Lieutenant governor’s wife delivers keynote address at inaugural ‘Elizabeth Dole Dinner Honoring Republican Women’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2021

Staff Report

SALISBURY — Second lady Yolanda Robinson, wife of Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole shared words of encouragement with fellow Republican women during the county’s inaugural Elizabeth Dole Dinner Honoring Republican Women earlier this month.

The event was held Saturday, March 20, at the Abbey Salisbury on North Fulton Street, and hosted by the Rowan County Republican Women’s Club. The women’s club recently joined the National Federation of Republican Women, and designated the dinner to honor Dole from Salisbury. Dole served in the U.S. Senate from 2003-09, and served in the administrations of former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. She is married to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who was also the Republican presidential nominee in 1996.

Dole was unable to attend the dinner due to her husband’s health, said Rowan County Republican Women President Erica Vedeikis. But she submitted a letter thanking her fellow Republican women for honoring the dinner in her name. She also recalled memories from her time serving under Reagan.

“One day as President Reagan and I sat in a green room waiting for him to speak to a labor gathering, I couldn’t resist. ‘Mr. President,’ I said, ‘You have the weight of the world on your shoulders, yet you are always so gracious to everyone, so respectful, thoughtful and kind. How in the world do you do it,” Dole recalled in the letter.

Dole said Reagan responded with, “Well, Elizabeth, when I was governor of California, it seemed that every day yet another disaster would be placed on my desk, and I had the urge to hand it to someone behind me to help. Then one day, I realized I was looking in the wrong direction. I looked up, instead of back. And I couldn’t go another day in this office if I didn’t know I could ask God’s help and it would be given.”

Dole’s sister-in-law Bunny Hanford attended the dinner to represent the family.

Speakers at the Republican women’s dinner represented facets of the “Republican woman.” During her speech, Robinson urged her fellow women to first listen and be obedient to God, who she credited with her ability to support and stand with her husband throughout his successful bid to the state’s lieutenant governor position. She encouraged Republican women to be bold and act and stand on truth.

“When you stand on truth, you will not falter,” Robinson said during the keynote address.

Local Republican Elaine Hewitt represented the veteran Republican woman. Jessica Cloward represented the godly Republican woman. Nevaeh Hendrickson, a local 7-year-old, represented the future Republican woman and shared her letter to former President Donald Trump, signaling her support for his 2020 presidential bid.

Additionally, The Abbey Salisbury owner Lori Diefenbach represented the new Republican woman and shared her story of becoming a U.S. citizen. Mayor Karen Alexander was also in attendance, representing the leading Republican woman.

Any local Republican woman in Rowan County interested in joining the Rowan Republican Women’s Club can email

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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