On Friday night, over 450 Lake County Republicans got to experience former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney expound on the state of the economy, the prospects for recovery, the failures of the Obama administration, and how best to get the country back on track. Interspersed with a lot of humor and some great stories, Romney talked about how the current administration started out with a desire to revive the economy but made some terrible policy decisions (perhaps in part because almost none of President Obama's Cabinet picks had any private sector experience) that had little if any salutary effect. Did the stimulus work, asked Romney? If you can say that someone spraying a house fire with a garden hose helped put out the fire while the fire department arrived with its big hoses, then yes, it helped. But it didn't work the way it was promised and instead of unemployment under 8%, now it's over 10%. Our debt has skyrocketed and we have little to show for it.
Economics was always Romney's strong suit, and one wonders maybe if the last election would have turned out a little differently if Romney had been the GOP nominee, since the primary issue in voters' minds was the economy, not national security (a strength of John McCain's.)
In any case, I was very gratified to see how many enthusiastic Republicans attended the dinner, especially given that the Federation Fall Dinner is usually a much smaller event than our signature Spring Dinner. The Fall dinner is usually held in a venue like Midland or Glen Flora country clubs, but they just couldn't accommodate the numbers of folks who wanted to come see Romney and share in the GOP enthusiasm going into the November elections.
Suzi Schmidt, County Board Chairman and candidate for State Senate, 31st District, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem was sung by Ms. Emily Bednar, and State Representative candidate Dan Sugrue gave a deeply moving and heartfelt prayer before dinner and introductory remarks from Federation President Alexander "Sandy" Stuart.
Among the many, many political office holders and candidates in attendance, we had: Congressman and U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Kirk, Lt. Governor Candidate Jason Plummer, 8th Congressional Candidate Joe Walsh, 10th Congressional Candidate Bob Dold, State Treasurer candidate State Senator Dan Rutherford, State Senator Dan Duffy, State Reps Ed Sullivan, Jr., Sandy Cole, and JoAnn Osmond, 58th District State Rep. Candidate Lauren Turelli, County Clerk Willard Helander, County Treasurer Bob Skidmore, Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood, Sheriff Mark Curran, many county board members and judges, and just too many more to name. We had many Team America fans in attendance as well, including "Beau & Baxter's Mom" and "King Louis."
Here's some of my pix from the evening:
Federation President Sandy Stuart gives his opening remarks and introduces Governor Mitt Romney.
Our own 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate.
The tallest Lt. Governor Candidate in the history of Illinois, Jason Plummer.
8th Congressional candidate Joe Walsh
10th Congressional Candidate Bob Dold
For those of you wondering what the "Dinner Chairman" really does, here's a picture of your own Team America helping to load in the lighting rig for the show.
My brother, Scott Falbe, owner of Intelligent Lighting Creations, Inc., which donated the lighting, focuses the spotlights on the stage. Thanks Scott!!!
UPDATED 9/27 6:30 a.m.: Here's a nice article from the Lake County News-Sun recapping the dinner.