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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Two Florida Trump allies picked to help craft Republican Party's national platform

Joe Gruters (left) behind Donald Trump during a speech in Tampa on Feb. 12, 2016

Times file photo

Joe Gruters (left) behind Donald Trump during a speech in Tampa on Feb. 12, 2016

The man who gave Donald Trump a platform to speak in Florida on the eve of Republican National Convention in Tampa four years ago when Trump was left off the agenda, is now getting a chance to craft the platform for the entire Republican National Committee for the next four years thanks to his friendship with Trump.

Sarasota Republican Party chairman Joe Gruters and Duval County Republican Party chairwoman Cindy Graves have been named as Florida’s two representatives to the Republican National Convention's Platform Committee by Florida delegates to the national convention.

“I’m definitely excited,” Gruters said.

Every state gets to send two Republican representatives to be part of the committee to craft the party’s platform for the next four years. Gruters and Graves replace former House Speaker Allan Bense and Miami Republican Remedios Diaz who served on that platform committee for the last four years.

In 2012, Trump was left off the speakers list for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. That is when Gruters announced he was awarding Trump the “Statesman of the Year” award and invited Trump to speak in Sarasota to more than 1,000 people on the night  before the convention started.

“This Joe’s some piece of work,” Trump said about meeting Gruters then.

But the two have struck up an alliance ever since, with Gruters serving as his co-chairman to Trump’s presidential campaign in Florida.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 12:46pm]

    

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