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Smiths enjoy GOP Convention
September 14, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo by Neal Smith Joann Smith (right) met with Nebraska U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer during the Republic National Convention in Tampa.

Gering resident Neal Smith was in Tampa, Fla. recently as a Nebraska delegate at the 2012 Republic National Convention.

“It’s always good to get together with people from across the state to see what their concerns are,” Smith said. “I especially liked the speakers. It shows us what a diverse group of leaders we have.”

After listening to numerous speakers during the three-day convention, Smith said he was especially impressed with New Mexico Gov. Suzanne Martinez. Her father, who started out as a security guard in a mall, built that experience into a security company of his own.

“Suzanne was a former Democrat,” Smith said. “When she got together with some conservative Republicans to discuss issues, she discovered she had more in common with Republicans when it came to the direction of our country.”

Smith said the Martinez story might inspire others to ask the honest question of what they really believe as to political affiliation.
Smith also said he’s concerned about government overreach. “The pursuit of happiness” included in the Constitution includes the right to property, of owning things.

“This is the first time that I can recall where the government has taken ownership away from people and gave it to themselves and their supporters,” he said. “General Motors is a great example. Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in the marketplace. A great deal of the bailout money was just political payoff. This crony capitalism has to stop.”

Smith said he’s also concerned about the often short-sighted blame game that goes on regarding national problems.

“Everyone seems to blame George Bush for the housing crisis, but the problem goes back a lot further than that,” he said. “It was during the Clinton administration when Congress forced the banks to make home loans to people who could never repay them. We’re seeing it happen all over again, only this time it’s with student loans.”

The 2012 GOP convention was the first time Smith has been a delegate, although he’s been an alternate in the past. His son, Adrian, is the current U.S. Congressman from Nebraska’s Third District.
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