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Debora Nearman of Independence stands on the floor of the Republican National Convention last week at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
September 04, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- Ann Romney's speech was considered one of the highlights of last week's Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Fla.
Few people in the country were able to experience it quite like Independence resident DeboraNearman.
Nearman had the opportunity to see convention events unfold live, as she was chosen to attend the convention as an alternate delegate representing Oregon's 5th Congressional District.
Nearman took in the speeches from what she considered to be one of the best seats in the house at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
Nearman said during most of the convention, the auditorium was bustling with activity. But when Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, spoke on Aug. 28, the entire audience paid attention for the first time.
"Ann Romney's speech was so inspiring," Nearman said. "She brought me to tears. When she started to speak, the auditorium was silent. We listened to every word."
She said the speeches given by Ann Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were the high points of the convention for her.
"Those two were such a surprise," she said. "I was very touched by both of them."
Nearman said the convention also offered a window into the kind of man Mitt Romney is, through what others said of him and from his own speech, which concluded the convention Thursday.
In the earlier stages of the campaign, Nearman was a supporter of Michele Bachman, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum. But as it became clear Romney was the front-runner, Nearman started looking into him. By the time she applied to be an alternate delegate, she was in full support of Romney.
The convention just strengthened her commitment.
She said his retelling of how his father would bring a rose to his mother's nightstand each day, the joy of waking up to see all his children in the bed with he and his wife, and how he supported his mother in her campaign to be elected a senator, resonated with Nearman.
"I just completely teared up," she said, adding he has many other traits that qualify him to serve as president. "I really appreciate that he is an excellent manager and businessman. The more I see of him, the more I like him. It's so exciting to have a person so hardworking and so competent running for president."
Nearman said she was amazed by the energy and atmosphere during the convention. She said in her section was a number of college students, some participating in an election for the first time, who were particularly excited about being in Tampa.
Nearman was no less thrilled with the opportunity to be there with them.
She found out she would be attending this summer, a few weeks after the state Republican convention in June. Nearman wanted to learn more about the political process and thought attending the convention would provide the best education opportunity.
"This was not something you could learn about by reading a book," she said.
She applied as an alternate and campaigned during the state convention. A few weeks later she learned she would be going to Tampa.
"I was so excited and was very surprised," Nearman said. "I think they had way more people apply this year than in the past."
She said despite the threat of Hurricane Isaac and some extremely long and exhausting days, the trip was more than worth it.
Nearman hopes the Republican Party can use the momentum built at the convention throughout the rest of the campaign.
"I think we need to unify the people that we have in support of Mitt Romney," she said.