During the opening of the "Defending the American Dream" summit on Friday, there was a roll call of the states and, just as in national political conventions, a spokesperson backed up by other convention-goers extolled the virtues of that state.
The last state called was North Dakota ... and they announced "Duane Sand" was the State Director of Americans For Prosperity. My head swiveled around when I heard the name ... I recognized it because I had met him seven years earlier.
Flash back to the Republican National Convention of 2000 in Philadelphia when George W. Bush became the GOP nominee to run on the ballot for President. It was the last night of the convention, and we were on the shuttle bus going back to our hotel from the convention center. Sitting in front of me was a young man holding the "North Dakota" sign because they had announced the delegates could take them as they left. I joked with him about him getting the sign ... and we struck up a conversation.
His name was Duane Sand and he was running for Senate. He had been a Navy submarine commander who was now hoping to get into public office, and he was walking across the state of North Dakota to meet its citizens and call attention to his campaign. He gave me his business card and we stayed in touch for a while afterwards ... he did not win the election ... and then lost touch.
Fast forward to last Friday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, when I heard the name of that same young man. I determined to try and find him in the crowds before the day was over which wasn't easy ... there were hundreds of people milling about.
My opportunity to talk with him came late in the afternoon when I was walking through the crowded corridors on my way to a session ... and there was Duane Sand standing in front of me. While I knew he would not remember me, I recalled to him our meeting seven years ago on the shuttle bus while he was walking the state in his bid for U.S. Senate. We talked and he gave me his new business card and said he may be running for office again. Perhaps this time he will achieve his dream.
The world sometimes seems very small....