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Lone Hoosier to speak at convention

Congress hopeful gets 2 minutes

Congressional candidate Jackie Walorski apparently is the only Hoosier with a speaking part at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Walorski will address delegates for two minutes at 3:40 p.m. today, according to an updated convention schedule.

The former state lawmaker from Jimtown in Elkhart County is the Republican candidate in Indiana’s 2nd District. Walorski is running for the open seat against Democrat Brendan Mullen of Granger.

Two members of the convention delegation from northeast Indiana said Monday the gathering’s attention is divided between Tampa and Tropical Storm Isaac, which was pushing through the Gulf of Mexico on a course to strike the New Orleans area.

State Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle, one of three delegates from Indiana’s 3rd District, said the convention must tone down its celebration of Mitt Romney’s presidential nomination if Isaac turns destructive or deadly.

“We do need to be careful not to be overzealous when we know people are suffering from the storm,” Holdman said in a telephone interview.

Alternate delegate Kyle Babcock of Fort Wayne said: “Our thoughts and our prayers are certainly with anybody in the path of Isaac. We’re here having a good time, but people are thinking about the effects of the hurricane.”

The storm postponed much of Monday’s planned convention activity.

Babcock, finance director for the conservative USA Super PAC, said delegates were spending the day shopping, touring The Florida Aquarium and attending showings of a political documentary critical of President Obama, “2016: Obama’s America.”

“There is a lot of camaraderie and networking going on,” Holdman said.

Holdman said the commercial jet he rode from Atlanta to Tampa carried many Romney family members who had flown from Salt Lake City. Holdman talked with Josh Romney, the middle of Mitt Romney’s five sons, and others in his family aboard the plane and at the Tampa airport.

“They seem to be good, wholesome kids. … They are incredibly humble,” Holdman said.

Asked what he hopes the convention will accomplish, Holdman said, “The American people just need an opportunity to know who Mitt Romney is.”

Other convention delegates from northeast Indiana are former Allen County Councilwoman Paula Hughes and Wells County Republican Chairman Ralph Garcia.

At-large delegates include Toby Buck, CEO of Paragon Medical Inc. in Pierceton.

Five alternates from the area are at the convention, as is Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd.

The Indiana Republican Party is posting convention photos, video and diaries at