Lodi congressional candidate Ricky Gill focused on living in San Joaquin County and the high unemployment rate during his remarks before the Republican National Convention on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.
Gill, 25, also told a national TV audience on C-SPAN that his parents are immigrants from India and Africa who came to the United States to pursue the American Dream.
In a phone interview from Tampa after the speech, Gill said he delivered the message he intended — that there is a lot of pride in the community and that it will finally have its chance to come out of the recession under better leadership.
Gill, running against Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the 9th Congressional District race, spoke for about two minutes at the convention Tuesday. He says he wasn’t nervous speaking to the most powerful Republicans in the country.
“I had a lot of composure because I had confidence in the message I was delivering,” he said.
While in Tampa, Gill said he met with Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the National Congressional Campaign Committee, whom he met previously. He also got to meet for the first time Rep. David Dreir, R-San Dimas, chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Lauren Smith, spokeswoman for McNerney’s campaign, saw Gill’s appearance at the convention quite differently.
“It’s quite telling that Ricky was rubbing elbows with the extreme Republican leadership and bringing his ultra-conservative credentials while Jerry McNerney was hard at work at home,” Smith said. “(McNerney) has been working in the district the entire month.”
Gill, who took a red-eye flight to Tampa on Sunday night, said he expects to be back in San Joaquin County by lunchtime today. He has a fundraising event in the Delta today, and he plans to walk precincts as well.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.