Councilwoman Lambert will head to NYC for GOP convention

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert may have looked a little out of place trying on a red, white and blue sequined vest outside her house last week.

Next week, however, she will look right at home when wearing it at the Republican National Convention in New York City where she will be one of thousands of delegates cheering on their party's leaders and ideas.

"I don't want to miss anything," Lambert said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Earlier this year, Lambert was selected as one of 38 Washington delegates who will be led by Rep. Jennifer Dunn. Lambert plans on arriving on Aug. 28, two days before the convention opens. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the prime-time speakers for the convention, will be dining with the delegates and will escort them to a Broadway showing of "Phantom of the Opera" on Aug. 29.

On a national level, the convention itself is meant to nominate the party's candidate for president and develop its platform of ideas. On a personal level, it is like no other opportunity to rub shoulders with the biggest names in the Republican Party. Dunn has even arranged breakfasts with members of President Bush's Cabinet.

A lot of the days will be spent listening to speeches and going to meetings. Lambert plans on keeping a journal of her experiences and hopes to talk with some people on her cellular phone while walking the floor of Madison Square Garden.

The days end around 6 or 7 p.m. and after that there are plenty of parties and events. Lambert has many such events on her schedule and she wants to try and hit as many of them as she can. "I don't go to bed until 1 or 2 anyway," Lambert said. "So I am going to make sure I don't leave any party too soon."

Wherever Lambert goes, however, she wants to get her agenda across. She said she will be primarily pushing three issues, the cost of housing, mental illness and its connections to the jail population, and transportation.

"I'm going to turn this into a partial lobbying trip also," Lambert said.

Getting a local voice into the national conversation regarding the issues will be important, Lambert said. She said she has become more attuned to national politics after becoming a more local politician. As a former state legislator who went to a County Council position, Lambert said she has experienced what local politicians feel when they work with the next level of government.

"I can see how one level feels about the next level," she said. "I am a lot more empathetic to the local level and realize how they feel about people, far away, telling them what to do."

Lambert has been to New York before, but never under an aegis of such national relevance. There are millions of things to do in the "City that Never Sleeps," but Lambert said she will be sticking to the issues.

"I've already done all the touristy things," Lambert said. "I can always shop, so I'll do that at a different time."

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