2005 State of the Party Address by Steven R. Shine
Mike Sylvester, Chairman of The Libertarian party of Allen County in Red
Thank you, Attorney General Carter, for your kind words of introduction.
We are honored that you took time from your busy schedule to be here today for this fifth annual celebration of the State of the Allen County Republican Party. There are many Republicans in Indiana in whom we take great pride.Among those accomplished public servants, you stand out as a genuine friend of the people.From day one, you have taken to heart the significance of the job entrusted to you, and you’ve never lost sight of the good that it could do.In 2001 you took the helm of an office that was in disarray and badly in need of a mission, and transformed it into a force for good in the everyday lives of all Hoosiers.
Let’s hope The Attorney General’s Office stays out of the business of Hoosier Taxpayers; let’s hope they stay in Indianapolis and out of our private business.
Your goal of bringing peace and quiet back to the dinner hour succeeded with the passage of Indiana’s Telephone Privacy Law –– better known as the no-call list. With your help, more than 3.5 million of us have been able to say “No” to unwanted telemarketing calls by adding our names to one easy-to-use list.
I think the no-call list is a positive step in the right direction; unfortunately, you allowed many groups that were friends of yours to exempt themselves from the no-call list and that is too bad. I wish you would have made it so politicians and their hired telemarketers would leave me alone!
The results of your first term as Attorney General have been magnificent... you’ve cleaned up Lake County politics.
Really? I think declaring that Lake County’s politics are cleaned up is kind of like President Bush landing on an aircraft carrier and declaring victory in Iraq a couple of years ago.
You dramatically increased the return of unclaimed property to Hoosiers. You doubled the collection of money owed to the state and you cut in half the amount of money Indiana pays out in tort claim lawsuits and settlements.Thank you again for being here, and for being one of the many reasons Republicans have to celebrate the results of 2004.
Isn’t it amazing, the difference a year can make?On Election Day 2004, we delighted at one Republican success after another, from the White House to the Statehouse and the Courthouse. At the county level, Republican candidates won every single race. Our ticket leader, Allen County Coroner Dr. Jon Brandenberger, earned over 83,000 votes.In the race for Allen County Commissioner, the Democrats fielded their best candidate in a very long time. Yet our candidate for Commissioner, Nelson Peters, won by nearly 30,000 votes.
One of the secrets to our insurmountable turnout in November was a get-out-the-vote partnership between the Allen County GOP and the Mitch Daniels for Governor Campaign.Together, we ran telephone banks, recruited volunteers and registered people to vote. Together, we put out yard signs, knocked on doors and energized an electorate that was screaming for change.
By turning out our base in historic numbers, Allen County helped Mitch Daniels carry Indiana –– and carry the Governor’s Office back into Republican hands for the first time since 1988. While the job isn’t officially his until next week, OUR Man Mitch has already shown this his will be an administration remembered for its committment to ethics, innovation and dedicated public service.
I will be interested to see if there is a back-lash against the local GOP for backing Mitch Daniels. It seems like he is becoming more unpopular as time goes on. I like some of Mitch Daniels rhetoric; I just do not like his actions. I think there may be a back-lash over several issues:
1. Property taxes will increase dramatically with some of the changes Mitch has made. He lowered the Property tax Replacement Fund and assumed that local School Boards would immediately cut spending. This was extremely naïve of Mitch Daniels. The local School Boards have not cut any spending, they have increased property taxes. The property taxes in Perry Township have DOUBLED in the last four years. They are going up ANOTHER 18% this year. Mitch will most likely pay for this.
2. The time zone fiasco was just that, a fiasco. The only fair way to determine our time zone is to have a statewide referendum. Mitch really screwed up when he wrote the DOT a letter and suggested certain Counties be on certain time zones. Some people feel this broke State Law…
3. Leasing the toll road to a foreign company is an interesting idea. I have not had time to crunch the numbers myself. I think there is a lot of mis-information being put out by both sides. If the plan is passed and if the State gets almost 4 billion dollars this money should be put into a PROTECTED fund that the politicians can only spend the interest on each year. Unfortunately Mitch Daniels wants to spend over 90% of this money in the first ten years of the lease. Remember how both the Dems and Reps have abused the tobacco settlement fund and used it for everything but what it was intended for?
4. In each of Mitch Daniels State of the State Addresses he has advocated a tax
increase. I would rather he cut spending… I would suggest an across the board 1% cut to EVERY State program.
