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Fossella Seeks RNC Kickoff at Liberty or Ellis Island

With just a year to go before the 2004 Republican National Convention, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) has asked Interior Department officials for permission to hold a big bash on Ellis Island or Liberty Island to welcome those attending the big event in New York City next September.

“I envision hundreds of guests coming together to celebrate democracy, freedom and liberty at the gateway to America,” Fossella wrote last week in a formal follow-up letter to Craig Manson, the assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

“In addition to a reception, I believe a top-line musical performance and fireworks celebration would serve to energize all Americans with a sense of patriotism and resolve and set the right mood as our nation showcases for the world the strength of our democracy,” he wrote.

Fossella spokesman Craig Donner said he didn’t have any names yet of the groups or acts that might perform at such an event because it’s all in the most preliminary planning stages, but he promised that once Fossella gets permission to plan his festival he will make it a “grand, spectacular celebration” that is “very patriotic.”

Fossella has other big plans for the convention as well.

In January, he asked Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to schedule a three- or four-game afternoon series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets during the week of the convention.

Donner said he wasn’t sure if that would happen because “there was sort of a problem in manipulating the baseball schedule” but promised that the Congressman is “going to keep pursuing” it.

“The level of excitement that would be generated by a Subway Series would stand as a highlight of convention week and, no doubt, be a thrill for local fans and visitors alike,” Fossella stated in a press release in January. “Throughout the week, the eyes of the world will be focused on New York, creating an unprecedented opportunity for our city to showcase all the qualities and highlights that make it the Big Apple.”