FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


RNC Delegate Sounding Board

Jay Beyrouti
Jay Beyrouti
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Jay Beyrouti, 60, Redington Beach
Chairman, Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee

“Romney’s background is creating business, creating jobs. He’s an executive and he’s a businessman…Throughout his career, every time he touched something, it turned out to be successful. I’m a small businessman, self-made... I started unloading trucks at Sears, and I now have a $50 million real estate company... so I believe in individualism and I truly believe in the American entrepreneurship that will drive the economy and not the government.”

Dana Swanson
Dana Swanson
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Dana Swanson, 40, DeBary (Volusia County)
Volusia County state committeewoman; Republican Party of Florida Congressional District 3 chair; Florida Federation of Young Republicans national committeewoman

“I believe that Mitt Romney will be a strong business sense and the government does not create jobs and we need to streamline government so businesses will grow.”

Linda Ivell
Linda Ivell
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Linda Ivell, 57, Lakeland
State party chairman for Congressional District 12 and state committeewoman from Polk County

“As a realtor, I’m an entrepreneur too, because I’m a small business too, to myself. I make my own jobs. I make my own destiny. That’s the American story. Is the fact that we all make our own destiny. The answer’s not Washington, D.C. if somebody that lives next to me, or the next state over has a problem, and I want to help them, what sense does it make for me to send $100 or $1000 to Washington, D.C., 30% of that money gets spent coming back down here? Doesn’t it make sense that I find out exactly how I can help somebody and I take care of it locally? That’s what this is about. It’s about efficiency, and it’s about creating jobs and getting our country back to work. The answer is not government.”

Gary Lee
Gary Lee
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Gary Lee, 79, Fort Myers
Lee County Republican Chairman

“First of all, there’s the proven record by Governor Romney of having addressed so many business challenges in his career that he knows all the elements that have to be applied to a successful formula. Secondly, Congressman Ryan knows the budget inside and out and he has very courageously stepped up to offer a potential remedy, not necessarily the remedy, but a remedy and if we’re gravely serious like Governor Christie was saying last night that we need to do this, no better person to come to the table than Paul Ryan to help on the spending side of the equation, which is out of control.”

Steve Czonstka
Steve Czonstka
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Steve Czonstka, 66, (Alternate, at-large delegate) Niceville
Okaloosa County State GOP Committeeman

“I think this ticket is outstanding, especially when Paul Ryan was selected as vice president. Mitt Romney represents the return to the principles of private enterprise. He is not a career politician. He represents the good things that come from free enterprise, individual responsibility, less government… Coming from Okaloosa County, we are the most conservative part of the state of Florida. Mitt Romney came when he was running for president in 2008. We had a fundraiser called the Panhandle Victory celebration. We invited all the 208 presidential candidates. The only one who showed up was Mitt Romney, so we feel loyalty to him… He represents restoring the American dream, instead of having government being the driver.”

Clyde Simpson
Clyde Simpson
[Photo: Amy Keller]

Clyde Simpson, 70, Monticello
Chairman of the Republican Party of Jefferson County

“It’s all about jobs. I’m a small businessperson from Monticello, Florida. Started my own business in 1996. It’s done very well. I do event hosting, I do meetings and weddings and parties and reunions and all kinds of things in a very small town, largely dependent on the population of Tallahassee to survive, to grow and the last three years has just been terrible. We’ve seen private events retreat, cut back to the bare essentials. People are just so unsure of their future and what lies ahead, by the same token, were unsure of what to do, we have not expanded, even though there were times we thought we needed to prepare for the future, but we just didn’t think we could afford it. We’ve reduced our number of employees simply because of cash flow, so all of these things being said, I’m very conscious of my costs and I’m very conscious of the revenues and there’s two things that are musts, they have to happen for a small business to survive and that’s either you raise income, or you lower expenses. You don’t go borrow money and create an additional expense. So, and the same thing applies to our government. We’ve got to reduce that debt.”