What You Should Know About Tuesday’s Republican Convention Speakers

As the GOP kicks off its convention in Tampa, Florida this week, ThinkProgress will keep you updated every morning on everything you need to know about the featured speakers and we’ll live blog the festivities every night starting at 7:00 PM. Here is a rundown of Tuesday’s luminaries:

Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Santorum ran for president this year on his conservative social values, claiming to have been endorsed by God. Santorum, a Catholic, is a staunch opponent of Obamacare’s birth control coverage provision and has repeatedly criticized Mitt Romney for laying the groundwork for the president’s health care reform law. Santorum ran one of the most anti-gay campaigns in history, and fundraised off of Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality by deeming it a “tragic day” in American history.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)


Christie has consistently opposed labor rights in his state, cheering the firing of public employees and standing strong against any increase to the minimum wage while handing out record numbers of corporate tax giveaways for wealthy corporations. Christie has also rejected expanding the Medicaid program under Obamacare to the low-income residents in New Jersey who struggle to afford health insurance.

Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)

Haley is in denial about her party’s disregard for women’s rights, claiming that “there is no war on women” because “women are doing well.” But she has consistently advocated for policies that undermine women’s health, including vetoing rape crisis center funding, cosponsoring radical “personhood” legislation during her time in the South Carolina legislature, and rejecting federal funds to expand Medicaid services that will disproportionately benefit women. Haley also doesn’t believe women care about contraception.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)

Walker is best known for signing a budget bill aimed at busting public sector unions, leading to mass protests in the Wisconsin capital and a recall effort. A devotee to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, he has pushed for radical anti-voter measures and undone pay discrimination laws, all the while failing to keep his promises when it comes to his state’s economy.

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH)

Kasich signed a bill into law — later repealed through referendum — that would have bust Ohio’s public sector unions, cut spending on education and health services, and advocated for radical anti-voter laws. His budget cuts were so drastic that one Ohio town was forced to turn off its lights. Kasich has let the oil and banking sectors take charge in his state, opening up state parks for oil fracking and slashing taxes for banks.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA)

The Virginia governor supported a mandatory ultrasound bill described as “state-sponsored rape,” though he later signed a watered down ultrasound requirement into law. McDonnell’s senior thesis in college condemned “cohabitors, homosexuals, sand fornicators” and he recently referred to rape as a “detail” in the abortion debate.

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz, a former Texas Solicitor General, once posted an article on his website claiming the United Nations and George Soros were coming for, among other things, America’s golf courses. He also opposes the Voting Rights Act, campaigned on his attempt to execute a Mexican national in violation of American treaty obligations, fearmongers about creeping Sharia law, and wants to more-or-less end Social Security as we know it.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, representing Washington’s 5th congressional district, is the fourth highest ranking Republican in the House. She is a Romney surrogate, particularly on women’s issues, even though she voted against the Lilly Ledbetter pay-equity act. She also sought to exclude LGBT couples from the Violence Against Women Act because domestic violence in LGBT relationships is “a side issue.” McMorris Rodgers does not believe Barack Obama was born in the U.S., telling reporters she’d “like to see the documents.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

As Attorney General, Ayotte fought for New Hampshire’s now repealed law requiring a minor to get parental permission before having an abortion. As a Senator, she has dismissed any calls for higher taxes on the rich as “class warfare” and, when asked what bills she would sponsor to create jobs, offered only the Bush tax cuts. She’s also put forth a nonsensical plan to reduce the deficit by repealing Obamacare and indiscriminately cutting every federal agency’s budget by 20 percent.

Jack Gilchrist

Appearing with his Senator at the RNC, Jack Gilchrist is the owner of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire. Gilchrist was the star of Romney’s first ad distorting Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quote. However, it was soon discovered that Gilchrist Metal actually received significant help in government small business loans and contracts adding up to over a million dollars.

Sher Valenzuela

Valenzuela, currently running for the lieutenant governor in Delaware, is the GOP’s “We Build It” speaker, intended to exemplify the American Dream of building a small business from the ground up without government assistance. But her upholstery business received $17 million in federal loans and contracts.