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As GOP convention kicks off in Cleveland, what to expect in the week to come

by AirTalk®

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Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, bangs the gavel to officially the open the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Alex Wong/Getty Images


The Republican National Convention began today in Cleveland, Ohio, with delegates and protesters alike swarming the Midwestern city. On Thursday evening, Donald Trump is expected to be formally named the Republican candidate for president.

We kick off our coverage with an inside look at what California delegates anticipate, along with a visit from AirTalk's political experts, who share their thoughts on the week to come.

California sent 172 delegates to northeastern Ohio. The delegation was assigned to stay at a water park 60 miles away from downtown Cleveland, but they were given a prominent position near the stage inside the convention hall.

Seema Mehta, a political writer for the LA Times who has been covering the California delegation, said that this seating arrangement was no accident.

"The Trump campaign wants to have a nice picture of unity coming out of this convention, and unlike some of the other delegations, California's delegation is 100 percent pro-Trump," she said.

"That's because our primary happened after the race was effectively decided, and also because under our primary rules the campaign picks the delegates. So, all 172 delegates are Trump delegates."

Noel Irwin Hentschel, chief executive officer for AmericanTours International, is one of these delegates. She is the founder of Business Women Leaders for Trump and is representing California's 33rd Congressional District, which includes the Westside of Los Angeles and the South Bay.

A first-time delegate and member of the party platform committee, Hentschel emphasized that the convention will be focused on jobs and security — both economic and national. She believes that this approach can help bring the country together after the tumult of the past several weeks.

"I hope that this will unite our country. I think the way we get united is by getting America working again and making sure America is safe," she said.

She called California "a place of opportunity," and she said that a President Trump would help to create the pro-business climate necessary for all parts of the state to succeed.

"I grew up in South Los Angeles — I have a great affection for 'south of the 10' — and I've been there recently and it has deteriorated more and more over the last 10 years," Hentschel said.

"I do believe President Trump is going to make a difference to the communities that are really struggling across our country," she said.

Hentschel suggested Trump's business background will give him the experience necessary to create positive change.

"We need to run the United States of America like a [successful] business. That can only happen with Donald Trump," Hentschel said.

There will also be several Californians with speaking slots during the convention, including Trump's daughter Tiffany and professional golfer Natalie Gulbis. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes much of the southern Central Valley, will speak Tuesday.

Jamiel Shaw Sr., an Angeleno whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2008, will speak in a prime-time slot tonight.


Seema Mehta, political writer for the L.A. Times; Mehta has been covering the California delegation. She tweets from @LATSeema

Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Chancellor’s Professor of education and political science at UC Berkeley

Zach Courser, Research Director of the Dreier Roundtable and visiting assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College

Noel Irwin Hentschel, chief executive officer for AmericanTours International and CEO and founder of Business Women Leaders for Trump; she is a delegate for California’s 33rd Congressional District, which includes the Westside of Los Angeles and the South Bay

Adam Winkler, a professor at the U.C.L.A. School of Law and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)

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