A new era is about to dawn in Indiana. Our comeback is about to begin.For that reason and so many others, it gives me great pride to come before you today –– for the fifth consecutive year –– to report that the State of the Allen County Republican Party is exceptionally strong. As this New Year begins, the Allen County GOP holds its strongest claim ever on the title, “Indiana’s Premiere Political Organization.”The New Year never comes without change and this year will be no exception. As 2005 gets underway, we must bid farewell to a few good friends.After 40 years of leading City and County government, Allen County Commissioner Ed Rousseau retired at the end of 2004. Every corner of this county bears his fingerprints, from General Motors and Glenbrook Mall, to Uniroyal Goodrich and the Airport Expressway. Ed, you never stopped standing for your convictions. When cancer came along a few years ago, you told it to “take a hike” and you kept right on going. There are many people in this community, Ed, who are living great lives because of the work that you did. They thank you, and we thank you. We know that there will be many more opportunities ahead for you to contribute to our lives.
We also bid farewell in a few days to Wayne Township Assessor Jerry Zuber. Jerry has served this community with distinction for a decade, a difficult decade of reassessments and the transition to a new, market-based system of taxing property. His dedication to his work and his community shows. As he prepares to leave this demanding job, Jerry remains one of Allen County’s most respected and beloved public servants. We salute you, and we thank you for 10 years of dedicated service.
In 2004 we lost a great friend, State Senator ““Bud”” Meeks, who passed away in March. Bud represented Allen County in Indianapolis since 1998, after serving as Allen County Sheriff from 1975 until 1982. He served us proudly in many roles, including that of President of the National Sheriffs' Association. We will forever be thankful for Bud’s service and his friendship, and for the dedicated service of his wife, Marge, who continues to help us make headquarters tick.
The 2004 election was a reaffirmation of the values and ideas which we Republicans stand for.
Actually the Republicans do not stand for the items they keep touting. The Republicans stand for the following:
1. Larger and larger government. The Prescription Drug Care expansion is
the largest expansion of the “Great Society” since the 1960’s. Heck, if Bill Clinton would have passed this plan Rush Limbaugh would have immediately labeled him a Socialist. The program has just started and the projected cost has MORE THEN DOUBLED. According to Sean Hannity (a mouthpiece for The Republican Party) the cost has already QUADRUPLED from the original estimates.
2. Crushing Budget deficits. We have annual budget deficits of about 400
billion dollars per year. Note the real budget deficit is actually much higher then the 400 billion they claim. They are using the surplus in Social Security every year to offset the budget deficit. If the government quit “cooking the books” they would have to report budget deficits of 700-800 BILLION dollars per year.
3. Broken promises regarding term limits. Our own Mark Souder is a great example of this.
4. The Republican Party has 100% failed America in regards to illegal
immigration. The borders are 100% open. At the same time our
government is spending tens of billions of dollars on security. These tens
of billions of dollars are absolutely wasted if we have an open border.
5. Ethics. The Republicans beat The Democrats on ethics issues in 1994. Now
that the Republicans have been in power for twelve years, they are every bit
as corrupt as the Democrats they replaced.
The re-election of President Bush by more than 3 million votes showed that Americans have no appetite for the politics, practiced by others, of anger and division. They want leadership and they demand results.
The re-election showed that The Democrats chose a terrible candidate. Any reasonable moderate Democrat would have beat Bush and beat him soundly.
For that, they turned to Allen County Republicans in historic numbers. Last year, I stood in this same place and told you that “Difficult days only make us stronger. Difficult times only make our victories sweeter.” Well, this past Election Night was pretty sweet... In addition to a new Commissioner, we elected two new at-large members of County Council, Paul Moss and Patt Kite, and re-elected a third, Roy Buskirk.
We re-elected a Republican Treasurer and Surveyor, Bob Lee and Al Frisinger, and sent Mark Souder back for his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mark Souder is a large government Republican and is a disgrace to this area.
Mark USED to believe in term limits; but, now that he has served 12 years he no longer believes in them. Mark was a C.O. during Viet-Nam. When other men his age were nobly serving their country Mark was a Young Republican arguing with liberals on college campuses. Today Mark wants everyone to think he is a pro-military Hawk. Mark Souder is a “Chicken hawk” and a hypocrite. As a military veteran I am completely disgusted by Mark Souder.
Mark Souder believes that the Federal earkmark system is needed, enough said about Mark. He is a large government conservative and he is an outright liberal on fiscal policy…
I would not let Mark Souder balance my checkbook.
The only way Mark Souder can be considered a conservative is on social issues. On social issues, Mark Souder is a conservative.
And how about our results at the Statehouse? In a few days, leaders we re-elected in 2004, including David Long, Bob Alderman, Randy Borror, Jeff Espich, Phyllis Pond and Mike Ripley, will return to a General Assembly in which Republicans hold majorities in BOTH houses. For the first time since 1982, Republicans –– with Allen County leaders at the forefront –– will hold both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office. Allen County’s delegation will enjoy unprecedented prominence in the years to come, with David Long serving as Senate Majority Leader,Jeff Espich chairing the House Ways and Means Committee and our other representatives leading other important committees and subcommittees. At long last, Indiana will get to see the quality of leaders that Allen County sends to the Statehouse.
