By Wayne Gates –
Republicans turned out in force in Clermont County to celebrate their annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner.
The event was held at the Holiday Inn in Eastgate, and was attended by Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken, who served as keynote speaker.
“We are in one of the most exciting times to be a Republican in Ohio,” Timken told the crowd. “We now have a Republican President…a Republican controlled congress…all six executive positions in the state, a record majority in the statehouse and more 70 percent of our countywide offices are in Republican hands.”
Following her speech, Timken discussed the role that Clermont County is playing in state politics these days.
“I think it’s vital. Clermont County brings out a lot of Republicans. They are pretty active down here and they’ve had great leadership. We look to Clermont County to be the stronghold in southwest Ohio,” she said.
Timken added that Hamilton County had traditionally played the role of counterweight to Democrat influence in northeast Ohio, but that Clermont County was stepping increasingly into that role.
Regarding the 2018 statewide elections, Timken said that the Ohio Republican Party will not pick favorites before the May primary.
“We have some great candidates and we expect them to run their races,” she said.
The gathering was also attended by many state and local GOP officials, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Following the dinner, he talked about his future political plans.
“I will have an official announcement in a while, but I have made no secret of the fact that I am very interested in running for governor. There are things I want to do as governor and I want to get in front of some of the problems that we face in the state,” DeWine said.
He also discussed current challenges facing the state.
“I think if you look at the big problem we face in Ohio, it is certainly the opiate epidemic. It’s a difficult situation. As I travel around the state, I really don’t see any sign that it’s slowing down. The good news is that there are a lot of lives being saved very single day. They are being saved by people who are volunteering to try and get them into treatment and helping them to stay sober once they get out of treatment.”
He also commented on one of the biggest crimes to hit southwest Ohio in recent years.
“The investigation into the murders in Pike County continues. We have found out a lot of what has been going on in Pike County, frankly, for decades. But we are not ready yet to announce any arrests. I still remain committed that we will solve these cases,” DeWine said.
Attendees also heard from Clermont County GOP Chairman David Uible and Congressman Brad Wenstrup at the podium.
Wenstrup spoke after the dinner about how much he enjoys events like the Lincoln Reagan Dinner.
“It’s rejuvenating, because this is why you are in D.C., for the people here, the ones that put you in office,” Wenstrup said.
“Our schedule is jam packed. We have an agenda, we’re working it. A lot of these things we’ve had teed up for a long time, but it’s a tiring process. Very long days with little sleep in between. but all worth it.”
He added that he expected to stay busy when he returns to Washington.
“We are also going to move forward with the early stages of trying to reform our healthcare system. We have to do it smartly without pulling the rug out from under people,” Wenstrup said.
He also talked about an upcoming challenge that hits close to home for him as a new Colonel in the Army Reserve.
“As the subcommittee chair on health care for the VA, I have my work cut out for me. We have a lot of experience on our committee on how to create a productive healthcare system and we are going to move forward on that,” Wenstrup said.
Clermont County GOP Chairman and County Commissioner David Uible said after the dinner that he was pleased with the current political environment.
“Republicans have done a fabulous job, particularly in the past year of going after the middle of middle America, which is something the Democrats have overlooked,” Uible said.
“Clermont County is a very conservative county and I feel that we have a lot of committed members that are very passionate about politics and we go out and we campaign. We don’t take politics lightly here. I think we are a force to be reckoned with.”