the bistro off broadway
Ryan and Lyn
Living the Dream
The Dream is Alive and well!
By Lyn Bliss

Bob Robinson tends to give me great titles in his comments to me. When he received the picture of Paul Ryan and me, he sent back, “The dream is alive and well!” That seemed to be an appropriate title for this last installment of the most exciting year I have ever lived!

As this is being written, the polls are 18+ hours away from opening.  It has been a demanding campaign. As I said to a friend, “This old broad is exhausted!”

At the same time, this campaign has offered opportunities and experiences that have never been in my life -- as any of you who have read my previous reports know -- they are things that have only been dreams.

You have read about the convention and the first Romney motorcade. Since that first driving experience, it has been a whirlwind where my days have run together and my suitcase has not been unpacked!

After the most recent tour with Paul Ryan, I sent the following comment to Cindy Pike, “It is a demanding time..........but, Cindy, I am so VERY glad you were finally able to go and have the experience! No amount of talking about it really prepares you for what it is like!”

Cindy Pike is our Darke County Republican Executive Committee Chair and has repeatedly wanted to drive in one of the numerous campaign motorcades for which I was tasked with finding drivers. However, Cindy also serves the residents of Darke County as our County Clerk of Courts. She was not willing to take off time from her job in order to do this. So, when the chance to drive in the Paul Ryan motorcade came up (that would be Friday evening and Saturday), she was the first person I called. She finally was able to go.

“It was an honor, a privilege and an awesome experience to have driven in the Ryan motorcade. It was the most exciting drive I’ve ever had through the streets of Cincinnati! Meeting our future Vice President and his wife was an experience all its own. They are very warm genuine people. I feel privileged to have met them. If I could, I’d go again in a heartbeat!” said Pike of the experience.

For me, the task of finding drivers all began with getting two drivers for Mia Love when she came to Ohio to speak to the Ohio Federation of Republican Women. Since then, frankly, I have lost count of how many different events and motorcades I have found drivers for. Our Darke County residents have stepped up to the plate, as have Ohio Federation of Republican Women (OFRW) members and Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute (JADOLI) graduates.

Darke County Residents who have driven are: Cindy Pike, Dori Howdieshell, Ed Ault, Jeannie Miller, Wendell Miller, Sue Leisey, Jana Kolling and me.

“Driving in the Romney motorcade was an exciting eye opening experience to see the support, enthusiasm  and energy of the people’s voice in Ohio and what they want for America.  The positive reaction of people standing along the motorcade everywhere we went across Ohio for 350 miles with signs for Romney/Ryan and waving said it all. Seeing the press and cameramen working so hard to accurately report to the people what was happening at the campaign events and the sheer number of people attending was so impressive.  The attendance of 12,000 at the event in Defiance was just amazing and being part of it gave me Goosebumps.   And last but not least was meeting Mitt Romney and shaking his hand. That was a thrill of a lifetime and when he thanked me individually for my efforts in helping with his campaign by serving as a driver in the motorcade, I truly understood what a great and caring leader he is.” said Jeannie Miller of her experiences.

“On Oct. 24, 25, 26 I was given an opportunity to drive in Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s motorcade. The motorcade traveled from Cincinnati, to Columbus, to Defiance and then to the Toledo area. From the night before Governor Romney boarded his plane, through the next morning to continue his rally into Iowa, the experience was a real education in how a political campaign operates, and all of the security that is involved.  The Secret Service was very friendly and helpful.  The campaign staff appreciated our help. Over the three day period, we drove in excess of 350 miles. The most memorable part of the trip was driving from Interstate 75 to Defiance on county roads.  The people along the road were displaying flags and banners supporting Governor Romney.” explained Wendell Miller.

"Besides playing in my son's band for the 7th grade talent show, this was by far the coolest thing I've ever done!" said Kolling.

Two of our drivers were lined up at the last minute. They were putting their suitcases in the car to go to the Dayton Fixed Base Operator (as in private airport), when they were cancelled because the plane had arrived early. It was a shame, as they had packed and prepared at the very last minute. A special thank you to Sue Leisey and Frankie Neuman for their efforts!

