Monday, December 11, 2017
Politics

Host committee calls for 7,500 volunteers for Republican National Convention

TAMPA — They won't get inside for the nominee's acceptance speech, but 7,500 local volunteers will do a lot to set the tone outside the Republican National Convention.

So on Monday, the Tampa Bay Host Committee put out a call for as many people as it can find like Dan Jordan of Clearwater.

Jordan, 77, is a commercial real estate broker with a hopeful vision of the legacy that the convention could leave behind.

"We want these people to enjoy their stay and come back," said Jordan, who is helping recruit other volunteers. "I've told people it's time to give something back, so let's get involved. This is big. It will be rewarding down the road."

Host committee volunteers will greet conventioneers at airports and at hotels, help visitors find their way, put together gift bags, do office chores, help set up for events and essentially try to make Tampa Bay a friendly, efficient place that out-of-towners will remember fondly.

"These volunteers are the faces of Tampa Bay to the thousands of guests that will come to this area," said Amanda Whitelaw, the host committee's director of events and volunteers.

The host committee already has a list of about 2,000 prospective volunteers and is registering more online at 2012tampa.com/get-involved.

By comparison, when Tampa hosted Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, the local host committee recruited about 6,400 volunteers, said Whitelaw, who worked with volunteers at that Super Bowl as well as at last year's NFL championship in Dallas.

Volunteers have to be 18 or older by June, have a driver's license or other government-issued photo ID and undergo a background check.

Those who sign up should do so because they really want to help, not because they're looking for behind-the-scenes access. They won't get convention credentials or tickets to events. Nor will there be volunteer opportunities inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum or the Tampa Convention Center, the filing center for up to 15,000 visiting journalists.

What doesn't matter, organizers say, is your politics or your party affiliation.

"We want people who want to help support Tampa Bay," said Aileen Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the host committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

Once registered, volunteers will go to a one-hour orientation this summer and learn about signing up for at least two four-hour shifts. They'll also get a uniform and an invitation to a thank-you celebration after the convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 27-30.

Volunteers will work throughout Tampa Bay.

Greeters will be posted at Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and in the lobbies of more than 60 hotels in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

In St. Petersburg, an "event setup crew" will help at various unspecified events the week of the convention. (Organizers caution: Volunteer for this duty, and you'll find yourself standing or walking for most of your shift.)

And in downtown Tampa, volunteer way-finders will greet visitors and hand out maps the week of the convention. This will also involve a lot of standing and walking, and it will be outside the secure perimeter that the Secret Service will establish around the forum and the convention center.

Volunteer Jennifer Griffin, 29, of Clearwater said she wants to be involved partly because the convention might not ever come back to Tampa Bay.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said, "to show who Tampa Bay is and that we've got great people, great places and scenery, and great businesses."

Comments
As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class

As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class

The GOP tax plan on the cusp of becoming law diverges wildly from the promises President Trump and top advisers said they would deliver for the middle class — an evolution that shows how traditional Republican orthodoxy swamped Trump’s distinctive br...
Published: 12/10/17

Same income, but not taxes, in GOP plan

In most places, a dollar is a dollar. But in the tax code envisioned by Republicans, the amount you make may be less important than how you make it.Consider two chefs working side by side for the same catering company, doing the same job, for the sam...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Democrats fighting math and history in Alabama

Democrats fighting math and history in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Renegade Republican Roy Moore may be plagued by scandal, but it will take more than that to convince the voters of 44th Place North to show up for Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday. In a state where Democrats are used to losing, the m...
Published: 12/09/17
 ‘He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him’: A look inside Trump’s day-to-day

‘He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him’: A look inside Trump’s day-to-day

WASHINGTON — Around 5:30 each morning, President Donald Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to "Fox & Friends" for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s "...
Published: 12/09/17
Why Democrats decided Sen. Al Franken had to go

Why Democrats decided Sen. Al Franken had to go

  It seems like a distant memory now, but Al Franken’s arrival in the U.S. Senate eight years ago marked the very moment when Democrats’ control of Washington reached its highest point in a generation. After an eight-month recount, the ...
Published: 12/07/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Rep. Trent Franks to resign after broaching surrogacy with subordinates

Rep. Trent Franks to resign after broaching surrogacy with subordinates

WASHINGTON — Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is among the most conservative members of the House, said Thursday he would resign his seat in a statement where he acknowledged discussing surrogacy with two former female subordinates.Franks...
Published: 12/07/17
Sen. Al Franken says he’s resigning amid fresh accusations

Sen. Al Franken says he’s resigning amid fresh accusations

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday he will resign from Congress in the coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and the collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once...
Published: 12/07/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing

Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing

At some point, the truth has to matter, right? Evidence, due process, all of that? No matter how you feel about Sen. Jack Latvala personally (and I’ve never been a huge fan) or how you feel about the overzealousness of his defense (which I cr...
Published: 12/07/17

New Port Richey takes steps to outlaw drug paraphernalia

NEW PORT RICHEY — The city has taken the first step to outlaw the sale of drug paraphernalia in its downtown, and leaders hope to establish stricter rules citywide for businesses selling pipes and other gear that can be used to consume illegal drugs....
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17