House leader’s streak of consecutive GOP conventions to end

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After attending three straight Republican national conventions, House Majority Leader Brad Jones does not plan to visit Cleveland next week for the 2016 convention, and he’s not alone among GOP lawmakers.

Only three of the 34 House Republicans plan to attend the convention and none of the Senate’s six Republicans plan to be there, aides told the News Service when asked about attendance plans. Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman, who has been actively supporting Donald Trump’s campaign, plans to attend, as well as Reps. Paul Frost of Auburn and Keiko Orrall of Lakeville, who will take over for Chanel Prunier as one of the state’s two Republican National Committee members after the convention.

Despite a heavy workload, Democratic legislative leaders do not plan to hold formal sessions during the last two weeks in July so that members can attend the major party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Weekend sessions appear likely since formal sessions are scheduled to end for the year on Sunday, July 31.

While noting the previous conventions have been held in August and featured candidates that he has supported – George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney – Jones has another reason to stay back: he is one of six conference committee members charged with negotiating a consensus energy diversification bill.

Jones said he expects friction and protests at both major party conventions, since Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have “high negatives” reflecting disenchantment among votes with their choices. “I don’t envy the task of law enforcement personnel,” he said.

— Written by Michael P. Norton

Copyright State House News Service