Ed Ault and Dori Howdieshell were the stars – they were ready to go at a moment’s notice and did the most tours. The two of them, along with Sue Leisey were tapped to drive the VIPs who came in for the West Chester event. They were given the job of picking the dignitaries up at the various airports in the Cincinnati area and driving them to their hotels on Friday before the event -- then, reversing the process on Saturday.

Howdieshell was coming off of a trip with the Ann Romney motorcade that ended in Cleveland. She drove the big black Suburban back through Greenville Thursday night, where she did manage to get a couple hours sleep. She picked up Ault and Leisey on Friday morning and they were off to Cincinnati.

All of the shuttle drivers had the experience of mingling with and meeting many of the dignitaries that were in attendance at the West Chester event.

Ault transported Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, his aide Pierce Moore and his security officer Lamond Bridges. He also drove Minnesota Senator Norman Coleman, Alabama Representative Martha Roby, Sarah Haley (works with Bill O’Reilly) and numerous Romney staffers.

“What a wonderful experience.  I also met the next President of the United States of America, Mitt Romney. From October 24th through November 3rd I had the extreme privilege of serving as a driver with the Romney/Ryan Campaign.  I drove in excess of 1,200 miles, providing transportation for Romney staffers and numerous U.S. Senators and the Governor of the state of Mississippi.  I am honored to have served a small part in the election of the next President of this great country.” Explained Ault.

Leisey transported Governor Sam Brownback and two aides. On Saturday, she transported Bettina Inclan (RFB staffer), Hector Barreto (Latino Coalition), and Rosario Marin (U.S. Treasurer for George Bush).

“What an honor to be able to help with this. The experience was more than I had expected. I had an opportunity to meet many that were a part of the campaign as well as others not involved directly.  I was most impressed and honored to meet and have a conversation with the Commander of Marine One, that I will share with you at a later time.” Remarked Leisey.

Howdieshell drove untold miles with various motorcades and also with the shuttle service on Friday and Saturday in Cincinnati. She was one of several who were willing to go time and again, and on short notice. Among those she met and/or transported in Cincinnati were: Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Senator Jim Talent (Mo.), Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (Mass.), Senator Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Gov. John Sununu (N.H.), Gov. Bob McDonnell (Va.), Senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), Senator John and Cindy McCain (Az), Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.), Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.), Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, Tagg Romney and Josh Romney.

“This was an experience of a lifetime, having the honor to drive for our future President and his wife; and all the Governors, Senators and other dignitaries. I'd do it again in a minute!” exclaimed Howdieshell.

One of the JADOLI and OFRW volunteers, Lynda Bowers, from Medina, even drove down to my house and stayed overnight so she would be ready to pick up passengers at the Dayton airport the next morning.

Having dealt with many of the Romney for President staffers and many of the Secret Service personnel involved in keeping the candidate and his traveling entourage safe – all I can say about them is that they are truly a dedicated and professional group of people who have given up their home lives, often being away from spouses and children, to devote a great portion of this year to the campaign. They are all to be respected and commended for the job they have done!

I would like to put in a shameless plug here for the Darke County Residents, OFRW Members and JADOLI graduates who gave of their time when asked: without their stepping up to the plate and volunteering their time, this job would have been impossible. They were willing to go on a moment’s notice and performed admirably.

And, a final thank you to Michelle Clark, the Ohio Event Coordinator for the Romney Campaign. No matter what time of day (or night) she was contacted, she was sweet, kind and understanding……..and ALWAYS got the problem solved. Thank you, Michelle!

Personally, all I can say is: doing this scheduling of drivers (though hectic at times) and the actual driving in various motorcades (allowing me to meet Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Jana Ryan)  -- was just the cherry on top of the sundae that has been the living of a dream! I hope that when I finally meet Ann Romney in person it will be when she is a resident of the White House!

Jeannie Miller, Wendell Miller, Ed Ault and Dori Howdieshell
Ed with dignitaries
Lyn in Van
Cindy in van
Ryan plane landing
Ryn arriving
Ryan and Cindy
Jana at Mitt's bus
Romney van line up
Romney at Jet Machine
Romney Leaving

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