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Delegate celebrates 81st birthday

ST. PAUL - Arles Kumpula waited a full year for Tuesday.

Or maybe it was more like 81 years.

The New York Mills woman, whose Republican roots stretch back to Barry Goldwater, celebrated her 81st birthday as a Republican National Convention alternate delegate Tuesday, a year after her family's birthday gift was money to allow her to attend the convention.

"I have been looking forward to this for a whole year," she said shortly after the rest of the Minnesota GOP delegation sang her "Happy Birthday."

She has had a workout so far during this, her first, national convention. "My legs told me I did."

Kumpula, who taught first grade in Perham for 30 years, said she was disappointed President Bush could not attend the convention in person, but that has not diminished the excitement she feels.

Republican politics fits her well, she said.

"I believe their issues," she said. "I believe we have to give back to the people a lot."


State Capitol reporters are blogging from the Republican National Convention at

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.