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North Salem Resident Attends GOP Convention For First Time

Howard Hellwinkel attended his first Republican convention in July. Photo Credit: Howard Hellwinkel
Howard Hellwinkel poses with Dinesh D'Souza at the GOP convention. Photo Credit: Howard Hellwinkel

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- It was the week of a lifetime for North Salem resident Howard Hellwinkel.

Hellwinkel, a longtime Republican, got to attend his first Republican convention in Cleveland last month.

"It was a wonderful experience," Hellwinkel, who was a guest of a delegate, said. "It was like an adult Disney World for conservatives."

At the convention, Hellwinkel said he got to meet people like him, who wanted to see the country get back on the right track.

"They're very unhappy with the Republican establishment," Hellwinkel said.

During the primaries, Hellwinkel said he supported Sen. Ted Cruz, but now supports Donald Trump.

"I support anybody who has the track record of success that Donald Trump has," Hellwinkel said. "He sees the problems very clearly and is offering concrete solutions. He wants to reduce the debt, he wants to get us fair trade deals. He supports law and order and economic opportunity that has been taken away from us by progressives."

Hellwinkel said he is not concerned about some of the statements Trump made that has made offended people, saying he was more concerned about Hillary Clinton's record over the last 40 years.

One of the most dramatic moments of the convention was when Cruz did not endorse Trump during his speech, causing him to get booed off the stage. Hellwinkel was right in the thick of things, sitting with the New York delegation, who led the booing.

"Ted Cruz is a man of principles," Hellwinkel said. "He believes in principal over party. He was conflicted. He had to make a choice whether to support the man like he said he would or not support him. I felt sorry for the man."

Hellwinkel said his favorite speeches were delivered by Ann Coulter, Rudy Guiliani and Ivanka Trump. He also enjoyed getting to talk to Lou Dobbs and get to meet people like Rick Perry, Charles Krauthamer, Megyn Kelly and Dinesh D'Souza. 

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