RIO GRANDE — Gallia Republicans gathered in the Rio Grande Community College and University of Rio Grande cafeteria Thursday evening for the annual Gallia Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner to celebrate Republican ideals and hear from some of Ohio’s leading conservatives.
Gallia GOP Chair Russ Moore introduced visitors and led announcements before also leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The American National Anthem was led by Jackson County Commissioner Jon Hensler. A moment of silence was given for Don Denney, a Gallia Republican Central Committeeman who recently died. Kevin Dennis led the opening prayer.
Executive Chairman Jeff Halley introduced Gallia dignitaries and Moore introduced visiting dignitaries.
Special recognition, Republicans that Make a Difference, was given by Moore to the Slagle family for their role in manning the Republican Headquarters during election season, a posthumous award to the passed Marvin Vanderburg for his work at the headquarters and to Kennison Saunders for his role in Gallia GOP leadership over the years.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy introduced Ohio Republican Party Chairperson Jane Timken as the evening’s keynote speaker.
“It is my esteemed privilege to introduce someone who I believe all of us should emulate,” said Kennedy. “She is smart, tough and gracious…She’s not only the first woman chair of the Ohio Republican Party, she’s the best woman.”
Kennedy lauded Timken’s grassroots work in door knocking and phone calls for Republican candidates, be they running for city council or state positions.
Timken was elected to the position in January 2017. According to her biographical information on ohiogop.org, Timken first served as a vice-chairman in the Stark County Republican Party. During the 40th Republican National Convention in Tampa, she served as a co-chairman of the Sub-Committee Restoring Constitutional Government as well as the Congressional District 16 delegate. Her legal career first began with Black McCuskey as she specialized in employment law, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and civil litigation. Timken also served as a law clerk and magistrate under Stark County Judge of Common Pleas Sara Lioi.
Timken served as a director at CommQuest, an organization which assisted with homeless shelters, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and adoption services. She was also a chairman of the board of trustees with Kent State University. Her father was Kennedy’s law professor.
Timken thanked her hosts and lauded the efforts of Governor Mike DeWine for the recent signing of the heartbeat abortion ban bill.
“We had a fantastic year in Ohio in 2018,” said Timken. “Remember that big blue wave people were talking about? It crashed in Ohio. As you know, we swept the state and we retained our congressional delegation and our majorities in the Statehouse. People said it wasn’t going to happen, but it happened because of people like you. We made five million voter contacts in that last cycle. That’s doors knocked and phone calls…I’m a big believer in knocking those doors and making those phone calls. I’ll be doing it this year and next year.”
“I want to talk about where we fell short in 2018. We fell short in two races, our Supreme Court races. We have two fantastic ladies on the ballot in 2020, Justices Sharon Kennedy and (Judith) French and I’m bound and determined to not lose those races… Let me tell you the balance of the Ohio Supreme Court is at stake,” said Timken.
The chairwoman would go onto say she was concerned that if democrat judge candidates took places on the Ohio Supreme Court they would overturn Republican “good work” and name it “unconstitutional.”
“Justice Kennedy is right,” said Timken. “I’m a fighter and I don’t back down. I want you all to fight with me. We can’t back down because too much is at stake. I’m asking each and every one of you to fight with me. Do not back down and let’s make sure we win, not only 2019, but 2020.”
Gallia GOP Chairwoman Anita Moore encouraged Gallia Republicans to remember and support Ohio women’s suffrage history and activities before the Lincoln-Reagan Day event ended.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.