Ashtabula County and the convention

Ashtabula County and the conventionMichael BennettCleveland Leadership Center

The Republican National Convention is not just a “Cleveland thing.” Community Update checks in occasionally with cities and counties around the region to share what they are doing to engage, assist and prepare within their communities. Jacklyn Krysa of the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau shares an update.

Q: What unique connection does Ashtabula County have to the Republican Party?

A: This summer the Republican Party is coming home – coming home to its roots in the Western Reserve. Joshua Giddings was one of the founding fathers of the Republican Party and he wrote on one of the planks the party was founded on right here in Ashtabula County! The very desk on which that 1860 resolution was written still stands ready in his old law office in Jefferson, Ohio — ready, it would seem, for the next chapter of our history to be inscribed upon its planks. Giddings is calling us — calling us to heed that moral challenge and to act upon it for all people, in all stations, at all times. If one but listens, Giddings’ cry of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness for all mankind” can still be heard.

Q: Why is the Republican National Convention in Cleveland important for Ashtabula County?

A: We have a story to tell in Ashtabula County, and we want folks to hear it, see it and experience it. The Convention is a great opportunity for us to highlight the region’s unique attractions, rich history and natural resources. We certainly will feature our two unique bustling Lake Ports and location on the shores of Lake Erie; our nationally award-winning wines, wineries, and vineyards; and our Olympic/Paralympic training center. But we also want to talk about the potential for the area: affordable property, farmland, natural preserves, three rivers, the ability to become a business hub and our unique position of being within a one-day drive of a large portion of the country’s population. The climate is a gift for agriculture and horticulture, creating bucolic settings for visitors to enjoy.

Q: What do you hope to gain in the short and long term?
A: We want to gain fans. People search near and far to discover authentic experiences. Even as Ohio’s largest county, we can boast very few chain restaurants or big-box options. We are about farm-to-table, local, meet-the-winemaker, real-deal experiences. Learn about us and you’ll want to visit; visit us and you’ll want to return. Short term, we want people to know about us and be tempted by all that we have to offer. Long term, we want people to tell their friends about the hidden gems that they discovered in Ashtabula County and return as super-fans! We want to be the best representation that Northeast Ohio has to offer.

Q: What is Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau doing in preparation for it?

A: Ashtabula County has formed action teams focused on identifying and developing opportunities from the Convention. The Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake is reserved for a group of Republican donors. Some of our lakefront condos have been reserved for convention attendees. We’re reaching out to attendees once they are here with ads in the Destination Cleveland visitors guide and in City Visitor magazine which is distributed in most of the Cleveland hotels. We are submitting Ashtabula County stories to the RNC public relations department.

Q: Who is involved in the efforts? And, what specific actions, programs and initiatives are they planning?

A: The effort to capitalize on the Convention is non-partisan and includes folks from various interests in the county that have unique ideas and perspectives. Representation includes those from the business community, tourism industry, local government, community development, county airport, and historical organizations.
For more information, contact the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau at or 800-337-6746. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags: #2016AshtabulaCounty #RNCAshtabulaCounty #AshtabulaCounty