By Chairman Scott McGraw

What a wonderful Lincoln Tribute Dinner we just had! More than 220 Kalamazoo Republicans attended the gala on May 26 to hear a remarkable speech from Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette. I am grateful there are so many supportive and dedicated Republicans here in Kalamazoo. Our local party is coming together nicely to rally around the 2016 elections!

I had a lot of fun at the event with former President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, as they strolled around the Radisson ballroom greeting the guests. Honest Abe gave a poignant reading of the letter he wrote in 1864 to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, a Massachusetts widow who lost five sons in the Civil War. Our own Chad Dillon, who is an Iraqi War veteran, then followed with a heartfelt tribute to the veterans in the room, recognizing each branch of service individually.

I also enjoyed Dr. Tom George’s introduction of the former president. Tom reminded us that Lincoln had given a speech in Kalamazoo 160 years ago this summer – in August of 1856 – which was his only public speech in Michigan in his lifetime (aside from his speech at the 2016 Kalamazoo Lincoln Tribute Dinner!).

Tom also elaborated on Michigan’s claim as the birthplace of the Republican Party in Jackson in 1854. He said Ripon, Wisc., claims it is the birthplace of the party since the first convention was held there. Dr. George countered that Michigan is the place where the party was conceived! So, not only did Tom George settle question of the foundation of the Republican Party, but he also solved the mystery over when the discussion over birth and conception started – obviously it was in Michigan in 1854!

President Lincoln gave an impassioned speech about the scope of government after our dinner. I was sitting with our keynote speaker Bill Schuette and he was enthralled with the words of the former president. President Lincoln drove the point home on the limits of our federal government when he said Washington has no right to tell us what size horse we can own! Schuette especially loved that comment.

Our keynote address from Bill Schuette was equally impassioned. His passion for the law and our citizenry is certainly evident in his dedication. He said we want our laws enforced equally and uniformly throughout the state, whether you are a top elected official or the average Joe who works so hard to provide for his family. Bill Schuette is working hard to make sure we are all treated fairly by the law.

Thank you to all the local Republicans who helped make the KGOP Lincoln Tribute Dinner such a resounding success!