All Clear in Tampa, but Isaac Still Threatens Convention

By Elizabeth Mirza posted 08-29-2012 13:23


Editor's Note: This post is on behalf of Roy Maurer, manager/editor for SHRM Online, who is covering the events and SHRM activities at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Below is his second account, delayed by Hurricane Isaac and travel troubles. Read Roy's first post here, SHRM Online Goes to Tampa.

First, a recap: While I, your SHRM correspondent, was trapped in southeast Florida because of the unpredictability of Hurricane Isaac’s path, Republican National Convention officials decided to cancel Monday’s events. After being given clearance to fly and a bumpy ride through storm clouds in a Beechcraft puddle jumper, I set down in a bucolic, unmussed Tampa on Monday night.

There, I got right into the spirit of the event thanks to the SHRM Government Affairs staff, who had entrée into one of the occasion’s most exclusive gatherings—Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “warehouse party,” which was held at a secret location downtown. While these festivities were off the record, SHRM made a fine showing and the Speaker was in good form.

Convention-goers woke Tuesday to clearing skies as Isaac churned west over the Gulf and the SHRM contingent came together at the leonine Tampa Club, complete with expansive 42nd-floor views of this city of bays and bridges. The Tampa Bay Times Forum was strangely quiet before the gathering of GOP delegates got under way in earnest with a packed schedule that included the roll call to officially select Mitt Romney as Republican nominee for president.

The SHRM staff and CEO Hank Jackson dropped in on the IMPACT 2012 Change Agents roundtable, where Hank spoke about the importance of closing the skills gap in America and the issues young people face as they look to enter the workforce.

“We have a vision where all people are treated with respect in the workplace, with workflex policies in place and free of discrimination,” he told those assembled and viewing live in cyberspace.

Immediately following the IMPACT event, the group made its way to historic Ybor City and the National Journal’s Compare the Candidates policy discussion. The forum took place in an iconic building that was once central to Tampa’s Spanish-speaking immigrant cigar-making community—and is now refurbished into a swanky steakhouse.

The National Journal’s Major Garrett interviewed Mitt Romney’s policy director, Dr. Lanhee Chen, touching on front-of-mind issues from health care to job creation to tax policy and immigration.

This correspondent spent the remainder of the evening around fellow politicos watching the coverage from the convention floor. Tuesday’s nomination brought Romney into the home stretch of the long race to the White House. Delegates danced in the aisles between speeches and cheered predictions that Romney would be the next president of the United States.

Meanwhile, Isaac bore down on the Gulf coast, giving the Romney team pause about the future of the convention, including possible worst-case scenarios that would involve some major event reworking in order to not appear insensitive to plighted fellow Americans.

To be continued …

Roy Maurer is online manager/editor for SHRM. 

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