Kehr and Kevin Erickson
of Mountain Iron, who spoke to the News Tribune
by phone Monday, are two of just three delegates from the 8th Congressional District to attend the national convention.
While this is the first national convention for both, Kehr has been active in Republican Party politics for years in Duluth (her husband ran for the state Legislature in western Duluth in 2008.) Erickson
is a relative newcomer.
"They won't even let us bring an umbrella into the convention," noted Erickson
, who is staying eight blocks from the convention stadium, the Tampa Bay Times Forum
, to save money.
"I'm staying for two weeks for the price of one night in the convention hotel.
has focused on the party's important Platform Committee.
been in Tampa for more than a week already working on the platform, the party's official document of ideals and philosophies that spell out party doctrine.
Erickson said he has two main concerns that pushed him to get active in party politics and serve on the committee - the first being the nation's increasing national debt.
"We are moving toward insolvency and neither party has really been willing to address it so far," he
second issue is a true libertarian cause: He
wants the federal government to treat suspected national security threats as all other criminals and provide proof of the reason for their detention, things like due process and habeas corpus.
managed to get those concerns written into the platform.
"I'm a former public defender and, while most people may not realize, the right to due process is probably one of our most basic protections of liberty," Erickson
said, noting he
also has concerns over the use of military drones to conduct warfare from afar.
Erickson, who grew up in Grand Rapids, has been back on the Range since 2005 and started Cross Hill Church in Virginia in January 2010.
calls himself a "church planter" or "entrepreneurial minister" and says he's
been a conservative Republican all his
had been a supporter of Ron Paul, the Texas congressman and libertarian favorite who has been effectively kept away from the Republican convention
by supporters of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee.
upset that Paul delegates from states like Maine, Oregon and Oklahoma were replaced with Romney-supporting delegates so Paul could not be nominated, which would have given Paul a wide-open 15 minutes in front of the convention and national television. (Paul later turned down an offer to speak because his
speech would have to be approved by the Romney campaign.)
"The way this has happened just wasn't right," Erickson