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Locals to get bird’s eye view of presidential process

It’s a watershed moment in this nation’s political history.

That is why local delegates and volunteers headed to their respective upcoming national presidential party conventions feel blessed to have front-row seats.

“You get to vote on issues at the (party) caucus, it’s exciting,” said Richard Ascher, a Carmel Valley resident and Democratic delegate headed to Denver for the Aug. 25-28 Democratic National Convention.

“I’m not a delegate, I’m a volunteer,” noted Michael McQuary, a La Jollan who’s been vice president of the La Jolla Democratic Club the past couple years. “I was selected to go. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

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On the other side of the political aisle, the Republican Party’s local contingent of delegates to their national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sept. 1-4, are equally enthused to have a role in shaping and advancing their party’s agenda.

“We’re all waiting with baited breadth,” said Tony Krvaric, a Swedish native who immigrated to the United States in 1992 because he was inspired by then-President Ronald Reagan’s belief in the free enterprise system and his conviction that people deserved freedom.

Fellow Republican Nathan Fletcher will be a delegate, and his wife, Mindy; will be an alternate, in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The pair, residents of University City, will actually comprise a threesome: They’re taking 8-week-old son Zachary along.

“Politics is a family affair for us,” noted Fletcher, who is running for the 75th Assembly District seat being vacated by George Plescia.

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Rancho Santa Fe resident and Republican delegate Samuel Hardage won’t have any trouble casting his vote for his party’s presumptive candidate.

“I’ve known John McCain for a long time and he’s a terrific guy,” said Hardage. “I wanted to do everything I could to make sure he’s the next president of the United States.”

Democrats Ascher and McQuary talked about the issues that will really be meaningful to them at their party’s convention.

“I want to put my two cents worth in about healthcare,” said Ascher, whose wife is a certified midwife. “Over the years I’ve learned from her that medical professionals who are licensed other than doctors can do 70 to 90 percent of what physicians can do, including preventative care. Letting them do it would save a lot of money.”

McQuary believes this nation’s veered off track politically - and needs to get back on track. “Eighty percent of the people believe this country’s going in the wrong direction,” he said. “The economy is in the sink. I like a balanced budget. I like a government that pays for itself.”

Republican delegate Krvaric believes the opposing party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Barack Obama, isn’t clued in on the most telling issue of the 2008 presidential race. “I don’t think Obama understands that our way of life, and the Western World, is fundamentally under attack by radical Islam,” he said.

Fellow Republican delegate Fletcher has never doubted that presumptive presidential nominee McCain is the best choice. “Senator McCain has demonstrated throughout his life his commitment to service to this country,” he said. “He’s an honorable man. He’s the man to be the leader of our country.”

Delegate Hardage concurs with his two Republican colleagues that national security could be the issue that determines the outcome of the Nov. 4 vote. “This is an election where the two candidates are clearly defined and clearly on opposite sides,” he said. “I think the issue that is going to decide it is national security. Which candidate is prepared - and capable - of ensuring the continued safety of America?”

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