Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

WOW! I can’t believe we got the Republican National Committee chair to speak at our Lincoln Tribute Dinner this year. Well, actually she’s been here before. She’s spoken to our luncheon. She’s been to our local office. Ronna McDaniel was the busiest woman in Michigan over the past two years (no offense meant to Mary Balkema or Margaret O’Brien). Her efforts helped deliver Michigan to the Republicans in November and were a big reason why Donald Trump is currently in the White House.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Ron and Ruth Wiser for their help in getting Ronna here. They’ve been helping push for a top-notch speaker and I am so happy with the results of those efforts. Thanks, Ron and Ruth!

The event will be held on Saturday evening, May 20, at the Gull Lake Country Club. It is the 122nd time we’ve gotten together in Kalamazoo County to honor the heritage of the Republican Party. Michigan has had an important role with the Republican Party as many contend it began under the oaks on July 6, 1854 in Jackson. The significance of Kalamazoo in Republican lore dates to Aug. 27, 1856, when prominent Illinois attorney Abraham Lincoln gave the only public speech in Michigan in his lifetime in Bronson Park, stumping for the first Republican candidate for president John Fremont.

The Kalamazoo GOP has always been fortunate to have a great history of speakers for this event. We’ve had congressmen, governors, senators and even a former president speak over the years. But this will be a first for the sitting Republican National Committee chair!

This will be a great opportunity to hear first hand what it is like inside the beltway. Between her access to the White House with her predecessor Reince Priebus now serving as chief of staff to the president and her relationship with the president himself, Ronna will have an incredible perspective on the Washington scene. I am very much looking forward to this event.

It’s hard to fathom the deep history the Republican Party has in Kalamazoo County. Not too long after the formation of the Republican Party, Kalamazoo began celebrating the values that the party supported. The celebration was named after Abraham Lincoln to memorialize the fallen president because his assassination was still fresh in people’s minds. Some of the same people who saw that young attorney speak in Bronson Park on that warm August afternoon were probably the same ones who helped organize the first Lincoln Tribute Dinner in Kalamazoo County.

That thought blows me away. What a history we have here in Kalamazoo County! But we continue to make history as we push forward into the future. We have four of the five legislators in Kalamazoo County as Republicans. This is no easy task in a county that is 53 percent Democrat. Our elected officials work harder than most – and it shows as many of our legislators are involved in leadership in Lansing. They are the most involved and influential officials in the state.

Come see why Kalamazoo has such a strong and focused Republican Party by coming to our Lincoln Tribute Dinner on Saturday, May 20. Tickets are available on the Eventbrite website. See you there!