Iroquois County Times-Republic: Republicans turn out to show support, share platforms

Despite the adverse conditions in areas of Iroquois County, the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, hosted by the Iroquois County Republican Central Committee, had a great turn out. The event took place Feb. 22 in the gym of St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Woodworth. It was a time for area Republicans to meet with political candidates, hear their views and platforms, and get an understanding of each candidate’s passion in government.

Paul Ducat, vice chairman of the ICRCC, gave the welcome, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge was led by the fourth grade students of Crescent City Grade School: Cale Hamilton, Maddie Reardanz, Emma Janssen, Kenleigh Hendershot, Hunter Wolfe and Traeh Kissack. They were accompanied by their teacher, Jody Munsterman.

Megan Schippert, Watseka, sang the National Anthem, followed by the fourth graders singing “Happy Birthday” to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Illinois, which is celebrating its bicentennial this year. Pastor Michael Stoerger, of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Woodworth, gave the prayer.

As Governor Bruce Rauner was heading to Watseka to visit a shelter, he took the floor first. He told attendants “You believe in our party. The values of our party are the values that make America great.” He said he is committed to making sure Republicans are the majority of the state. He noted “I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman” and he is dedicated to three values: hard work, great education and giving back. He shared he had been told by his friends to take his business out of state but “I will never leave Illinois.”

Rauner said “we need to change the culture of corruption” by setting term limits and he noted “I don’t want to ask for your vote, I want to earn it.”

Rauner then touched on SB31 – the Trust Act – which, he said, is not a sanctuary bill. He said, “I am against illegal immigration.” He stressed he does not support sanctuary states and “we (Illinois) are not a sanctuary state.”

Susan Wynn Bence, Watseka, president of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, spoke of Adam Kinzinger as she introduced him. Kinzinger was also headed to Watseka with Gov. Rauner. In his speech, he noted “I am proud of what the President and Congress accomplished last year.” He told how he was actually born in Iroquois County and because of helping at a homeless shelter, managed by his father, he realized “people have potential.” He feels it’s important for everyone to realize their own potentials and noted “what we (Republicans) want to do as a party is not be cold and heartless.”

He told attendants, “It has been an honor to represent you in Congress. There will be differences but we are a party that will stand together. We’re going to restore the mission of Ronald Reagan.”

Samantha Hasselbring, of the Cissna Park area, was present and recognized. She was recently crowned Miss Illinois County Fair Queen, the first ever from Iroquois County. She thanked the ICRCC for inviting her to the event.

Wynn Bence then introduced Erika Harold, candidate for Illinois Attorney General, giving a brief background. Before inviting Harold to the podium, she noted Harold had a birthday on Tuesday so she asked the CCGS fourth graders to sing “Happy Birthday” to her. Harold was overwhelmed and gave hugs to the students before her program.

Harold, who was Miss America 2003, noted she took an unconventional path to become Miss America. She had graduated from the University of Illinois and wanted to attend Harvard Law School, but the overwhelming cost was $175,000. So, in becoming a part of the pageant and winning the title, she was able to use that money to pay for her law degree, graduating in 2007. She said to the fourth graders, “Never let anyone discourage you from achieving your dreams.”


For the full article and photos from the event, visit the Times-Republic website here.