JOPLIN, Mo. —
There will be a Joplin area contingent on hand when Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s recently announced running mate, on Thursday comes to Southwest Missouri.
The Wisconsin congressman will speak at a series of private fundraisers in Springfield, with members of the host committee to include Lance and Sharon Beshore, Debra and David Humphreys, and Ethelmae Humphreys.
Lance Beshore, a vice president with Leggett & Platt Corp. in Carthage, is a member of the Republican National Committee. David Humphreys is president of TAMKO Building Products, based in Joplin, and Ethelmae Humphreys is chairwoman of the board of the company.
Beshore said he’s happy the campaign is bringing Ryan to Southwest Missouri. He called Romney’s selection “a terrific choice.”
“He adds energy and intelligence and since the announcement, the campaign has raised over $10 million. That’s a pretty good ratification.”
Also named on a long list of reception hosts, along with their spouses, are former Attorney General John Ashcroft, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, U.S. Rep. Billy Long, former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent and state Auditor Tom Schweich.
The main event, at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center, will be a $1,000-per-person reception with Ryan. The lawmaker also will be featured in a “photo reception” for a contribution of $2,500, and there will be a private reception for those who have raised or contributed $10,000 to $25,000 to the campaign.
Several other area residents active in Republican politics said Thursday they did not plan to attend the reception, but praised Romney’s selection of Ryan as a running mate.
John Putnam and Nick Myers, chairmen of the Jasper and Newton County Republican Central Committees, will not attend, citing preparations for the Republican National Convention. The two are among local delegates to the convention that starts the following week in Tampa, Fla.
“I think we may see a little of him in Florida,” Myers joked. “I really like him as the vice presidential choice; he’s for smaller government, and he energizes folks.”
Putnam praised what he called Ryan’s “in-depth knowledge” of the federal budget.
“My preference usually is someone with executive experience, but people are concerned about the country’s fiscal condition and when it comes to that, I think he’s better prepared than anybody.”
GOP donors Glenn Brown of Diamond and Henry Robertson of Joplin will not be attending Thursday’s event.
Brown said a conflict will prevent him from going to the fundraiser, but both he and Robertson praised Ryan’s selection, noting his work as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
“It’s an excellent choice, because he brings an in-depth knowledge of the financial condition of the country,” said Brown, a retired trucking company executive. “I heard him speak at a function several years ago, and I was very impressed.”
Robertson, a retired auto dealer, already has given $250 to the Romney campaign, according to campaign finance reports.
“As a fiscal conservative, I’m very pleased about his (Ryan’s) selection,” he said.
The Thursday event will raise money for the Romney campaign and other Republican groups.
Local Democrat’s view
Elliott Denniston, a Webb City resident who is active in the Democratic Party, called Ryan’s selection “a very sad choice for the country and the great majority of Americans because the famous Ryan budget virtually eliminates Medicare in any recognizable form. It shows even more clearly that Romney is the candidate for the very rich.”