Despite the driving rain and wind outside, thousands of delegates and guests from across the United States gathered on Sunday night, Aug. 26, inside St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field to celebrate the beginning of this week's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
As a Red Sox fan, it was strange to be inside the home of the Amercian League East rival Tampa Bay Rays, but that soon faded as members of the RI delegation congregated and shared stories of their travels to Florida's West Coast.
The security outside of Tropicana Field was substantial. A barbed-wire perimeter and troops mounted on horseback were parts of the security detail last night.
Inside "the Trop," I saw Barrington Town Council candidate Donald Nessing, and Barrington School Committee candidate Martha Wallick, both guests at the convention.
I also spotted North Kingstown State Representative Doreen Costa, head of the RI Chairman's Caucus; Warren resident Mark Smiley, and Portsmouth State Representative Dan Reilly.
After a few hours of celebrating and listening to country music artist Rodney Atkins, we got on our buses and returned to the hotel in Clearwater Beach. It was a great kickoff event!
Monday's events were postponed to Tuesday evening because of the threat of Hurricane Isaac, so stay tuned for my next post on Wednesday morning. You can watch the convention on TV from 7:30-11 pm Tuesday through Thursday nights.
Hope all is well in Rhode Island,
Peter Costa, Jr., www.electpetercostajr.com.