This past spring, I was nominated as an Alternate Delegate to the Republican Party State GOP Convention hosted in Houston this year. The convention was held June 16-18, and I was fortunate enough to attend on Saturday, June 18. Due to an opening in my Dad’s schedule, he was able to accompany me to the convention!
We left from Huntsville bright and early in the morning and headed south to the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. The convention hall was filled with patriotic booths advertising for campaigns, merchandise, and there was even one with antique maps and flags! The first session began with the National Anthem and speeches from several different leaders in the party.
While the Chairman of the Party, Matt Rinaldi, was leading the GOP in the 15 priorities, I was asked by Walker County’s Republican Chair, Linda McKenzie to move forward to a voting position . Seated next to others from my county, I cast my first vote at the convention by selecting my top priorities.
The GOP reconvened after a quick break, and we were back to work! This time, we had until 5 p.m. to get through the proposed platform, which had almost 300 items listed. Thankfully, before we got too far into the platform, a convention-goer made a motion to reduce the time per section from 25 minutes to 2 minutes, making it possible to get through the entire platform. This motion was met with some disdain, but ultimately did pass among the GOP.
I cast my vote on each item during the discussion, and my dad even snuck up to our section to snap a photo!
Even though it was the last day, the convention was buzzing with energy and excitement for the weeks hard work. I’d like to thank Republican Chair, Linda McKenzie for her hard work and for mentoring me through my first convention!
Dinner at the Grove
One thing is for sure after a political convention, you’ll be hungry! Because we were in Downtown Houston, my dad and I knew that the options were limitless. After a brief online search, we set off on foot towards The Grove. The restaurant was surrounded by (what we thought were ancient) beautiful trees with bending limbs that matched the surrounding park, Discovery Green.
My Dad chose the red snapper, which was highly recommended by our waitress, and I had the filet mignon. It was so big that I needed help finishing it! We thought we had no more room for anything else… but we decided we couldn’t leave without trying the cookie butter gelato. It was the perfect dessert to conclude our meal!
After dinner, we meandered through the park while we waited for the sun to set (a necessity for our next stop) and came across a pop-up flea market! Vendors lined the road selling everything. Leather goods, handmade razors, apparel, and baked goods. My dad and I window-shopped for a little while and enjoyed the summer evening weather before heading to our next site.
Because of my involvement with LEAP, I’ve learned more many things, one of which is art! Keeping with our weekend’s theme of firsts, my dad and I ventured to James Turrell Skyspace called Twilight Epiphany at Rice University.
Although my dad was a bit skeptical about public art when we first arrived, he slowly began to enjoy himself as the sun set. Turrell’s Skyspace is best viewed at dusk, and the unique design of the space is an excellent display of colors. We wandered in and around the space but enjoyed sitting inside the most.
While the lights are changing color around you, the interior square appears to change as well. However, it is actually just the night sky viewed in comparison to the colors in the space.
The second day of our trip was dedicated to art! Our first stop was to the Rothko Chapel. Rothko is best known for his abstract expressionism and muted colors. The chapel was commissioned in 1964 by the Menils and was intended to be a place of reflection for followers of all religions. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside, but the experience was not lessened. The interior chamber of the chapel is in the shape of an octagon and adorning each wall are massive paintings. At first glance, it is simply a white room with black paintings, but upon a closer look, each painting is distinct. The muted canvases each have a different draw to them, as if they have their own story or personality. There are diptychs, and triptychs each with slight hues of maroons, greys, greens.
The exterior, which was designed by Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone, and Eugene Aubry (separately), and features Broken Obelisk, by Barnett Newman in a reflecting pool designed by Johnson.
Overall, we enjoyed the new and different experience, and, upon reflection, stands out as one of many highlights over the summer.