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Aug 28, 2012 10:44 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Live From Tampa: Teen Reports From GOP Convention

Aug 31, 2012 9:57 AM

Southampton High School senior Andrew Nelson, 17, travelled to Tampa, Florida, to attend the Republican National Convention. He is attending with members of the local chapter of Junior Statesmen of America, including his younger brother, Michael Nelson, 15. They flew into Tampa on Monday afternoon and plan to stay through Thursday.

Andrew will be sending periodic blogs from the convention, which will be posted here on 27east.com.

“I will be traveling with Junior Statesmen of America and I was asked to be a junior correspondent,” he wrote in an email to The Press. “I was also asked to contact media outlets in my area to see if any were interested in having someone report directly from Tampa…”

Andrew is contemplating a career in law and possibly politics, an interest he attributes to his involvement in the Youth Court at school, a program that he said has had a great impact.

“This program is Youth Court, which is a real court system, run by young-adults in a mission to restore justice to misguided youths,” he wrote. “In this program, I was able to be a juror, a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney, all a number of times. Youth Court has opened my eyes to something that I very much enjoy and may have an overall impact on what I end up doing in my future. I am seriously considering, as I enter college, a career path in law and possibly politics.”

In the Junior Statesmen of America program, he takes a core class and a debate class for three weeks each summer at a different college.

“Last summer I went to Princeton where I took a class on AP Government, and this summer I went to Georgetown to learn about public speaking,” he said. “Next summer, I will be going to Beijing, China, for an international relations class.”

He said he was excited to travel to Tampa for the convention.

“For me, this is an extraordinary chance to get a whole different experience and view on politics,” he wrote. “I have been interested in politics for a long time and being able to go on this trip will allow me to see the reality of our nation’s Republican Party first hand. I realize this is a crucial time in our nation’s history and its political parties and I am looking forward to being part of it.”

Tuesday, 10:23 a.m.

I went to a New York State delegates breakfast this morning and heard a couple of men speak. They all spoke about economic change for the better and talked up Mitt Romney, obviously.

Former Senator Alphonse D’Amato was the most outspoken. He made many references to former presidents, Ronald Reagan in particular, because of his unforeseen presidential victory over Jimmy Carter. He spoke about courage and what it means in political terms: to speak out against something you think is wrong and act on principle even when your own party thinks you could be wrong.

He also spoke about starting to change Washington slowly, starting on Long Island with 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Randy Altschuler.

There were a lot of political jokes made, many of which went over my head. I’m pretty sure at times I was one of the only people not laughing.

D’Amato also said middle class families are making less money than ever. He spoke out against President Obama. He joked that the only real thing he did was Obamacare, and it is only running us deeper into debt. He said that Mr. Obama is a good orator, but that’s it. Mr. Obama said he would bring change and lower the deficit, but instead doubled it. He said Mr. Obama ducks important issues.

Tuesday, noon.

I traveled to the University of South Florida (USF), where I listened to a few speakers.

Ann Stone was the first. She founded Republicans for Choice in 1989 and advocates for pro-choice and women’s rights. She believes life starts at 24 weeks and that if one chooses to not raise a child, the state should adopt it. Abortion should be the absolute last resort.

She said she thinks schools should put more time into teaching about abstinence rather than teaching about contraception. She also told us about a new type of male contraception that is injected and sterilizes the man.

I agree with a couple of her ideals, such as being pro-choice, but the state adopting children thing sounds pretty impossible and very costly.

She said she worked for over 500 campaigns, where most of her work involved political organizing, public advocacy, strategy and fundraising. Her primary company now is The Stone Group, Inc., which was named as one of the top direct response marketing firms in the country.

Her company has yet to endorse anyone running.

