2012-04-19 / Local & State

GOP Gathers For Spring Dinner

Bonnie Mellott Keefer honored by fellow party members
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


Bonnie Mellott Keefer, center, was honored by local Republicans Friday night during the party's annual spring dinner. Keefer was recognized for her countless years of dedication to the party that included stints as county committee chairman, commissioner and county treasurer. On-hand for the presentation were current party Chair Mikeal Fix, left, and Commissioner Craig Cutchall, right. Bonnie Mellott Keefer, center, was honored by local Republicans Friday night during the party's annual spring dinner. Keefer was recognized for her countless years of dedication to the party that included stints as county committee chairman, commissioner and county treasurer. On-hand for the presentation were current party Chair Mikeal Fix, left, and Commissioner Craig Cutchall, right. County Republicans kicked off their annual spring banquet Friday night at the Hustontown Firehall by honoring one of their own.

County Chairman Mikeal Fix announced to the crowd on hand that longtime Republican Bonnie Mellott Keefer stepped down as party chairperson after her position on the Fulton County Board of County Commissioners ceased in December 2011. Keefer had chosen not to seek re-election to the position.

Fix stated during the special presentation that Keefer has been deeply involved in the party for more than 30 years. Pointing out she actually joined the county committee in the prior century, Fix said Keefer served as county treasurer for 12 years before moving on to an eight-year term as commissioner. During that time frame, she has also been active in a variety of organizations such as the Fulton County Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, the Fulton County Community Christian School and the Central Fulton School Board.

Fix further referred to Keefer as being a great friend as well as a mentor to him and others in the party. Honored for her years of service to the party, the county and state, Keefer was presented with flowers and a card “containing a little something.” Keefer replied by thanking Fix and fellow party members for their help and support over the years.

Sen. John J. Eichelberger Jr., representing the 30th Senatorial District, served as the keynote speaker during the banquet. Enlightening the crowd on a new video entitled “Four Alarms” that is currently available on his Web site, the state senator said the mini-documentary details controversial public policy issues ranging from pension costs and welfare abuse to state debt and prison costs.

Eichelberger further explained that the video is intended to give residents a broader view of the budget problems in existence. Given that the state government is currently controlled by the Republican Party, he said residents will likely go to their local Republican committee members for answers that can be found in this video.

“We’re asking for people to become firefighters, so you can help put out this blazing inferno we’re surrounded by here in Pennsylvania,” he added.

Eichelberger touched briefly on the recent decision by former senator Rick Santorum to withdraw his bid as presidential candidate. The senator stated Santorum and his family recently appeared in Blair County to speak with constituents, and he was privileged to introduce him to the crowd.

“You could almost see it in his face that he was at the breaking point at what he was going to do ... ,” said Eichelberger, who said he was “personally disappointed” at the senator’s decision to withdraw from the race. “Everyone has their own candidate in the race, but I think that was the real, official close of the spring primary ... .”

Eichelberger said Republican voters will now have to rally behind GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “It will be very interesting to see what Mitt Romney does to come up with a vice presidential candidate,” he stated. “I think we can agree Barack Obama has had a failed presidency in every respect.”

County Commissioner Craig Cutchall gave a rundown of Republican candidates on a national, state and local level who are asking for support in the April 24 election. Cutchall reminded the crowd, “There are still choices.”

Kind words were offered on behalf of Republican auditor general candidate John Maher, who hails from Allegheny County. The official on-hand stated Maher is a “CPA for PA” as he started one of the largest CPA firms in the state. Educated at Oxford, Maher is reportedly “brilliant with numbers” but will also be accountable to the people.

Nancy Bull spoke on behalf of Congressman Bill Shuster and passed along his regrets about being unable to attend the function. She said the senator and his counterparts have been working diligently to pass “positive legislation” in Washington. In addition, the House continues to look at matters such as jobs and budget reform.

“Congressman Shuster has also been personally involved in trying to get a long-term transportation bill passed. He’s still hopeful that can happen. It is very much needed and would also be a big job producer,” said Bull. “As you all know, he (Shuster) may or may not have a competitor during this fall election depending on how things shake out in the upcoming Democratic primary. He’s always gotten tremendous support from you folks here in Fulton County. He thanks you all for your support and hopes he can count on you in the upcoming election.”

Representative Dick L. Hess of the 78th District returned to the podium to ask registered voters for their support in re-electing him to yet another two-year term of office. Hess stated he did not see a need for term limits in the House as there appears to be a routine turnover of members every six to 10 years.

“If you don’t do the job, you’re out on the street,” said Hess. “With that said, I’d like to thank each and every one of you. You’ve all been so kind to me over the years.”

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