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Republican convention: Day 1 with a Central Coast delegate

Mike Stoker, right, poses with other members of the California delegation on Monday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Mike Stoker, right, poses with other members of the California delegation on Monday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Before he even got to the arena, Mike Stoker, an agricultural lawyer from Santa Barbara who is serving as a delegate to Donald Trump, noted a difference in the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention from previous ones he’s attended.

Riding in the bus from the hotel were two secret service agents, and they had a police escort.

“This is my fifth convention, and neither situation has ever happened before,” Stoker wrote in an email.

From the convention floor, he said he felt that Monday’s theme — “Make America Safe Again” — applies to many issues, not just policing and national security. Being safe, Stoker explained, also means ensuring that the economy provides for a good quality of life in the homeland and securing borders.

As an agricultural lawyer in California, Stoker discussed working for the interests of farmers who often rely on illegal immigrants for labor. Stoker is a proponent of extending three-year work visas to immigrants that can be renewed upon returning to Mexico. In his experience, he said, “99 percent could care less about citizenship.”

When asked if he thought Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexico border plan is too vague, Stoker was confident that the details will come later. In fact, he said he hopes to be an adviser to Trump on that issue.

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