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D'Amato is a prime example of everything that is wrong in politics and government today ... cronyism, backroom deals, and the GOP have ruined Long Island.
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Aug 28, 12 11:40 AM
Darn that GOP giving away the hard earned money of taxpaying middl class families to corrupt public sector union bosses in exchange for campaign contributions, taking contributions in exhange for "constituent services" and....oh wait, nevermind, Mr. Bishop.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Aug 28, 12 11:50 AM
and you didn't deny even one thing about D'Amato ... just blah, blah blah ...
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Aug 28, 12 12:03 PM
Oh, I'm sorry. I deny your baseless, generalized accusations.

Please give us a detailed example of how the GOP "ruined" Long Island. Which aspect of life on Long Island has been destroyed by the GOP?

Would that be the flood of 3rd world illegal immigrant criminals, or property taxes that are the amongst the highest in the developed world?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Aug 28, 12 12:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
The single biggest loss of wealth on Long Island was perpertrated by people on Wall Street and banks with the housing bubble and the resulting decline in housing values. People in expensive suits with addresses such as Greenwich,Conn,Park Avenue, the Hamptons not the people trimming your hedges and lawn. More right-wing racial rhetoric.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 29, 12 9:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Aug 29, 12 12:40 PM
Perpetuated? Maybe. Started? No. The housing bubble and the banking crisis was started by the good ol' US of A gov't of which Clinton was head. HE legislated that EVERYONE should be able to afford homes. Well that ain't possible! Fannie Mae was pushed into giving loans to those who can't afford it and banks did what they needed to compete with gov't. Hence our banking crisis. This is not debatable. Go ahead and search the hearings on Youtube where Obama himself and well as Maxine Waters ...more
By YEAROUNDER (81), East Hampton on Aug 29, 12 3:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
The banks and Wall Stret creatively created derivatives and chopping up mortgages to reduce risk. They created commissions, transactions and fees for themselves. George Bush as well aspired everyone to own their own home because it made them better citizens. However it doesn't deny the housing bubble was the reason behind the greatest loss of wealth due to the deflation of house values and the economy that ensued, not the illegal immigrant cutting your lawn as the right would have you believe.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 30, 12 7:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
"And what I'm saying to you is, yes, I've found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is."

~ Alan Greenspan

All he had to do to make that statement, was look in the mirror.
Aug 30, 12 9:23 PM appended by Mr. Z
YEAROUNDER, don't forget about Countrywide, "friends of Angelo", and all the bit mortgage lenders whom are now defunct, and bankrupt. It was one H-E double hockey sticks of a party...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 30, 12 9:23 PM
@ metsfan:

When you incentivize fraud, these are the results. There are a lot of people who want to blame the homeowners, and quite a few cases they would be correct. However when it boils down to it we should not have to worry about these things. These bankers and brokers betrayed the public trust with their behavior. Nothing can change that. If the majority of them simply had morals and scruples we would not be in this mess.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 12 1:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
@ YEAROUNDER:

Just for reference, since the major uptick in M2 began roundabout 1995, somewhere around 6.4 QUADRILLION dollars has been printed.

That's more than THREE TIMES what was printed in the previous fifteen years.

This country needs to wake up, and smell the butterfly ink...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 12 7:46 PM
"Republicans want "smaller government", for the same reason crooks want fewer cops: It's easier to get away with murder."

~ James Carville
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 28, 12 8:13 PM
I want smaller government because it wastes less money. Anything governmnent run is poorly run.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 12 7:15 PM
You should read "The price of inequality", by Joseph Stiglitz if you think that...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 30, 12 9:19 PM
Just ordered it.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 12 10:15 PM
I'm also enjoying "Twilight of the Eites: America after Meritocracy.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 12 9:57 AM
Z - Quoting other people doesn't make something true. It just makes it truthiness.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 12 2:19 PM
You're right, it doesn't necessarily make it true. It simply means i agree with their philosophy and point of view. And, it also means they are in a position to be quotable.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 12 3:05 PM
Snooki is in a position to be quotable. Enough said.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 12 3:18 PM
My goodness, gentle people, what a tangled we weave in response to a well-intentioned article by a budding 17-year old author.

Hopefully they will learn more from the thoughtful and mature comments here!

