2010-05-13 / Local & State

GOP Hosts Spring Banquet

Sen. John Eichelberger is keynote speaker
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The County Republican Committee hosted a full slate of speakers Friday night at the Hustontown Firehall with several candidates, including U.S. Congressman Bill Shuster, state Rep. Dick Hess and state Sen. John Eichelberger Jr. appearing in person to garner support in light of the upcoming May 18 election.

Congressman Shuster took the speaking engagement on May 7 as an opportunity to address the tremendous challenges before the nation. Shuster noted terrorist attacks need to be stopped wherever they appear, and “American needs to continue being tough.”

He went on to touch upon the economy as well as the current unemployment rate that has reached 9.9 percent. Shuster added the recently approved healthcare bill “will be extremely bad for the economy” and instead of financial savings it will cost the nation trillions of dollars to fund.

As a follow-up to his comments on out-of-control spending and the rising federal deficit, Shuster pointed out President Barack Obama has “outspent” every other president in history.

Shuster, who is running unopposed on the Republican ticket on May 18, stated that “elections do matter.” “We have the opportunity this fall to turn Pennsylvania and the nation around,” he said. Pat Toomey, according to Shuster, would be a great addition to the Senate, and the chances exist for a Republican governor to preside over the commonwealth and for the Republican Party to take back the state House.

“The eyes across the nation will be looking at the Keystone State,” he concluded.

Nick DeFrancesco, Dauphin County commissioner, spoke on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett. “I don’t have to tell any of you where we stand in the commonwealth,” DeFrancesco began. “ ... Sending the state into a crisis has served Gov. Ed Rendell well.”

DeFrancesco, a former lieutenant governor candidate who toured the commonwealth in 2009 on a Harley-Davidson, asked the people to “get energized and get educated” during this “critical election” year.

Corbett is the type of man Pennsylvania needs right now, said DeFrancesco, who referred to his proven track record as the state’s current attorney general. “He’s (Corbett) going to get us back to a place where there is integrity,” he said.

Taking the podium on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer, state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. referred to Rohrer as being “very conservative” on both financial and social issues. Even though the state party has already endorsed Corbett as their chosen candidate, Rohrer is yet another alternative for the voters on the primary ballot.

“The state committee’s position doesn’t have to be your choice,” said Eichelberger.

Warfordsburg area resident Ed Guyer spoke for lieutenant governor candidate Chet Beiler and pointed out his candidate’s fiscal views would serve the state well. Guyer added Beiler is a native of Lancaster County and is also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

DeFrancesco took center stage a second time Friday night, applauding the efforts and campaign of lieutenant governor candidate Jim Cawley, who came out on top recently by winning the Republican Party’s endorsement.

Cawley, a county commissioner, has been instrumental in holding the line on taxes in Bucks County during the last four years, according to DeFrancesco. Cawley was also deemed as being conservative and prolife.

Currently unopposed on the Republican ticket this spring primary, Rep. Hess announced his intentions to again mount a writein campaign to clinch the Democratic Party nomination. Hess stated he has been coming to Fulton County for the last 24 years through his work in the 78th Legislative District and hopes the values of the local residents have been represented through his voting record.

“I’ve tried to help in every way I possibly can,” he said.

Like Hess, Eichelberger thanked Republicans for their ongoing support and stated he too will be requesting write-in votes this spring from registered Democrats. A total of 500 write-in votes will be needed to secure the party’s nomination.

Eichelberger indicated he is a frequent visitor to the county and was recently in the Hustontown area on May 1 for the annual Kids Fest event. “I’m continuing to learn about Fulton County, and will help any way I can in the future,” he concluded.

Eichelberger also served as the keynote speaker during the annual spring gathering and spoke on the topic of the Second Amendment. In broaching the subject of the right to bear arms, the state senator informed those on hand of a situation where a shooting club lost its state lease for “crazy reasons” that included lead from ammunition polluting the water. The club, according to Eichelberger, spent $25,000 on completing state-mandated studies. The studies were reportedly hand delivered to officials with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, who in turn claimed they did not receive the documents.

“This is what our government under Gov. Rendell is doing,” said Eichelberger, who further noted another club in Glenndale was also shut down. “When the state can do this, it’s a sad day.”

A hopeful Eichelberger reminded the audience a new administration will be in place in 2011, and residents will “see a brighter day in Pennsylvania.” Until then, he urged residents to keep the faith and protect their rights.

Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer spoke for U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey, who recently met with local residents during a meet and greet at the Fulton County Library.

Incumbent and Republican state Committeeperson Stanley J. Kerlin wrapped up the evening with a brief and to-the-point speech where he announced, “Vote for me!”

A moment of silence was also held for the late Cam Mellott, who served for many years in the capacity of Belfast Township committeeperson.

Other local officials on hand for the 2010 spring dinner were Commissioner Craig Cutchall, Sheriff Keith Stains, Treasurer Monica Seville, District Attorney Travis Kendall, Prothonotary Patty Suders Fix, auditor Kimberly Seiders, jury commissioner Glenn “Pete” Ford, Acting Coroner Berley Souders and Republican Committee Chairman Mikeal Fix.

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