Ralph Alvarado was watching election coverage in January when he started thinking about the possibility of attending the Republican National Convention. As a former candidate for state Senate and an active member of the local Republican party, Alvarado thought he might have a chance at being selected as a delegate, so he contacted the state party chairman and received more information about the selection process.
“I was hesitant (to apply) at first,” Alvarado said, because of the time involved in the application process, and attending the convention.
Party officials urged him to complete his application, and he was selected as one of three delegates from the Sixth Congressional District of Kentucky. Alvarado also was selected by the Romney campaign as a media spokesperson.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming here. ... I¿always envisioned it like the Super Bowl of politics. You’ve encountered so many political celebrities,” Alvarado said.
He and other delegates arrived in Florida last week and Alvarado said much of his time has been spent doing interviews with media outlets, speaking about everything from health care reform to immigration and Hispanic issues.
“I’ve been a busy guy. It’s been amazing,”¿Alvarado said.
Because Alvarado is a practicing physician, he has strong views on health care reform, and frequently speaks out against “ObamaCare.”
“Even just impromptu discussions, not necessarily on the record, people are wanting to know what’s happening in the medical community,” Alvarado said.
He fears increasing costs of running a medical practice and additional documentation required by the new health care plan will force many doctors to leave medicine altogether.
“I think they’re slowly demoralizing physicians. We’re going to have a much different health care system
in 10 years than we have now if ObamaCare survives,” Alvarado said.
Because of his firsthand medical experience, the convention has been an opportunity for him to speak about the Republican position on health care.
“Latinos are getting a stronger voice within the party. ... It’s just great to see all the speakers at the convention that are of Hispanic descent,” Alvarado said.
One of the convention highlights, Alvarado said, was seeing Sixth District Congressional candidate Andy Barr speak.
Overall, Alvarado said, Republicans are excited about their chances in November, though he believes the race is going to be tough for both Obama and Romney.
Alvarado praised Romney for his business success, and said he believes the candidate will be able to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
“He’s a man who understands how to put the right people in the right positions for success,” Alvarado said. “He’s a family man, a man of integrity, a man who doesn’t understand failure. There are going to be times when you fail and learn as you go, but he’s a successful businessman, a successful family man.”
The convention officially ended Thursday, when Romney received his party’s official nomination. Alvarado said earlier in the week he was looking forward to hearing Romney speak, and give more details about his plans for the country.
“We’re hopeful that the country is going to listen,” Alvarado said.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at email@example.com.