This past Thursday evening, about 300 of my fellow Republicans and I met to break bread sharing a wonderful dinner, some fantastic conversation, and we listened to several of our key leaders within the Minnesota GOP. If you weren’t able to attend, I think I can safely say…you missed a great evening. That night at the Minneapolis Hilton was the annual Lincoln Reagan dinner fundraiser of the Minnesota GOP and it was fabulous evening from the very beginning to the very end.
With an arrival at 6pm, I checked to get my table assignment and headed off to enjoy the cocktail hour. Everyone gathered together in the main hallway outside the dining area to mingle while catching up on the latest news about convention activity, impacts of redistricting, and changes in BPOU leadership. The biggest news of the evening for me was while talking with a group of activist women, I found out that there are two who are stepping up to answer the call of public service. Both Cindy Pugh (Chanhassen) and Anna Wills (Apple Valley/Rosemount) have tossed their names into the hat and are entering the fray by initiating a campaign to run for their respective House seats. These two ladies exhibit the three C’s that embody the best of our political leaders – character, class, and commitment…You Rock Ladies!
But I digress…the evening officially started with a truly beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, and inspirational invocation prayer. Bill Guidera, the MN GOP Finance Chair, introduced a long list of excellent speakers who, all in their uniquely individual way communicated a challenge that each of us commit 100% into this very important election year, to not give up and to not lose faith. It was inspiring to know that we CAN come together, in spite of the recent lumps, bumps, and bruises we’ve taken as a party, and be a part of a single, unified message…a message that is helping to turn the tide of Minnesota Blue to Minnesota Red. Speakers included such notables as:
- Pat Shortridge, MN GOP Chair
- Senator Dave Senjem, Senate Majority Leader
- Representative Kurt Zellers, Speaker of the House
- Congressman Chip Cravaack
- Congressman Erik Paulsen
- Congressman John Kline
In saving the best for last, the evening lead up to the keynote speaker…Florida Congressman Allen West who spoke eloquently about key elements of this 2012 election cycle, current issues plaguing our great nation, and the importance of supporting our military. One topic in particular that weighs heavily on the minds of many Americans today is the need for economic growth. Congressman West talked about his vision whereby government simply must get out of the way of business; a cease and desist if you will to eliminate obstructive and expensive legislation that only seeks to deter business investment, so that jobs – real jobs – could be created.
In my opinion, the evening ended on Congressman West’s finest moment. At the end, he talked about how the continued neutering of the military by President Obama’s administration only served to weaken America in the eyes of the world. Congressman West said, and I paraphrase with a wee bit of editorial license, “We must ensure that our military has the funding it needs to fulfill the objectives that have been established in order to maintain credibility. At the end of the day, we need to let the military do what it does best…we need to let them kick some ass.” With a robust round of applause, his closing words were to bless Minnesota, Israel, and the United States.
All in all, I found the evening worthwhile and well spent…not only of my time, but of my money as well. As I went home, I felt energized that we as a party will rise, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of chaos left behind by the current administration. I clearly heard the message that together we can be joined through a common objective to make sure that Barack Obama and his entourage are not invited back to the White House for another term of four years.