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Republican Mitt Romney campaigns in Michigan on Aug. 24, 2012. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)
Republican Mitt Romney campaigns in Michigan on Aug. 24, 2012. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Expat dispatches: What Republicans want – jobs, Paul Ryan and, please, no social issues Add to ...

Republicans gather in Tampa, Fla., for their national convention this week to officially nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate and to celebrate the party.

We asked the Republican expats in our U.S. Election 2012: Canadians in America series to tell us what they want Mr. Romney and others to accomplish this week. Here are some of their responses.

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Carla Swanson, from Saskatoon, lives and works in Big Lake, Minn.:

One of the themes of the Obama campaign of 2008 was that “Help is on the way.” I am expecting a very different message from the Republican National Convention this coming week: Government – get out of the way!

I believe the Romney/Ryan message will be a vision of reduced spending, smaller government and lower taxes. This will fit well with the convention theme of “We Built This.”

I am looking for a commitment to an America that lives within its means and encourages individual success and responsibility. This describes the pivotal difference between the visions of the Obama administration and the Republican ticket of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan; the idea that one needs the government to be a type of pacifier and parent versus the idea of a free market in which individuals can thrive based on hard work, ingenuity and a healthy climate for job growth.

I am looking forward to vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s remarks on Wednesday night. He makes me think of the millions of immigrants who came to America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries filled with the hope of a brighter future in a new land of freedom where bloodlines and social status didn’t matter.

I am also looking forward to hearing from Ann Romney, former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice and Florida attorney-general Pam Bondi. Conservative female voices are sometimes ridiculed. This convention will be a great opportunity for them to be heard.

Jeff Gebhart, from rural Saskatchewan and Calgary, works as an IT manager in Oak Ridge, Tenn.:

I remember once, years ago, I saw someone with a t-shirt that said on it: “Some people say that I have A.D.D. They just don’t under…Oh look, a chicken.” So, what am I looking for at the Republican National Convention: Can the Republicans keep from chasing chickens all over the place?

What then constitutes chasing a chicken? Well we’ve seen ample evidence recently. Social issues are the distracting chickens of the Republican Party. Right now, what I’m looking to see happen at the convention is a renewed focus by the GOP on jobs and the economy. These are the issues where they can defeat President Barack Obama, and should be able to do so convincingly. The more time they spend being pulled off on chickens like abortion and same-sex marriage, the less time they’re spending delivering the message that they need to deliver.

I know the press is going to come into the convention carrying a crate full of chickens. I want to see the GOP ignore the chickens and focus on the economy, jobs, and giving Mr. Romney the support he needs to win in November.

Meredith Miller, from Toronto, now lives in Pittsburgh, Penn., and works in communications for a health-focused non-profit.

As all eyes shift to Tampa next week, the world will have a chance to hear from top Republicans what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have planned.

As I pore over the news and Twitterverse next week for updates, there are two things I’ll be looking for:

One, as a Canadian, I am energized (no pun intended) that a key part of Mr. Romney’s economic plan is to move ahead with Keystone XL, and work closely with Canada and Mexico to expand North American energy resources.

After four years of an administration that gave Canada the cold shoulder – from delaying Keystone XL, to the Buy American provision in the stimulus bill – a Romney/Ryan White House would give Canada that ‘seat at the table’ it so covets, one which has been lost in recent years. I hope to hear more about their energy plans during the speeches next week. (Full disclosure: When I was a public affairs strategist in Washington, I worked on Keystone XL issues.)

Second, I’m looking forward to hearing Paul Ryan speak. There’s no question he’s a numbers guy, and is always ready to poke holes in anything the current administration is pushing. I really hope that he uses the convention as an opportunity to clarify to voters what will happen with Medicare, as well as their other spending priorities. I’d like to see him find a candid way to clarify all the discrepancies and false assumptions that are circling.

I attended the Republican convention in Minneapolis in 2008. I heard the speeches. The energy in the room is incredible. Though I’m not attending this year, I’m excited about what “America’s Comeback Team” has in store.

Eleven weeks to go…

Keith Vincent, from Newfoundland and Labrador, now works and studies in Boynton Beach, Fla.:

As a conservative, I am hoping that the Republican National Convention next week serves as a demonstration of unity for both the party and the conservative cause. Now that Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan as his running mate we now have a clear picture of what will come in the next few months of campaigning.

Speaking with new friends and acquaintances here in Florida, people either love Paul Ryan or hate him. While people may be neutral about Romney, they are certainly passionate (one way or the other) about Mr. Ryan. I currently work in academia and their dislike of both candidates has been vocal.

I also hope the convention serves as a rallying of the conservative base of the Republican Party, so they get fired up and go to the polls in November.

Hopefully the only hot air in Tampa is from Isaac and that the Romney/Ryan ticket truly provides some substantive solutions to our nation’s problems. I hope we can put our “Ron Paul” and libertarian differences behind us and unite behind a ticket that has a chance of defeating the incumbent.

We’ve tried the Democratic plan and it failed. Now conservatives, such as myself, see an opportunity to build on the 2010 midterm election. A lot is dependent on hope… and change… just not the 2008 kind!

Have a question for our expats? Please fill out our form, email us, or leave a comment below.

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