CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The four-day Republican National Convention in Cleveland starts on Monday.
Donald Trump will accept the nomination and present his plan for becoming president. But behind the scenes, one of the most important people is from the Mahoning Valley.
Youngstown native Dave O’Neil has been working 18-hour days to prepare for the RNC.
“This is fantastic. I never really imagined getting an opportunity to work at a Republican National Convention. Being from Youngstown, that’s a little odd. I’m sure some Youngstowners have worked on the Democratic National Convention. I don’t know too many who have worked for a Republican National Convention before, but I’m so proud to be from Youngstown and so proud to be representing northeast Ohio,” O’Neil said.
He went to St. Luke’s School as a child and graduated from Poland Seminary High School. O’Neil then graduated from The Ohio State University and started as a newspaper reporter before getting into politics behind the scenes.
He has been the Franklin County Auditor’s communications director for the last seven years. Now, he’s in charge of getting the message out around the world about Donald Trump. As deputy press secretary for the event, he explained his primary responsibilities.
“To make sure that we are effectively spreading our message and are effectively spreading Cleveland as this world class city that it is, and also bringing in the entire Republican Party and unifying that party here in July,” O’Neil said.
Bringing a divided party together will not be easy. Many established Republicans feel Trump is distancing himself from the party and wants the convention to be all about him. Trump still has to pick a vice president for the ticket, and we haven’t even heard who’s speaking at the convention yet.
“We try to keep a few secrets. We try to keep more people interested in the event. We like these types of questions. So, we’ll be releasing that very close to the starting date of July 18,” O’Neil said.
The convention is normally in September, so the election cycle is much longer this time around. But, O’Neil is ready for his part in the convention, promoting Donald Trump and pushing him toward the White House.
“It’s going to be very exciting, this entire process. This entire election cycle has been unprecedented in terms of media attention and media scrutiny, and I think that will only ramp up as we get closer to November,” O’Neil said.
The convention starts Monday, and although you may not see O’Neil, his role cannot be overlooked.