Living the American political process through the eyes of a student

By Matthew Hunt

September 8, 2012

One Missouri Western student was selected for the opportunity to serve in the 2012 political process.

Submitted photo by Ellis Cross. The view outside the dome for the National Republican Convention last month in Tampa, Florida.

Ellis Cross, news editor for the Griffon News, was selected by fellow Republicans to serve as an alternate delegate for the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla., last month. The trip was more than just a moment for Cross to meet politicians; he learned the process of what it’s like to be part of the national Republican Party.

“I saw how the convention works,” Cross said. “Sometimes I wanted to share my opinion, but as an alternate delegate I wasn’t on the floor of delegates for Missouri.”

The process for the convention was on a strike timeline. Cross said he started most days from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning. The duties Cross had as an alternate delegate were more than just standing in the background while the main delegates were on the floor. He said he had to be ready to vote if a chair on the floor was empty. When empty chairs occur they send for an alternate to fill the position and vote.

“I wasn’t called to the floor to vote,” Cross said, “but I did get to fill a chair and take advantage of photo ops while a delegate took a break.”

The convention was more than just a few days to celebrate the nominating process for president and vice president for the Republican Party, they decide on the party’s platform as well.

Maggie Siegmund, tea party coordinator for Buchanan County, said the convention is a wonderful educational experience. She said that she has known Cross for years through politics, and he served as a tea party coordinator.

“I believe that since Ellis has gotten involved, he will be a delegate at the next convention,” Siegmund said.

The trip that Cross took to the convention had those who teach in the political science and history department talking. Daniel Radke, assistant professor for American national government, said he had known Cross for years and was proud to see a student from Western be given the chance to attend.

“I hope that Mr. Cross and others continue to participate in this process,” Radke said.

This was Cross’ first round to be selected as an alternate delegate, but he has ambitions to go for a much stronger and decision making roll come the 2016 election. He said he plans to stay involved in the Republican Party, and would like to be a floor delegate the next time.

“I would serve as a delegate if I ever get the honor,” Cross said. “My personal goal is to someday be an electoral voter representing Missouri.”

To view the photos, and videos from Ellis’s trip to Tampa, you can go to www.flickr.com/photos/gnewsrnc/ or the crossreference.wordpress.com