Crowds. Traffic. Long days. Late nights. Heavy security concerns. Three Boone County Republicans can’t wait.
Denna Huett, Brad Barondeau, and Sherri Shumard are preparing to travel to the party’s national convention in New York. Missouri will be represented by 57 delegates and 54 alternates at the event from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.
“I’m psyched,” Huett said about what will be the first trip to New York for her and her 14-year-old daughter. Huett, of Columbia, has been U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof’s fund-raiser for 10 years.
She has been active in Republican organizations since helping to found a chapter of the Young Republicans, but this will be her first convention. After being initially chosen as a delegate at the county level, she was elected as one of the 9th Congressional District’s three delegates.
“I was in insurance before, and this is just so much more fun and rewarding,” Huett said, describing her full-time work with the party. Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle and Mary Bono are among the party leaders she has met. She recently picked up Steve Largent at the airport for a local fund-raiser. She named Arnold Schwarzenegger as the one she would most like to run into at the convention.
As an alternate, Shumard, also of Columbia, will participate in all of the delegation’s activities. The business and technology consultant became involved in politics as a Bush 2000 volunteer.
“I didn’t like the direction things in this country were going in,” she said. “My husband told me to stop complaining and go do something.”
Since then, Shumard has become president of the Boone County Republican Women’s Club, and she is an active volunteer in local races, particularly for state representative. After the convention, she plans to continue volunteering for President Bush’s campaign.
“The most exciting thing will be being there on Thursday night when President Bush accepts the nomination,” which she sees as a history-making moment.
For Shumard, politics is about people, and she looks forward to meeting those from other parts of the country who are like-minded.
“This business is important for the party and for the country as a whole,” said the first-time delegate, who will be joined on the trip by her husband.
Barondeau, of Ashland, is the convention veteran of the trio. The regional sales manager for a Fortune 500 company attended the 2000 convention in Philadelphia as part of the Missouri Republican Party’s staff. He was recently re-elected as chairman of the Boone County Republican Central Committee. He said he looks forward to catching up with old friends he has made through his involvement with the party.
Despite all the attention convention security has been receiving, none of the three expressed worry.
“9/11 is always in the back of your mind, but I’m not letting it bother me,” Barondeau said.
Shumard has been at several functions with high-profile party figures such as Vice President Dick Cheney and has found safety measures reassuring.
The delegates will stay at the Westin Times Square Hotel. In addition to functions at restaurants such as the ESPN Zone, planned activities include a Broadway show and a trip to the Statue of Liberty. The delegates plan to do additional sightseeing with their families.
Although the official seating plan has not been released, the delegation expects to be on the convention floor. As with its delegation to last month’s Democratic convention in Boston, Missouri’s status as a swing state is expected to also mean a spot close to the action.
Barondeau and Huett were elected earlier this year by a Republican caucus for the 9th Congressional District. The district contributes three of the state’s 27 district delegates. A congressional district’s number of delegates is based on the proportion of the district voting for Bush in the 2000 election. Shumard was chosen as an at-large alternate when the at-large delegates were selected at the Missouri Republican Convention in June in Springfield.