Albert Lean is volunteer

Published 9:15 am Thursday, September 4, 2008

After a life of much involvement within the Republican Party, Albert Lean Tom Schleck is getting the opportunity this week to be involved with the Republican National Convention.

Working as a volunteer security member at the convention, each night he is being assigned to a specific gate to work as a supplement to the Secret Service, Schleck said. The Secret Service checks in delegates, news media and guests into the Xcel Energy Center before each session.

“We’re mainly just making sure that people efficiently get through there,” he said.

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He was scheduled to work the evening shift all week starting Tuesday, after his shift got canceled Monday due to changes in the convention schedule. He could not say a lot about what his duties required.

Regardless of his canceled Monday shift, he’s happy to be working at the event, he said, especially since he’s had a long background in the St. Paul area.

He was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul in 1945, and his grandmother lived in St. Paul in 1892 when the Republican National Convention was held there previously. At that time women did not yet have the right to vote.

Schleck said he can remember his grandmother telling him, “I was raised where men were supposed to vote and take care of politics and women were supposed to take care of the home and kids. Why should we do their work?”

His great-grandfather owned the saloon on Eagle Street, and his father was the chief accountant and controller of the city of St. Paul.

“I remember we always went to the city hall building all the time,” Schleck said. “I have a lot of ties to St. Paul.”

After two years in the United States Army from 1968-70, he came to Albert Lea after he was offered a position within Freeborn County.

In 2007, he retired from his position as a social worker for Freeborn County after 36 1/2 years of service. He was responsible for the county’s chemical dependency program.

He said his involvement with the Republican Party stems back as far as the 1964 presidential election when he supported Barry Goldwater. Schleck was 19 at the time.

Since then, he has been involved with state and county conventions for many years. He’s served off and on as a delegate starting back in 1972 at the county and state levels.

Last year, Schleck was elected as Minnesota’s 1st District deputy chairman for two years. His seat goes up for re-election in 2009.

His wife, Ann, is the Freeborn County Republican co-chairwoman.

He said he’s not exactly sure what the reasons were why he was selected to work security at the convention, but it was something he had to submit a resume for, which showed some of his previous experiences.

While it’s a great opportunity to be involved with the convention, he said, he’s also glad he’s been able to spend time with family and help out his daughter Susie who’s husband, Tom, is in Army reservist training. Susie goes to work early in the morning, so Schleck was able to take his grandchildren to their first days of school Tuesday.

The timing worked out well, he said.