A plethora of personalities attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH last week, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Actor Scott Baio and Skagway’s very own Kathy Hosford.
Hosford, owner of Chilkoot Trail Outpost and chair of Skagway’s Legislative District 33, was one of 28 Alaskan delegates to be sent to the RNC last week, and the only representative from Skagway.
From the selection process to the floor of the convention, she said it was a whirlwind process, but a rewarding one.
“It was probably one of the most remarkable events of my life,” she said.
Of the 28 delegates from Alaska, 12 were for Senator Ted Cruz, 11 for Donald Trump and five for Senator Marco Rubio. Hosford was one of the 11 for Trump, the Republican nominee for US president.
The Alaskan delegates received attention when the group was announced as having 28 votes for Trump. Supporters of Cruz and Rubio wanted recognition for their proper affiliation, and so the group of 28 was given a special roll call, with each delegate giving his or her chosen candidate.
“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal- we’re only 28. But I thought it was important too, because that’s who we are as Alaskans. That’s what surprised everybody. We only have a few, but it’s important,” she said.
Although all delegates intended to back Trump, the nominee, they still wanted their recognition for their commitment to Cruz.
She said her support for Trump goes back to his roots in Dyea.
“They had nothing. His grandfather came through here,” she said. “A lot of people are jealous of his wealth. It started with hard work.”
Friedrich Drumpf arrived in the United States in 1885. He later changed his name to Frederick Trump and in the late 1890s, along with thousands of stampeders, headed north in search of gold.
But instead of finding riches in a river, he found it in a business model, opening the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, with locations on Bennett Lake and in Whitehorse, YT.
The restaurant offered a variety of services to miners, both upstairs and down, and filled Trump’s pockets with $582,000 USD. He returned to Germany with his pregnant wife, but was deported and sent back to the states for dodging the required draft.
He died of pneumonia in 1918 and left behind valued real estate, which built what is now the Trump Empire.
But it’s not just his gold rush days that make Hosford stand behind Trump’s campaign. His successful children are an indicator of the kind of man he is, as is his thick skin.
“I don’t agree with being rude and ugly by any means, but you have to be thick enough skinned to throw those punches. Redeem yourself later, but you have to make sure that your opposite is thinking about not being coronated,” she said.
Hosford was selected from hundreds of Alaskans throughout the state who checked “Yes” for being a possible delegate at the RNC. After going through a lengthy selection process, she was called to be a first alternate, and a week later made an official delegate.
She said she a spontaneous sort and agreed to the position not knowing what to expect. But while in Cleveland, she was received with open arms, given credentials and felt protected and important as she walked onto the floor of the RNC.
Seated directly behind New Hampshire delegates, she and 27 other Alaskans had excellent views of the stage and each night watched a plethora of speakers, ranging from Benghazi survivors to mothers of victims, all speaking in support of the Republican party.
Being on the floor was an unforgettable experience for Hosford, and she wanted to share the wealth. So when she ran into a friend whose son didn’t have the necessary credentials, she traded her pass for a view from a skybox above the floor.
Below she saw lights, cameras and scads of delegates, politicians and reporters. But to her right, she saw a familiar face, Dr. Ben Carson, a former Republican presidential candidate.
She called out to him, chatted and took a few photos.
“I just love that man. He is just amazing. He would have been my first choice hands down,” she said. “He’s strong, and he is so incredibly balanced in his brain.”
Hosford was scheduled to leave before the closing ceremonies so as to beat the thousands of people flying home post-convention. But her flight was delayed, delayed again and eventually cancelled, meaning Hosford was able to stay to the end and feel victorious in a throng of balloons and allies.
She believes that Trump will indeed secure the presidential election, so long as only registered voters are permitted to cast their vote.
“Every American has the right to vote. Nobody else does,” Hosford said.
“I’m so grateful to live here, and I’m glad they want to live here too,” she said. “But come because you want to be an American. Come because you want to be what we are, what we’ve built in this country and be a part of building that.”
Hosford, like Trump, believes that America needs to be made great again, and she thinks Trump is the man to do it.
“I really believe in his heart he would like to see us strong and be America again.”