CLEVELAND — Wisconsin's youngest GOP convention delegate grew up hearing stories from her dad about House Speaker Newt Gingrich, GOP strategist Karl Rove and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
On her first night in Cleveland at a party the Wisconsin and Mississippi delegations attended honoring RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Kathryn Heitman ran into Barbour in an elevator and asked if she could take a selfie.
It was a surreal moment for Heitman, 31, a legislative aide in the state Capitol, whose father passed away seven years ago.
"It's been touching," Heitman said. "This is the world he and I always dreamed I would be in."
Heitman brought copies of several books by her Republican heroes hoping to get autographs. Her mom, whom she brought as a guest, asked her how she remembers all the names.
Heitman rode with about 40 other members of the Wisconsin delegation from Pewaukee to get to Cleveland. She had to leave Lyndon Station at 2 a.m. Saturday to make the bus in time.
Heitman, who is representing the 3rd Congressional District and bound to vote for Donald Trump, was originally elected to be an alternate. Another delegate, Julian Bradley, and two other alternates all dropped out for personal reasons within two weeks of the convention. That left Heitman, making her the state's youngest RNC delegate.