GOP delegates gear up for national convention

By Michael Davis

Alisande Gelineau didn't become active in politics until she retired a few years ago, but she's been interested for a long time.

Now, as one of Henry County's two Republican delegates going to the Republican National Convention in New York next week, her enthusiasm for the GOP has been ratcheted up a notch.

She and Andrew Headley, the first vice-chairman of the Henry County Republican Party, were chosen earlier this year as delegates to the convention to nominate Pres. George W. Bush for re-election.

Gelineau is president of the Republican Women of Henry County. This will be her first visit to a national convention, but not her first trip to the Big Apple.

"Everyone who has ever gone to a convention recommends it," she said, going over itineraries and travel brochures last week. "It's not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but you'll be glad that you went."

Gelineau spent most of her life removed from the political process as a member of the U.S. Army working in communications and voting absentee in her home state of Florida.

"As an absentee voter I never got to meet a single candidate," she said. "I very much wanted to learn about the candidates but you don't learn about the candidates from slick fliers and TV commercials."

Her political ears first perked when then-Pres. Ronald Reagan addressed her commencement ceremony at West Point, she said. "I got more interested in politics when Bill Clinton was elected," she said.

During the 2000 presidential election, Gelineau voted absentee in a Florida county and throughout the controversial recounts, "I was glued to the TV," she said.

But politics may run in her blood. One of Gelineau's two sons, a Georgia Tech student, is head of the campus Libertarian party, she said.

"We have some very interesting discussions," she said.

One of the highlights of the convention sure to be closely watched by Georgians, is Wednesday's address by Democratic Sen. Zell Miller.

Democratic groups have derided the former governor since the announcement of his support for the Republican president, but Miller has been embraced by the GOP.

"I think the world of Zell Miller," Gelineau said. "I think he's a very strong man and a man of conviction who cares about his country," she added.

The convention officially begins Aug. 30 and lasts through Sept. 2, but Gelineau said there is no shortage of smaller events throughout the week.

"Where else would you have an opportunity to meet the president, the governor, and two senators from Georgia in the same week?" she said.