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Taylors praise convention plan

State senator, wife attend GOP conference in Minnesota

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— The atmosphere at the Republican National Convention is "electric" but tempered by Hurricane Gustav's impact, Jack and Geneva Taylor said Monday.

The Steamboat Springs state senator and his wife are serving as delegates from the 3rd Congressional District.

The convention in St. Paul, Minn., has been scaled back because of the storm pummeling the Gulf Coast. The presumed presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., headed for the hurricane-affected area instead of the convention. Delegates dealt with only official business during a meeting Monday afternoon that lasted less than three hours.

"There's no activities tonight because of that," Jack Taylor said Monday, referring to the storm. "Mrs. Bush and Mrs. McCain came onto the platform : and made a request for donations for people in the Gulf Coast. I think that was good. It was a classy move to make."

Geneva Taylor said she and her husband were thankful to be among Colorado's 46 delegates and 43 alternates at the RNC. She said the normal parties of the convention had been turned into fundraisers for those affected by Gustav.

The storm hit the Louisiana coast west of New Orleans as a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds Monday, The Associated Press reported. An evacuation order pulled millions from their homes in the region, and heavy rains and flooding still are possible.

"The concentration now is on doing anything we can to help these people who have been displaced out of their homes," Geneva Taylor said.

Events Monday included a morning meeting of Colorado delegates and the afternoon business meeting, at which the Republican Party approved its platform. The McCains' son Andy McCain spoke, as did retired Air Force Col. Tom Kirk, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam with John McCain and now lives in Vail.

"After he and McCain got out of solitary confinement : they were in the same bigger cell together," Jack Taylor said. "He has firsthand knowledge of that whole deal."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge were scheduled to speak today, according to the RNC Web site, though it was unclear whether that was a revised or original agenda. McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, also was on today's agenda.

Jack Taylor said the delegates were buzzing about the Palin pick. The response in St. Paul was positive, he said.

"She's kind of a take-charge lady," he said. "She has a lot of knowledge on a lot of different things, including the oil and gas industry."

Palin is scheduled to speak Wednesday evening, and McCain is scheduled to speak Thursday, the Taylors said. The official nomination also is Thursday.

Geneva Taylor said she was pleased with the calm atmosphere.

"There's just not any craziness going on," she said. "People are really concerned with what's happening in the Gulf."

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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