MOUNT VERNON — The economy, jobs and health care were on the minds of just about everyone at the Knox County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Day Dinner, Saturday evening at The Dan Emmett Conference Center. Many had high hopes for Republican gains in the November election.
“I’m hoping to see a very conservative swing in the next election,” said Jerry Lewis, a member of the Republican Central Committee. “That’s what I’m hoping for. What we need are good conservatives; not just Republicans, but good, solid conservatives. Hopefully we can get back on the right track.”
Mount Vernon City Council member Mike Hillier also has high hopes for Republican participation in the coming elections.
“I heard there were 240 people who turned out here tonight,” he said. “I think that shows a lot of support for the Republican Party here in Mount Vernon and Knox County. People are involved. They’re getting out. They are getting their voice out and they want people to hear them. As far as the upcoming election, I think you’re going to see a lot of people voting, so you better be on your toes.”
The keynote speaker was Mary Taylor, Ohio state auditor and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Before dinner, she shared with the News her views on what she thinks is important to the people of Ohio.
“I’m going to talk a little bit tonight about changing directions and getting back on the right path,” she said. “I’ll be talking about restoring prosperity in Ohio and where we’ve faltered a little bit, and where we need to be headed in the future.”
Taylor also has high hopes for Republicans’ prospects in November.
“I think they look pretty good, actually,” she said. “I think if you’d asked me that nine months ago I would have given you a different answer. But I think as you look around this room, you look around this state, you see people who are standing up and saying we elected you to represent us and we don’t agree with you going against the will of the people. And we continue to see that. Unemployment is high. It is up again here in Ohio. Ohio families are hurting. People want to know where their job opportunities are going to be.”
Taylor touched on a subject important to many in Knox County — agriculture, especially Issue 2 and the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
“Many Ohio farmers and businesses — and farming is a business — are being mandated what to do and how to run their businesses by outside interests,” she said. “I think they should stay out of Ohio and let Ohioans do it the way they’ve been doing it for years.”
She also touched on farmland preservation.
“I think clearly it is working here in Knox County,” she said. “I think it is important here in Knox County to preserve farmland. And I think it’s important to allow those individuals to make the decisions they want. That allows family farms to continue to be run the way the original fathers and grandfathers intended.”
During the dinner, the Knox County Republican Party named State Sen. Bill Harris as Knox County Republican of the Year. Although Harris is not a resident of Knox County, he does represent the district in the State Senate. Harris is president of the Senate, but because of term limits is ineligible to run again for the senate seat.
“I really feel humble, first of all because you would consider me at all for this honor,” Harris said when accepting the award. “I’ve had a great time in the Legislature and I certainly thank you for giving me a chance to make Knox County the great place it is today. I thank you.”