Republican National Convention Takes Over St. Paul

Labor Day Week, September 1-4, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, the Republican National Convention (RNC) takes place in Minnesota for only the second time in its history, and the first in more than a hundred years.

It marks the start of what is expected to be a very exciting and heated presidential race. If elected, Democrat Barack Obama would be the first African-American President, or Republican John McCain would be the oldest man ever to be inaugurated President in a first term. Each is attempting to reach his respective milestone, while at the same time proving he is the best choice to run the country.

The theme of the 2008 RNC is “Country First.” Organizers wanted to capitalize on what they see as an important issue this year: McCain’s record of leadership and service to America. Each of the four days of the convention spotlights a different aspect that has defined the candidate’s life, and will be central to his campaign: Service, Reform, Prosperity, and Peace.

Notable speakers are scheduled each day:

• September 1 (Service) promises the most star power, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush take the podium.

• September 2 (Reform) brings former Governor Mike Huckabee, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Senator Fred Thompson, and six other speakers.

• September 3 (Prosperity) features a speech by the nominee for Vice President (not yet announced as this issue went to press), along with Senator Norm Coleman, former Governor Mitt Romney, Cindy McCain, and six others.

• September 4 (Peace) concludes the proceedings with McCain accepting the nomination for President, followed by speeches by Governor Tim Pawlenty and others.

The RNC is expected to bring a $150 million dollar boost to the Minnesota economy, with more than 45,000 delegates, party officials, and media converging on the metro. The metro transit system has made plans to add busing to help alleviate traffic concerns.

Considering that it has been more than a century since Minnesota has had this opportunity, the RNC truly will be an once-in-a-lifetime event not to be missed. Local bars are helping to make it an enjoyable time, thanks in part to approval by the City Councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul of a 4 AM closing time for some establishments.

Those not lucky enough to get a seat inside the Xcel Center still will find a few opportunities to partake in the festivities. The Minneapolis-St. Paul 2008 Host Committee is putting on Civic Fest August 29-September 4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

To know what’s going on at the convention itself, log on to, which will be streaming live and behind-the-scenes content. Lavender will be attending all four days of the RNC, and reporting on everything GLBT that is—or is not—happening, so check out

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