Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lincoln Day Reflections

Let me give you the rundown on the Brown County GOP's Lincoln Day dinner, held February 23, 2008 at Southern Hills Joint Vocational School.

There were a few notable absences. Chairman Paul Hall was absent, because he was named Nationwide's agent of the year and was treating his office staff to a retreat. He did send along a letter and his best wishes. Michelle Jowers, Republican club Vice President, was also a no show. Tina Meranda, Clerk of Courts, we found out, underwent Cancer treatment and sent her best via her husband Seth who spoke on her behalf (prayers to Ms. Meranda and family). Tom Cunningham acted as Master of Ceremonies in place of Chairman Hall.

The event kicked off with a social hour.
MC Cunningham called us to order, and the Ripley ROTC color guard presented the colors as Bill Herdman led the pledge and Doug Green, Auditor, sang the National Anthem.

Jean Schmidt took the floor and gave a rundown on the FISA debacle and talked about how she was working for us and how we needed to come together. She reflected on her time as Congresswoman and said it was an honor to serve. She then introduced her predecessor in the 2nd Congressional district,and the keynote speaker, former OMB Director Rob Portman.

Portman remarked on how great it was to be home in Ohio, and how great it was to be home with the wife and kids. He reminisced about serving the 2nd district, and his family background. He discussed working with and against the Democrats. He talked about how low approval ratings are. He emphasized the need to get back to ideas and ideals. The main point of his speech, however, was a call to action. He wanted us to recommit ourselves to conservative principles. He talked about how the Republicans in Washington had lost their way, that we had become big spenders and that we lost our claim to being an ethical party. He called upon us to come together to restore those principles. He made an impassioned plea for us to get behind John McCain, despite differences. On issues of judges, taxes, and the war, McCain is far better than Obama. He revealed his plans to endorse McCain, as he did in that fateful event yesterday. He also talked about how Ohio was falling behind, and how we needed to turn it around. Rob concluded his remarks by talking about his new organization for Ohio, and thanked us for his support.

After the invocation by Pastor Carla Warren of the Georgetown United Methodist Church, dinner followed, and State Senate Majority Leader Tom Niehaus discussed state happenings. He talked about how the Ohio state republicans in the General Assembly were working to get things done for Ohio, rather than fall prey to partisan bickering. I for one, wish there were more partisan bickering and less go along to get along, but Sen. Niehaus has shown the ability to get things done in a positive way.

The candidates then introduced themselves briefly. Congresswoman Schmidt, Mr.Portman and Sen. Niehaus all excused themselves as they had to attend Adams County's event that same night.

Overall, it was our largest Lincoln Day event, and it shows that despite an uncertain national climate, the party is still strong in Brown county.
Ohio 88th District Rep. Danny Bubp, on active duty in Iraq, was given the John Donohoo Award for his work with the party, and my personal friend Albert Spiller was given the coveted Sequoia award for his lifetime of service to the party. Al was able to attend just a few months after suffering a stroke during Christmastime. He looked well and strong as, well, a sequoia. Congrats to both.

The evening closed with remarks by former radio show host (back before our county station became a crappy robo station)Bill Cornetet, who encouraged us to stand firm on our values, reminding us of examples of Lincoln and others who believed in the rightness of their ideas even when it was hard, and to not compromise those ideals and principles.

Many dollars were also raised in silent auction and raffles for the party, as handled by Bill Herdman, Roxanne Malone, and Steve Loehrke and many others.

Thanks go out to Georgetown Florists, Southern Hills JVS, Paul Hall and Associates, Amy Cunningham and Jeanne Glassmeyer and Mariah Votel, as well as RULH ROTC and Personal Touch Catering for making the event a great success.
Below is a transcript of Chairman Hall's letter :

Dear Fellow Republicans,
I certainly want to thank you for attending our annual dinner. I hope you have a great meeting! I am sorry I could not be with you. This weekend is my 3rd"Amazing Race" staff retreat for Paul Hall and Associates Insurance Agency. my original plans were to return, however I recently received word that my agency was selected as the #1 service agency nationally, for Nationwide Enterprise. Since my staff makes this happen, Jill and I both felt it was important to spend the time iwth them.

The state of the Brown County Republican Party is good. We have continued to incrase the spread as the majority party. We currently have 3933 Republicans compared to 3282 democrats. A sign of growth is new leadership. In the past year, Tom Cunningham, Pam Layman, Bev Lamphier, and Steve Loerhke have accepted new offices. They will be working with our returning team of Greg Himes, Roxanne Malone, and Michelle Jowers.

In 2007 we remodeled our fair booth and worked several parades. We also worked to update voter information for 2008 in our Voter Vault program. This program was instrumental in Bush carrying Ohio in 2004. We have continued to update this political tool which helps us identify independent voters that tend to vote Republican.

In 2006 a decision was made to begin an endorsement process. It was determined that to receive an endorsement a candidate must receive a minimum of 65% of the central committee votes. Making this more difficult was the fact that this percentage also included those voting not to endorse. Each candidate was to ask for endorsement and the screening committee reviewed each applicant. The candidates appeared at our central committee meeting. After their presentation, the committee voted to endorse or not to endorse a particular candidate. The slate cards on your table list all our candiates and recognize those who received endorsement. I would like to thank Gary Frye chairman of the screening committee, and all of the central committee. We had over 90% attendance.

While 2007 was busy, we need your help in 2008. If we are going to hold our local races and hold Ohio as a Republican State, we need you. The next club meeting is Thursday, April 3, at Brown County library in Georgetown. We want you to help make 2008 as fun and exciting as 2004. Together we can.

Republican for a reason,

--Mark Garbett, director of communications, reporting.

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