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Delegate Profile: Mike Getto

California has the most delegates, 441, out of any state in the country. Santa Barbara County is sending six delegates to the Democratic National Convention, four for Sen. Barack Obama and two for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Here is a chance to meet one of those delegates, Mike Getto, who thinks that Democrats could win a majority in the House and Senate and could have a filibuster in the Senate.

Name: Mike Getto

Age: 74

Family: Five children living in Lithuania, France, England, West Virginia and Santa Barbara

Residence: Santa Barbara near Olive and Canon Perdido streets

Occupation: He's been in the hotel business for 51 years.

Years in California: He's lived in California three times. This time around-for the last five years-is the second time he's lived in Santa Barbara. Originally from Kansas, he's lived in 12 different states, in Singapore and in Tehran.

First political experience: He volunteered for President Dwight Eisenhower before he could vote. When he got out of the Army, "anybody in the hotel business was very active in politics, trying to bring alcohol to Kansas, which was a dry state." In 1964 he was the Kansas chair of William Scranton for President, and later was also a co-chair for Norman Rockefeller's candidacy in. Later, in the 1970s, he moved to Arizona, where "they weren't my kind of Republicans," so he became a Democrat.

"Without a doubt this has been the most fun election I've ever been in."

First political vote: In 1956 I graduated from college and right after, on my honeymoon, voted absentee. I had to go across the lake and have my ballot witnessed."

Delegate for: Obama

Leader you most admire: "I have over 1,200 volumes on U.S. presidents. That's what I collect. I also have inauguration medallions from every inauguration and have read almost 100 books on Reagan. I'd say my favorite presidents include Lincoln, Jefferson, Truman and Teddy Roosevelt."

Is this your first time as a national delegate? "Yes."

Why did you become a delegate? "I got involved early on in the Obama campaign, Santa Barbarians for Obama, and they asked me to be a precinct captain. When it became time to elect delegates we had 500 people out at our caucus and had 28 people running and I lucked out."

Have you been to a Convention before? "I've been to two. I went when I was the Kansas state chairman for Scranton in 1964 and Rockefeller in 1968.

What are you most looking forward to at the Convention? "It's just like a big ball of wax for me. California and New York delegates are staying in the Sheraton, and the company I used to be with used to run that hotel when it was a Hilton. It's like going home for me. I also have an old friend from Kansas who is going to be a delegate.

"I'm looking forward to Obama when he gets the nomination and being in the stadium when he gives his acceptance speech. Obama's mother and grandparents are both from Kansas. I've also worked in Indonesia and Kenya and my sister taught at Punahou High School where he went to school so when I read his first book 'Dreams of Our Fathers' I felt a lot of connections."

Why do you support Obama? "He's brought a lot of people to be involved, people who have been discouraged for a long time, especially here in Santa Barbara. We have over 600 volunteers here in Santa Barbara. People are coming out of the wordwork, people who have been discouraged since Kennedy. I like the enthusiasm he brings to politics. I've worked overseas in several countries and the respect he'll give our country overseas is very important. There are a lot more reasons."

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