UPDATE: Here is the video of Sher Valenzuela’s speech to the Republican National Committee.
Milford businesswoman Sher Valenzuela, the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor in Delaware is scheduled to speak Tuesday evening in a prime-time address to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Valenzuela will take the stage in Tampa shortly after Republican Chairman Reince Preibus of Wisconsin and she will be followed by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Others appearing Tuesday include Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Keynote Speaker Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).
“I am honored to be part of the Republican National Convention and to support our candidate for President, Mitt Romney. Our two campaigns share many of the same principles. We know that small business is the life-blood of our nation’s economy,” said Valenzuela. “I look forward to sharing our story at the convention.”
Valenzuela’s small business story made her an attractive speaker for the GOP, whose Tuesday schedule is framed around entrepreneurship and small business.
Valenzuela, along with husband Eli and partner Ashley Wolfe were named the “2012 Small Business People of the Year” for Delaware by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the operation of their Milford business, First State Manufacturing. The business makes everything from protective padding for Major League Baseball umpires and seating for local restaurant chains like Grotto Pizza, to engine covers for U.S. armed forces aircraft and combat vests for the Israeli Army.
The company was started in the 1990?s in Sher’s garage with one sewing machine. The area was so small that fabric for big jobs had to be cut on the driveway. Today the company operates from a 70,000 square facility with over 70 employees.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “We are thrilled to have Sher on our Convention schedule and excited to share her story with not only the people of Delaware, but also the entire country.”
The mother of two special needs children, among Sher’s other credits is the founding of a public/private partnership between her company, Delaware State University and the city of Milford to build an accelerator that will serve as a clearinghouse for starting and growing business in the state of Delaware. She is also a gubernatorial appointee to the state’s Workforce Investment Board and has served on the board of the economic development council for her hometown of Milford.
It is unknown if Valenzuela is the first Milfordian to address a national major-party convention in prime time. In 2000, Milford natives and gubernatorial candidates John Burris (Republican) and Ruth Ann Minner (Democrat) spoke to their respective conventions during the daytime portion of the proceedings.