For someone with an appetite for politics, a ringside seat at the GOP convention is a dream come true.

    And that's exactly where Dodge City Commissioner Brian Weber will be next week.

    Weber, 25, is one of Kansas' delegates to the Republican National Convention, which runs Sept. 1 through 4 at St. Paul, Minn. He will have a seat on the convention floor, attend and participate in related activities and vote for his party's presidential and vice presidential candidates.


For someone with an appetite for politics, a ringside seat at the GOP convention is a dream come true.
    And that's exactly where Dodge City Commissioner Brian Weber will be next week.
    Weber, 25, is one of Kansas' delegates to the Republican National Convention, which runs Sept. 1 through 4 at St. Paul, Minn. He will have a seat on the convention floor, attend and participate in related activities and vote for his party's presidential and vice presidential candidates.
    Weber said Wednesday that he is excited about attending the convention, which will give him an opportunity to watch GOP leaders shape the party's platform before the general election.
    "I'm really, really interested to have those conversations and be involved in some of that, hearing from the platform committee and getting a better feel for how changes are made to the national platform of the Republican party," he said. "Beyond that, the opportunity to network and interact with other Republicans from across the nation. I'm very excited."

Passion for politics
    Weber had always been intrigued by government, but his interest blossomed during high school and college. His parents and Professor Ken King at Hillsboro's Tabor College encouraged him to explore his interest further, which led him to transfer to Newman University in Wichita and serve as an intern for Congressman Todd Tiahrt.
    Those experiences, combined with a longtime interest in history, government and social science, nurtured his interest in learning more about how politics works.
    Weber said he is interested in the intellectual policy-making side of politics, but he is even more intrigued by the strategy that influences those decisions.
    "That's what has drawn me so much to our political system is that is the process where we find change," he said. "Not to discredit the gentleman who stands on a street with a sign, advocating for a certain issue. That is to be commended and deserves a little respect, but it may or may not be productive."

Chance of a lifetime
    Weber said he is looking forward to hearing the various speakers lined up for the Republican National Convention, which includes speeches by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former presidential candidates Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback.
    He is also eager to hear Sen. John McCain accept the Republican presidential nomination and to find out who McCain's running mate will be.
    Weber said he believes that McCain and his running mate — whoever that may be — will succeed in capturing the White House in November.
    "I think the Republican ticket is going to be very in tune with the economic woes of America," he said. "I think the Republican ticket is going to be very open to what it's going to take, whether it be additional tax cuts or restructuring to bring a positive revolution to the economy. I think that's going to ring true with Americans."
    But although McCain's speech, his choice of running mate and discussions of the party platform will provide the main drama of the of the convention, they won't be the only events on the agenda.
    When he isn't participating in the convention itself, Weber will be attending receptions for Kansas delegates, mingling with delegates from other states and taking part in events focusing on key political issues.
    He said going to the convention is the chance of a lifetime for a political aficionado.
    "It'd be kind of like an adamant football fan getting front-row seats up at the yard line of the Super Bowl," he said.
       
Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.