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Valley Republican receives negative national press

by Merrie Leininger, staff writer

Douglas County’s own made the national news while attending the National Republican Convention in Philadelphia, but not in the way she had hoped.

Beverly Willard, who sits on almost every Republican committee in the area and is also the Douglas County campaign chairman for John Ensign’s senate run and for the George W. Bush presidential campaign, was involved in a tiff with Dave Kotok of the Omaha World-Herald, according to a story by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Willard told The Record-Courier she wasn’t aware the reporter had told her friends they could not eat their lunches in the media tent. She said she chose the table after not finding any places to sit in the cafeteria area.

The delegates set their food down, and she went to wash her hands.

“I guess they already had words between them, but I didn’t know and he was very rude. So I said, ‘Where in the world can a lady eat her lunch?’ He continued to be rude, so I got up and as I was walking out, I gave him a little flip with my hand on the shoulder,” she said.

Willard said she was upset to see the item made national news, especially because no reporter had asked her version of the story.

“It must have been a very slow news day. It wasn’t a huge thing,” Willard said.

She said throughout the convention, the media seemed to be overly aggressive.

“There seemed like a lot of the media were trying to do something to start things. They were pushing and climbing all over you and even our governor’s wife, a reporter stepped on her foot and just kept standing there,” Willard said.

Despite that incident, Willard said she and the rest of the Nevada delegates had a good time.

“It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Philadelphia was wonderful. There were protesters, but we didn’t see any of them. They did a good job of keeping them away from our hotels. We were able to walk two blocks to the buses that took us to the convention, but we never saw anything except in the room on television. They kept a really good handle on it. We felt very safe,” Willard said.

She said the highlights of the event were a performance by the country duo Brooks and Dunn and the speech by Laura Bush, George W.’s wife.

“She will make a wonderful first lady,” Willard said.

She was also thrilled with seeing former Presidents Bush and Ford and Nancy Reagan.

Nevada’s Republican Senate candidates John Ensign and Jon Porter did the state proud, she said.

“Ensign stood right up there and said, ‘We do not want your nuclear waste in Nevada.’ We all came out of there energized,” Willard said.