Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan made three stops in Connecticut recently. One of them was just over the Avon town line at Arnold Chase's Avon Mountain mansion in West Hartford last Sunday.
Some Avon Republicans were there, including Town Councilwoman Pamela Samul, Planning and Zoning Commission member Marianne Clark, Avon attorney and Inland Wetlands Commission member Martha Dean, and Vi Smalley. Dean previously ran for Connecticut attorney general.
"I wanted to go because he was here," Samul said. "Who wouldn't want to meet the next vice president of the United States?"
Attendees, to attend, according to West Hartford Patch, were told to get there around 11 a.m. to alot plenty of time to go through security and the event began around noon.
Ryan shook hands with people, posed for pictures and mingled, she said. While Samul didn't officially meet Ryan, she said she wasn't discouraged. She was close to him at one point and Smalley got to shake his hand, she said.
When Ryan addressed the crowd, Samul's appreciation for him as a candidate grew.
"When you see someone on television, you don’t get a good sense sometimes for who and what they are," Samul said. "But when you see them in person, I think you do get a better sense. It just reinforced every positive image that I had of him."
Ryan spoke without reading off of a script or note cards, Samul said, touching upon an array of issues from the country's "energy dependence" and the importance of having a strong "energy platform" to foreign affairs and Medicare. She left still convinced that he was qualified for the job.
“He made it very clear he would be an excellent vice president. He just really impressed me," Samul said. "I think he has an excellent grasp of the issues. He articulates them well."
As the November election approaches, Samul said that, as a Republican, she is "concerned about the management of the country as far as the fiscal condition is concerned." As a recipient of Medicare and social security, those also remain a national issues of importance to her, as well as addressing the debt being passed on to the next generations. She agreed with Ryan's talk of exploring all energy sources and said that the United States lacks an energy policy. Her concerns also lie overseas where she said, "Soldiers are being murdered by the very police they are training over in Afghanistan."
"I think that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a positive alternative to what we currently have," she said.
Samul said the fundraiser was "exciting" and "fun." Republicans from across the state – including Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson and Lisa Wilson Foley – came not only to meet Ryan but also to interact with others in their party.
Ryan's visit to Connecticut reinforces that while Connecticut doesn't have as many electoral votes and influence in the election as larger states, "we're not forgotten either," Samul said.
"I was thrilled he came to Connecticut," Samul said. "I think that Connecticut is more in play than the talking heads believe."