Ada Fisher named Republican of the Year at Lincoln Reagan Dinner; legislators celebrate successes
SALISBURY — In a room decorated in red, white and blue and a larger-than-life copy of the Declaration of Independence, Rowan County Republicans gathered Friday for their annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner.
The fundraiser, named after GOP presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, was held to “honor the legacy of those two men, those that came after them and those that are yet to come,” said county Republican Party Chairman Don Vick.
It featured music by local band Motel Soap and a meal of Tuscan-style chicken and marinated flank steak served by Divine Appetite Co.
To match the patriotic decor, festivities began with members of the East Rowan High School JROTC presenting the colors, and Candace Ford Jordan singing the national anthem.
And then it was on to the main event: the presentation of this year’s Republican of the Year Award and speeches by three members of Congress: U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Reps. Richard Hudson and Ted Budd.
The Republican of the Year Award was presented by Vick to Dr. Ada Fisher, who serves as North Carolina’s Republican national committeewoman.
Vick said the decision to choose Fisher had not been a hard one.
“On a national level, on a state level and on a local level, this person has served,” he said.
Fisher said she was surprised as she accepted the honor but said that she loves being a Republican and “had a lot of fun.”
She said this year has been hard on her healthwise: She’s had multiple heart attacks, strokes and more.
For this reason, she doesn’t plan to run again for committeewoman when her term expires in 2020. She also said the committee needs a diversity of ideas and opinions.
Fisher then introduced Tillis, the first speaker of the evening.
“I have found Thom Tillis to be accessible,” she said. “I have found him to be someone you could talk to. We don’t always agree on all things, but we do agree that he is doing the best job he can for the state of North Carolina.”
Tillis spoke of successes in North Carolina by “giving money back to businesses, back to the private sector.”
“That’s the real secret of success,” he said.
But Tillis said the road to deregulation, fewer taxes and more economic freedom hasn’t been easy his entire time in office. The change came when President Donald Trump was elected, he said.
“Under this president’s, shall we say, unique style, we’re starting to wake people up,” he said.
This included passing tax reform “unlike anything we’ve seen since leisure suits were possible.”
Tillis was followed by Hudson, who represents parts of Rowan County in the 8th Congressional District.
Hudson was introduced by County Commissioner Craig Pierce, who said Hudson “hit the ground running” in office.
But Hudson, too, would give credit to Trump.
“There’s no other president that could have gotten us to this point,” he said.
Hudson encouraged those in the crowd to be positive, saying that some critics want them to believe that Congress is not working together in Washington.
“I can tell you, Congress and the president are working together and moving an agenda we all agree on,” he said.
Hudson pointed to some $4.5 billion appropriated this year to address the opioid crisis. But he said it isn’t enough, though it’s a great start. He encouraged listeners to “be evangelists.”
“Talk to your friends and neighbors, your co-workers, the folks at church,” he said. “Make sure they understand how important this agenda is and what’s getting done, the direction this country’s going.”
Budd, who represents the rest of Rowan County in the 13th Congressional District, similarly urged people to vote in what he and Hudson called a “blue moon election”: one with no gubernatorial or Senate races.
His district in particular is being targeted, he said, identified by Politico as the one of two in North Carolina that could help flip the House to Democratic control.
He said former President Barack Obama announced this week that he is going to target North Carolina’s 13th District.
“Personally, I consider that a compliment,” said Budd with a laugh.
Like Hudson, Budd celebrated new and developing legislation to address the opioid epidemic. He spoke of the Coach Act, addressing overprescription; the Thrive Act, getting opioid users back into appropriate housing; and the Career Act, which focuses on getting people back into the workforce.
He said it is a “great time to get folks back into the workforce,” citing a recent Wall Street Journal headline that read “Economic growth in the U.S. leaves the world behind.”
“Isn’t that a refreshing headline to see?” he said.
Friday’s activities also featured a silent auction facilitated by the Rowan Republican Women. It featured items from oil changes to cruises, sports memorabilia to vineyard tours.
Proceeds from the dinner and auction will aid local Republican candidates on the campaign trail.
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