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[Audio] Western Ky Delegate on Trump Speech, Voting on Issues - Day Five

Courtesy of Bill Bartleman

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland has ended with Donald Trump formally accepting the GOP nomination for president. McCracken County Commissioner and retired Paducah Sun journalist Bill Bartleman was a delegate at the RNC. Matt Markgraf speaks with him about Trump's speech last night and the message he plans to bring back home to western Kentucky voters. 

Trump's Speech

Bartleman says he thought Trump did what he needed to do to end the convention. He says Trump didn't really brag about himself or make many personal attacks against Hillary Clinton as he has in the past. "The conversations I had with delegates from Kentucky, they were well pleased with the speech and they agreed that he did what he needed to do. He kind of set the stage for the general election what the issues are going to be," he says.

Bartleman says Trump set the bar high in the commitments he made, including creating more manufacturing jobs and bringing companies back to the United States. He says while some people felt Trump was too negative about the country, he felt he addressed concerns about national security and terrorism, though didn't outline any specific programs on how to solve those issues.

What resonated personally with Bartleman, he says, was in trying to tackle problems Trump said he wasn't going to be hamstrung by being politically correct. He said too often things happen because people try to be politically correct and criticized politicians for being too careful in what they say or do. He said others have lost respect for the country as a result, including safety issues at home involving police departments. Bartleman says while one wouldn't want to unintentionally offend people, he felt he agreed with Trump in that one shouldn't be too concerned over being politically correct.

Overall, Bartleman says Trump did what he needed to do to unify the party and win over more voters beyond entrenched Republicans.

Peter Thiel's Appeal to LGBTQ Voters

This was a good move, Bartleman says. Trump indicated what he would do to ensure people were treated fairly and have the same rights as everyone else, which Bartleman says got an applause from the audience. He says Trump needs to reach out to all sectors of the community. While Trump didn't come out in support of same-sex marriage, he said people need to be respected for what they believe. Bartleman says he didn't hear any criticism in the convention over this and says it's an example of trump not being an established hardlnie Republican.

Concerns over safety in the LGBTQ community, referencing the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this summer, Bartleman says he felt Trump takes a hardline stance on safety and says violence can happen anywhere and this is a concern among voters in Kentucky and elsewhere in the country. "Whether we live in Murray, Kentucky or Cadiz, Kentucky or the inner city of Chicago, I think people are concerned about their personal safety," Bartleman says.

While he says he doesn't know how Trump will improve issues of security at home and abroad, he appears to take a tough stance and backs the police departments. Trump also brought up issues of illegal immigration and 'sanctuary cities' adding that he supports legal immigration, people going through the legal process of moving to the United States.

Message to Kentucky Voters

Bartleman says people need to look at both candidates and decide who they want to vote for. Whether they vote for a Democrat or a Republican, he says they should participate with knowledge of the candidates from local congressional offices to city mayors or the president of the United States. He says it's wrong to vote solely for a Republican or Democrat and urges people to look at the issues instead.

When running for County Commissioner, Bartleman says people told him they wouldn't vote for him because they'd never vote for a Republican. He says while he respects their right to do that, he feels people should vote on issues rather than party lines. He also adds that the days of partisan voting in western Kentucky is in steep decline. The region traditionally voted for Democratic candidates and has since shifted to primarily Republican candidates winning elections. This is an example, he says, of people looking at issues rather than party affiliation.

Whether you think Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could run the country better as president, Bartleman says the message he plans to bring home is "to participate in the political process and vote and cast your vote based on knowledge of the candidate and issues and not on the political party."

Note: Next week, we'll speak with a delegate from our region going to the Democratic National Convention.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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