Sunday, February 13, 2011
Grant Township Republican Club Packs Room for Lincoln Day Dinner (UPDATED)
My friend Nancy Kubalanza, Grant Township Republican Chairman and the guiding force behind the Grant Township Republican Club's famous Lincoln Day dinner for many years expressed amazement last night at the packed room at Maravela's Banquets in Fox Lake: "We've got a packed room and it's not even an election year!" she marvelled.
The attendance last night and the enthusiasm in the room was evidence of the renewed vigor that Republicans in all areas of Lake County seem to be enjoying nowadays as we are still basking in the many successes of last year's elections. That enthusiasm is especially evident in the part of western Lake County that falls within the Eighth Congressional District, which elected Joe Walsh to congress over entrenched Democrat Melissa Bean. The local GOP is still reveling in that victory, while the state party is still somewhat in shock (as State GOP Chairman Pat Brady candidly admitted last week at the big Reagan's Birthday celebration, the state party did nothing to help Walsh, but they'll take his victory). We are well-advised to enjoy our little honeymoon period now before the remap follies begin, and I spent considerable time last night talking with political and communications consultant Collin Corbett about the likely remap scenarios as they would affect congressional and local maps/races.
Walsh was not the keynote speaker last night, but his enthusiasm and earnestness seems to fill the room wherever he goes. I spoke with him for a bit and he ribbed me gently for not updating my posts here at Team America more often, so I promise to get back with the program, Congressman ! ;-)
I did mention to Joe that I thought the latest row over him choosing to sleep in his office, but being criticised for potentially improperly failing to account for such use for tax purposes, was ridiculous. A practice that has been followed by Democrats as well as Republicans, which is now being floated as an issue by some, is a measure of austerity that the county ought to be lauding, instead of criticising. I did suggest to Joe that a camp cot instead of the office couch might be more comfortable, though.
The keynote speaker was Illinois National Republican Committeeman Rich Williamson, who gave a great speech that touched heavily on his experience in Ronald Reagan's campaign for the presidency and the Reagan White House (since, even though this was the Lincoln Day dinner, Williamson knew Reagan personally, but obviously didn't know Lincoln, ha-ha.). The crowd, being strong Reagan fans, ate it up.
Lots and lots of elected officials and candidates attended, too many to list, but some of the folks spotted were: Congressman Joe Walsh, State Senators Dan Duffy and Suzi Schmidt, State Representative Sandy Cole, Sheriff Mark Curran, State's Attorney Mike Waller, County Treasurer Bob Skidmore, Circuit Court Clerk Sally Coffelt, Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Keith Brin (who's not ready to say he's running for Sally's post, assuming she will not be running again, but we hope he will), former state senate candidate Keith Gray, former state rep candidate (and current Green Oaks trustee candidate Dan Sugrue), County Board Members Bonnie Thompson Carter and Steve Mountsier, GOP County Chairman Bob Cook, GOP First Vice Chairman Bob Powers, lots of judges such as Fred Foreman, Diane Winter, Margaret Mullen, Jimmy Boras, Wally Dunn, Jorge Ortiz, new judge Jim Simonian, retired judge Jane Waller, retired coroner Barbara Richardson, and the list goes on and on.
I did remember my camera this time, but then the battery pack ran out just before the program started (D'Oh!). So here's what I got:
Congressman Joe Walsh with a constituent:
Dan Sugrue and Sheriff Mark Curran:
Keith Gray and Judges Boras, Ortiz and Dunn:
Keith Brin and Senator Suzi Schmidt:
Scott Helton, Joanne and Lou Atsaves, and Keith Gray:
Keith Brin, Judge Diane Winter and Attorney Bryan Winter:
I didn't win any raffle prizes this year unlike at last year's dinner, but I had a lot of fun. Kudos to Nancy and the Grant Township Republican Club for another great event!
UPDATED: I was rushing this morning to post before I ran out to Pilates class, but I wanted to mention that I ran into fellow Blogger Paul Mitchell (Thoughts of a Regular Guy) last night and we joked about forming a Lake County Bloggers' Guild. Paul and I worked together on Dan Sugrue's state representative campaign, and lately he's been closely following the ridiculous SB 136 proposal that seeks to bring home schooled children in Illinois into the jurisdiction of the state. Yeah, great, because they do such a fabulous job overall with the education of our children? If you want to see a classic bureaucratic power grab in action, check out Paul's in-depth series on this issue.