dignitaries on the floor. You get to go shake hands with everyone. I shook hands with George Bush Sr. and Bob Dole. That kind of stuff was fun, all the mingling around.”

A total of 37 Washington Republican delegates were elected through the primary election and the caucuses. The Republican State Convention, which was held on May 30 and 31 in Spokane, elected 18 of those delegates. Adams was elected as a delegate then, on her birthday, and was also selected to be a part of the Republican Platform Committee. She will head for Minneapolis a week before the convention as a team develops the national party platform. She is also thrilled to continue with the nomination process.

“I’m excited to support McCain. I think he is the right man for the right time,” said Adams. “He’s got character and he has experience. I mean that he has strong moral character. He is bipartisan, he crosses over the aisle and I think it is real important that he is able to do that.”

Along with the other two Mercer Island Republican delegates, Island resident and King County Republican Party chair Lori Sotelo attended the caucus in February and is looking forward to the national convention in September. Sotelo said she enjoys being involved in local and national politics, from local races involving the 41st District to presidential elections.

“I am involved in the grassroots of the Republican party, so I get to see all sides of political process. I am very excited to be able to cast my vote and to celebrate with other Republicans,” Sotelo said of being chosen as a delegate. “It’s a historical process, and I am excited to be a part of it. It’s the way we choose our representative.”

Sotelo was busy last week preparing for the GOP’s Flag Day dinner, held on Monday night in Bellevue with special guests such as Republican candidate for governor Dino Rossi, state Attorney General Rob McKenna and Idaho governor C. L. “Butch” Otter. Sotelo said this election comes at an important time in American politics, and she supports McCain because he shares her political views.

“Republicans have very different ideas on the War on Terror, Constitutional interpretations of judges and positions on social issues than the Democrats,” she said. “It is important to vote for someone who represents my views. This is a very important time when we can be voting for McCain, and my position on the War on Terror and fiscal issues will be represented.”

Councilmember Mike Cero said the entire experience is new to him. He had never gone to a caucus before, and this will be his first national convention.

“I’m looking forward to more fully understanding the nomination process and how the convention works,” said Cero. “This entire process has been interesting and a discovery for me — starting with the caucus at the middle school, progressing to the state convention and now going to the national convention.”

A veteran of both U.S. conflicts in Iraq, Cero said he is excited to be associated with Arizona Senator John McCain’s nomination. He also said he likes McCain’s stance on the environment by letting market forces maintain America’s standard of living while preserving the environment. Cero said McCain would make a great commander in chief, given his experience and character.

“I like John McCain. He has a real strong foreign policy and a good understanding of foreign policies, which I think are the president’s primary responsibilities. And to have an honorable man with his character, as president of the United States, McCain is someone you can talk to your kids about what he has gone through in his life to get there.”