Two From Moore Serving as Delegates
Moore County's two delegates to the Republican National Convention differ widely in background, but their views converge when it comes to Sen. John McCain.
Dolores "Do" Shaver of Seven Lakes, secretary of the Moore County Republican Party, and Dr. Jim Taylor, an anesthesiologist from Southern Pines, will be in St. Paul, Minn., Monday when the convention opens in the Xcel Energy Center.
"McCain's the only one who can save the country from terrorism and from foreign invasion and can protect our borders," Shaver said. "He knows the foreign leaders. He's visited other countries. He's familiar with the leadership of those countries."
Taylor said, "At this point in our country's history, when I look at the alternative and look at Barack Obama and socialism, it is very easy to make a choice for McCain. He is the more conservative of the two."
St. Paul is Shaver's home town. The lifelong Republican plans to extend her time in St. Paul for a vacation with relatives.
Taylor has lived many places but calls North Carolina home. A former Libertarian, he registered as a Republican last year. Admitting that he was initially attracted to Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, Taylor says he has totally switched loyalty to McCain and plans to cast his vote for the veteran senator from Arizona.
"I saw Ron Paul as a monetary conservative, and I found that attractive," he said. "At the time, Ron Paul's message rang true to me," Taylor says of his early consideration of the Republican congressman from Texas.
But now he is convinced that McCain is the right candidate for the Republican Party and the right man to lead the country.
Both delegates had predicted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be McCain's choice as running mate. But McCain announced Friday that he had selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.
Taylor, who was interviewed before the Friday announcement, did say that he was hesitant to second-guess McCain. "McCain's a maverick. He's hard to predict."
Taylor added that he would not have been surprised if the choice had been Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the former Democratic candidate for vice president now turned Independent.
Shaver has a military background. She served in the Army Reserve, and her husband is retired Major Gen. Manila G. 'Bud" Shaver. She very much likes McCain's military experience and background.
A third-generation military man, McCain will know how to delegate responsibility, she said, adding that he will be thoroughly versed in all aspects of each issue before delegating that responsibility. Shaver said McCain has dealt with his own physical disability, a result of almost seven years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and he has learned how to overcome obstacles. She calls these factors excellent points in his favor. The fact that an ancestor fought with George Washington is another selling point.
As for his age, Shaver said that should be no drawback for McCain, who celebrated his 72nd birthday Friday.
"If you can make it through a presidential campaign, you can make it through the presidency," she said.
Both delegates were elected at the 6th congressional district GOP convention earlier this year. It is unusual for one county to claim two delegates, but Taylor was able to join the Tar Heel delegation because another county in the district relinquished its slot.
For both, the convention will be a family affair of sorts. Taylor will join his father-in-law, an Iowa man and an active Republican all his life, at the convention. Shaver will share a hotel room with other delegates but will make her informal headquarters at the home of a sister, who lives in a suburb of Minneapolis, across the river from St. Paul.
Security will be tight throughout the convention with three blocks around the Xcel Energy Center shut down for all nonconvention traffic all week. Shuttle bus transportation will be available from all hotels in the area. Credentials for delegates are color-coded, using a different color each day as further protection.
In addition to visiting her sister and three other siblings in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area, Shaver will visit her husband's children, who also live in the area, along with seven of their 12 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Shaver left early and plans to linger in the area for a few days after the convention ends. She drove to St. Paul in the company of her two pet miniature dachshunds. The pups enjoy traveling, she says, and besides, "They can't live without me."
With every day filled with meetings, programs and official activities, she will have little time to visit family during the four days of the convention. Before her departure for St. Paul, Shaver had received more than six invitations to receptions, breakfasts, luncheons and other special events.
She also received a personal letter from McCain and letters from Sen. Elizabeth Dole and RNC Chairman Mike Duncan. Shaver said the letter from McCain "is definitely in his words."
Although she has been active in the Republican Party for the past 12 years, this will be Shaver's first time as a national convention delegate.
She has always been a Republican and grew up in a GOP family in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis.
After graduating with honors from the local high school, Shaver went to work at a local printing company, where her job sometimes involved running the presses. During this time, she joined the Army Reserve.
After 15 years with the printing firm, she switched to a big company, General Mills, where she worked in the Consumer Food Products Division in a position that included tasting products made in the Betty Crocker test kitchen. She liked that job and worked there 10 years before marrying Bud Shaver and retiring to Moore County. During that period, she served as president of their townhouse association.
Her husband, stationed at Fort Snelling, was commander of the Army Reserve "weekend warriors" for a three-state area when he retired. He also retired from his civilian job with the 3M Corporation. They married in 1983, bought land in Seven Lakes in 1985 and moved there in August 1990.
Shaver's first GOP service was that of West End Precinct chairwoman. Those were the days when Seven Lakes did not have a precinct of its own.
She served as vice chairman of the county party when Alex Webb was chairman, then served briefly as chair when he stepped down. She was party secretary during James Rhodes' chairmanship and remains a member of the county Executive Committee.
She counts her husband's children as her own, four girls and a boy, Manila Grant Shaver III, along with the 12 grandchildren and great-grandchild, plus another great-grandchild expected in a few months.
'Easy to Get Involved'
Taylor was born in Virginia, but his family moved 10 times while he was growing up, sometimes to Tennessee and the Carolinas. When he was in high school, the Taylors moved to Charlotte.
"And I feel like that's where I'm from," he said.
Taylor did his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then earned his medical degree there.
He is an anesthesiologist with FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of James, 8, Sophia, 5, and Joshua, 4. They moved to Moore County from Laurinburg in October and make their home in Forest Creek.
"It is an honor to serve as a delegate to the convention and represent the Republican Party," Taylor says. "I feel fortunate to have this unique opportunity to actively participate in our nation's democratic process."
Taylor admitted he has been doing more than the usual amount of handshaking recently. He did not register as a Republican until last year and is a newcomer to Moore County and the 6th District, but said he had little difficulty securing an offer of support from another county in his bid to become a delegate.
"For me, this is a testimony to others on how easy it is to become active in the Republican Party and how welcoming and open the party is," Taylor said. "It's easy to get involved."
Taylor said the 2008 convention will be "the most tech-savvy convention to date." Credentials have been extended to almost 200 bloggers, and the convention will have a YouTube channel, an interactive forum called Convention INSIDER, and social networking pages on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
"The 2008 Republican Convention promises to be a historic event," he said. "This is the first time the convention has been held in Minnesota since 1892."
Delegates are expected to arrive in St. Paul by today. The first sessions will begin on Monday, and the convention will close Thursday night with McCain's acceptance speech.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at florence @thepilot.com.
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