Have a good long and restful weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 3:43 PM
3 members liked this comment
"tangled web we weave," that is.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 3:46 PM
@ Nature:

If you would quote "Snooki", that's your problem, not mine...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 12 6:34 PM
Perhaps 15 and 17 yr olds can talk some sense into our politicians.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Aug 29, 12 1:52 PM
3 members liked this comment
I am so weary of "locals" blaming "Wall Street" and the "banks" for their woes. People - wherever they live - have to exercise personal responsibility. Further, there are many generational locals who have done very well thank you fleecing weekenders/ summer people from the city. If you carry on complaining about them, pretty soon they won't bother to come out and line your pockets. Then what will you do about buying your ticket to Florida this winter? Fall back on your local neighbors ? We already ...more
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Aug 29, 12 7:35 PM
That is the poorest excuse for logic I have ever heard. Unless of course you are defending Oligarchy, then your post makes sense. Oligarchy is not Democracy.

American "meritocracy" is a parody of Democracy.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 29, 12 10:55 PM
i'm not sure what your rantings are about. This wasn't about locals blaming Wall Street. This was about the right blaming illegal immigrants being the the biggest reason why there is such a loss of wealth on Long island. Businesses close for the winter because they are bad businessmen.Lots of businesses stay open, pay bills,keep jobs while creatively getting customers in the door. The economy really looks like it is suffering out here. With traffic choked roads and lots of out-of-towners with very ...more
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 30, 12 7:02 PM
too bad he had to experiance the "rule changes" that kept Ron Paul from gaining his nomination from the floor, and denied him the chance to speak. Well if you can't win fairly, just change the rules to do it.
By cabin fever (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 12 10:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
Good for you Andrew !
By marybmary (54), east hampton on Aug 30, 12 10:19 AM
3 members liked this comment
how amazing and what a great opportunity experiencing this first hand. More young adults should get involved. Perhaps Andrew can stir it up and get more young adults involved with their government. Bravo Andrew.
By sharpie (1), southampton on Aug 30, 12 10:22 PM
3 members liked this comment
Regardless of your political persuasion, I hope you'll join me in thanking Andrew for his effort, and congratulating him on such a terrific job!
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 12 11:59 AM
Thank you Andrew, for your detailed observations, which made the convention come alive in a nice way. The standard news channels don't normally have time for this. Well done!

Good luck in your reporting career.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 12:41 PM
4 members liked this comment
Thanks a lot!
By AndrewNelson_ (2), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 11:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great to see Andrew and team involved in the future of their country. We can all agree to disagree but we can all agree having the next generation involved is the right direction for change
By tdanser (2), Water Mill on Aug 31, 12 2:53 PM
4 members liked this comment
WOW--just when it would seem all hope is lost with the 'next gen' and all that appeared to concern such is the latest celeb,facebook or entertainment happening---along comes Andrew and his brother Michael to pick-up the cause! What a refreshing and invigorating perspective--thru the prism of the truly unbiased and without any agenda to promote. Simply their interpretation and uncalculated presentation of a often maligned political event. I really enjoyed this fresh and genuine reporting, keep ...more
By par3 (2), southampton on Aug 31, 12 4:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hi Andrew. I hope you remember me. I knew you when you were just a small little boy. You have grown up to be a compassionate, intelligent, young man,. I am so proud of you The whole world is sharing your experience with you as you move more and more into politics and making postive changes. You had amazing up-bringing, and your parents also could not be more proud of you and your brothers. I look forward to hearing and seeing all the wonderful new positive changes that you will be bringing ...more
By Lisa Anne DeLisi (1), Long Beach on Aug 31, 12 8:09 PM
3 members liked this comment
Wow! Yes, of course I remember you. It's been so long, thank you for your appreciation. :)
By AndrewNelson_ (2), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 11:34 PM
I thought this story was about Andrew and his interest in Law/politics and the journey he is on to test those waters. Nice to see young people being involved.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Sep 2, 12 10:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Good work Andrew. We need more young men like yourself.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 12 9:11 PM