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Gustav Changes Plans of Texas RNC Delegates

By Jodi Breisler, Capitol News Connection

Dallas, TX –

Forney delegate Ken Leonard hasn't had much sleep. He spent the weekend getting a Red Cross Shelter available for hurricane evacuees.

Leonard: "On Saturday night, Sunday morning putting the shelter, then went to bed at 3 o'clock in the morning, got up at 5, got on an airplane and came here."

When Leonard arrived, he found Gustav also had political effects. Monday night's speeches were cancelled. Delegations were trying to balance campaigning with the desire to show their concern for Gulf Coast residents threatened by the hurricane.

Leonard: "Course both are important. It's important to take care of people, but this is a political process. It has to go on."

The business did. Delegates met to officially open the convention and work on the party platform. President Bush and Texas Governor Rick Perry were supposed to address the convention on a national broadcast last night. Texas Senator John Cornyn had been scheduled to address the delegation later in the week. Instead he was fit into a Monday morning slot. That's so Cornyn could return home where he says he's needed more urgently.

Cornyn: "There may be things I can do. And certainly I'll be at the state operations center in Austin. I'm going to be probably traveling with Governor Perry to see what it is we can do and to make sure that w e are able to respond quickly. I wouldn't be able to do that up here."

The delegates like Leonard were unsure what they were going to do with their freed up evening.

Leonard: "I think we'll take care of business and we'll get to visit a lot. I'm not exactly sure what we'll do tonight. But we'll have a good time visiting with each other for sure."

While plans for the convention speeches have been up in the air, the Texas delegation has been more or less sticking to their schedule. Many delegates are attending events Tuesday for the Republican pro-life platform, one featuring Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Congressman Ron Paul is also holding a daylong counter rally in Minneapolis.

For KERA, I'm Jodi Breisler, Capitol News Connection, St. Paul.