Bayfield man gets moment in convention spotlight

Colorado delegates Luke Kirk, left, of Bayfield and Ryan Call step up to the microphone during the roll call Tuesday on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

Colorado delegates Luke Kirk, left, of Bayfield and Ryan Call step up to the microphone during the roll call Tuesday on the floor of the Republican National Convention.

TAMPA, Fla. – Luke Kirk paced on the red carpet inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, clutching a half sheet of paper and reading to himself the words he wrote.

The 21-year-old was about to address the Republican National Convention – on national television.

Kirk, a Ron Paul supporter, was chosen to help cast Colorado’s votes for the GOP presidential nomination as part of a deal between Paul and Mitt Romney supporters.

The ritual roll call of the states began with delegates from Alabama, Alaska and American Samoa talking about the splendors of their homes.

Then, the camera lights snapped on in front of Kirk, and his face was up on the big screen – as well as on cable TV screens back home, where grandparents, aunts, uncles and family watched.

Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, did most of the talking before he turned the microphone over to Kirk.

“I am honored to be the youngest member of the Colorado delegation, and I’d like to encourage youth everywhere to get involved, stay involved. Let’s take this nation back,” Kirk said.

Kirk knew he had about 10 seconds to address the world and had to choose his words well.

“As a young person, I thought it was beholden to me to give a message to young people,” said Kirk, an incoming Fort Lewis College freshman.

“It was a little bit nerve-wracking. I think the biggest crowd I spoke before was about 600 or 700, so this was definitely a huge upgrade, especially with the additional media presence,” he said.

Call said Kirk is the kind of person who can help counter President Barack Obama’s “same old tired promises” that he is making on campaign stops at Colorado colleges this week.

“This young man understands the stakes of the election,” Call said.

jhanel@durangoherald.com