Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring (or rather summer). We got a little tease of it a couple Saturdays ago and my back has been telling me I overdid it in the yard and cleaning out my garage. Since then, the weather’s been more like late fall than early spring – further delaying my spring cleaning and yard work. Eventually, we will get to spring and summer. It’s been a long winter and we are overdue for some good weather.

It feels great to get things cleaned up and ready for summer. That’s a favorite time of year for me. We’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing with the Kalamazoo Republicans lately, too. Our new office is feeling like home as we are meeting and begin planning our Lincoln Tribute Dinner on May 16. If you haven’t heard by now, we have Congressman Kevin McCarthy coming to Kalamazoo to deliver the keynote address at our 120th annual dinner. Kevin is the second highest ranking person in the U.S. House. Thanks to Fred Upton for setting up Kevin as our speaker.

It’s hard to believe that this will be our 120th Lincoln Tribute Dinner. What a history for our county party! We’ve had many great speakers over the years, some of whom have gone on to run for president and even become president. Speakers at Kalamazoo’s Lincoln Tribute Dinner have included George W. Bush, John McCain, Rick Snyder, Bill Schuette, Guy Vander Jagt and many more.

History shows that Kalamazoo County has had an illustrious relationship with the Republican Party. This year will mark the 159th anniversary of  Abraham Lincoln speaking in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park. In fact, the speech on Aug. 27, 1856, was the only speech Lincoln ever gave in the State of Michigan. According to the Lincoln Institute, “The speech was given in what is now Bronson Park at a giant Frémont (1856 Republican Presidential candidate John C. Frémont) rally at which no less than four separate speaking locations were operated simultaneously on August 27.” It was quite an event, according to the institute. “Although the town’s population was only 10,000, a crowd of at least that size – and maybe twice that size was present that afternoon.” So since the early days of the Republican Party, Kalamazoo has turned out in force to support its candidates and causes. It will be another great turnout for this year’s Lincoln Tribute Dinner on Saturday, May 16.

Not only do we have Congressman Kevin McCarthy – the second highest ranking congressman in the house next to Speaker John Boehner – but we will also honor two people who have been great supporters of our party. Fred Taylor and Rose Dame will be honored with the Chairman’s Service Awards for 2015. Fred is a former chair of the party and has dedicated many years of service to the party. Rose has been involved in not only the local party, but worked tirelessly for the state and district levels, too.

I hope you will remember to reserve your tickets for the Lincoln Tribute Dinner. Go to our website to make the arrangements.