Saturday night, March 12, was a celebratory day for Spencer County Republicans who gathered at Santa’s Lodge for the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner. Special guests included Eighth District Congressman Dr. Larry Bucshon and Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, as well as a plethora of local and state candidates or their representatives. It was also a time to present a variety of special awards and do a lot of networking.
State Representatives Cindy Ledbetter (left) and Steve Bartels (right), who both currently represent Spencer County, visit during the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner held Saturday, March 12 at the Celebration Room in Santa’s Lodge. Ledbetter expressed how much she has enjoyed serving Spencer County but in January, following redistricting, Bartels will serve all of Spencer County.
Tommy Brauns showed off his Lincoln Tie to Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch.
Sherri Heichelbech, Republican candidate for Spencer County Sheriff chats with Representative Cindy Ledbetter. She reported two meet the candidate nights are planned for April 5 in Santa Claus and April 7 at Pepper’s Ridge.
A couple of Weepublicans lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Candidates who will be on the slate for the May 3 Indiana primary election, from left, include: Brian Burns, Ohio Township Trustee; Steve Haaff, Spencer County Council District 1, Not sure, Jim Seiler, Spencer County Commissioner District 1, Melissa Woolard, candidate for assessor; Sherri Heichelbech, candidate for sheriff, Deputy Prosecutor Megan Bennett, candidate for prosecutor; Justin Grose, County Council District 4, Melissa Bunner, Spencer County auditor, David Fromme, County Council District 3 and Susan Harris, Spencer County Council District 2.
Jane Lyman (right) didn’t get up for the candidate photo but Sat still long enough to be snapped with lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. Lynam is both the Spencer County Republican vice chair and running for re-election as trustee of Hammond Township.
Indiana Eighth District Congressman Dr. Larry Bucshon has not missed a Lincoln Day Dinner in Spencer County since his election. He said he hoped all are praying for Ukraine and said President Biden was informed months ago he needs to tighten sanction for Russia. “We are doing everything we can to help them defend themselves,” Bucshon reported. While he blamed the highest level of inflation on COVID-19, he said members of the House and Senate will make sure American ingenuity and technology will prevail in lowering gas prices and helping with supply chain and workforce issues. Bucshon also said crime is having a devastating effect on American cities and prosecutors are not prosecuting criminals. “Defund the police? We don’t need it.” Finally, he spoke of the situation at the Southern Border of the U.S., noting the dangerous drug fentanyl is coming cross the border. Buchson concluded by asking for everyone’s vote.
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch served as keynote speaker for the evening and truly entertained the audience, noting Bucshon only spoke for seven minutes and she planned to talk for nine. She made Party Chair Jon Winkler laugh when explaining she had been married for 43 but her husband, Larry Downs, rarely joins her on political junkets. “I considered hyphenating my name when we got married,” she said, “But Suzanne Crouch-Downs?” Lt. Gov. Crouch noted of the 1,074 bills filed, 221 made it through both houses. “There were 395 bills passed in 2020, so this is good news, it means less government. Because the celebration honored President Lincoln, Crouch spoke of his influence as the first Republican president in history. “Abraham Lincoln served at a very trying time in our nation’s history,” she noted. “He received less than 40 percent of the vote and once elected he was faced with the biggest challenge in our nation’s history, Civil War. He was able to muster the strength and will to vanquish slavery and keep the country together.” She followed this with, “Why are we Republicans?” Talking about people who share values such as hard work and personal responsibility, Crouch shared Lincoln’s philosophy, “The government should do for the people only what they cannot do for themselves.” For her that translates to not how much assistance can be given but to “how many people we can get off assistance and standing on their own two feet.” While she believes the environment on the national level differs from Indiana, Crouch said 85% of Hoosier mayors are Republican, the largest number in history, as well as both United States senators and the majority of Indiana congressmen, not to mention the top six officeholders in the state. Again she asked, “Why are we Republicans?” Crouch is concerned about freedom of speech and free markets. She quoted the other honoree of the evening, President Ronald Reagan, who said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” In conclusion, Lt. Gov. Crouch told the assembled, “Let’s be motivated by the challenges. It is the individual, not the state who’s made us.” Crouch added, “Government is not the answer to everyone’s problems.”
Jon Winkler presented several awards, including Kenny Coultas who was honored as Precinct Committeeman of the Year. He had a very able helper in collecting his award.
Longtime volunteer Joy Zook received Special Recognition for all her contributions to the county and party.
Debbie Foertsch, who moments before had been plating cake to make it convenient for everyone to enjoy dessert, was honored as Volunteer of the Year.
Mike Roos, who refused to crack a smile, was given the special Chairman’s Award by Winkler.
Jeriann Burroughs was slightly shocked when the received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jon Winkler. Jeriann served as party chair prior to Winkler taking the helm.
Jerry Hargis, father of Jeriann Burroughs, shares a laugh with Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.
Burroughs poses with her family members. Husband John is right behind and dad Jerry is seated in front.