As the General Assembly tackles a dizzying array of tough issues, including balancing a budget drowning in red ink, Allen County will show Hoosiers what leadership and fiscal discipline REALLY mean.
The victories we enjoyed on Election Night felt like wonderful gifts, but we know that they were not. Because we are in an unprecedented position of power as we enter the New Year, we must be more diligent, more responsible and more worthy then ever before. Our friends and neighbors throughout this community did not give us a gift –– they gave us yet another opportunity to prove ourselves.We are humbled by your support. No matter how large our margins of victory may be, we will never take success for granted, nor will we ever forget WHY you believe in the GOP.
We will always hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. Our bedrock principle will always be that Allen County Republicans stand for public service as much as we stand for winning. If you look at the statistics, 2004 can be considered nothing but an absolute success. After the challenges of 2003, we gathered ourselves up and worked harder than ever before to elect great candidates across the board.How did we do it? By recommitting ourselves to the basics.
We redoubled our efforts to build Indiana’s strongest precinct organization. After all, our precinct committeemen and women are the grassroots of Republican success. Without them, the voters don’t know us. Without them, our polling places don’t open. They are the friendly, familiar face that our neighbors associate with the Republican Party. We worked harder than ever before to communicate with these essential foot soldiers in our organization, and to recognize how truly essential they are to our success. As you will hear in a few moments, we will empower precinct committeemen and women even more in the year to come.
Our organizational efforts paid off handsomely, with 100 percent of our precinct boards filled well before Election Day. We maintained a full-time headquarters and staff, an asset that also paid huge dividends in the weeks before November 4th. Hundreds of people, hoping to register, to vote absentee or just to find information, came through these doors and found the help they needed. In 2004, we also met with Republican elected officials, the public face of all that we do, to find out how the Allen County GOP could serve them more effectively –– both inside and outside our own organization. At the end of this meeting, we came away with a list of almost 100 ideas.This is important input, because, as an organization, the Allen County Republican Party can help our elected officials be even more successful, Republican officeholders need to know that we stand for more than getting them elected. This organization will be front and center to support their needs and to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they serve in office. When the results of 2004 are weighed, it is these efforts that will have made the difference. Historic levels of fundraising, an aggressive voter ID program, our best get-out-the-vote effort ever and an army of volunteers bigger than any While television commercials, e-mail and web we’ve ever been able to field sites have become the leading tools of today’s campaigns, we proved in 2004 that the grassroots –– one-on-one contact with the people whose support we ask for –– counts as much as ever. So many times before, I have said this to you - Allen County Republicans are about more than the sum of the elective offices they hold.We are about the sum of the contributions we make.
We are about the number of diverse opinions, perspectives and faces we contribute to the political process. Once again in 2004, we fulfilled that promise. In September, our GOP Action Team, led by Mike Foster, sold barbeque chicken dinners at Georgetown Square Shopping Center that raised several thousand dollars to benefit the Martin Luther King Montessori School. This is a school that fills a vital role in our community by giving an educational head start to underserved, at-risk children.Two years ago, we formed the GOP Action Team to find ways that we might contribute more to the Allen County community. Since then, the GOP Action Team organized school supply giveaways, a veterans’ fair and an elder law seminar. In 2003, the team held a “Support Our Troops” yard sign sale that raised $10,000 for the Allen County Council of Veterans. But this fundraiser for The Martin Luther King Montessori School was particularly special. The school provides preschool care to children age three to five. It is one of only two schools in the United States that offer top-tier, affordable Montessori education to low-income families.As citizens above all else, we felt it was important to help this school fulfill its mission of building minds and building futures. Congratulations, Mike, and to the rest of the GOP Action Team for making a meaningful contribution to our community. A job well done!
We showed our enthusiasm on many fronts in 2004, in ways both large and small. On October 18 nearly 1,500 people joined us for the Allen County GOP Bean Dinner. It was our biggest event ever, as Michael Reagan delighted and touched us with stories of his father, former President Ronald Reagan, who sadly passed away in June. What a wonderful way to remind ourselves and our community, just weeks before Election Day, of the REAL values that Republicans stand for. Ronald Reagan taught the world the value of strength through willpower, values and compassion.
In 2005 and beyond, we will continue to lead by doing what’s right and doing the things that inspire trust in our friends and neighbors. To begin this effort, I’m pleased today to announce two upcoming projects. In early 2005, Allen County Republicans will conduct a bi-partisan ethics seminar for elected officials countywide. Governor-elect Daniels has pledged that his administration will insist upon the highest standards for ethics and performance, and we will reinforce his commitment here at the local level.Improving the faith of citizens in government is a job for all of us, and the Allen County GOP will do its part.Allen County Republicans have led the way in recent years by training local officeholders and their employees in ethics and public records. As we do it again in 2005, I invite our friends in the Democrat Party to join us.
I notice he does not invite Libertarians. He is probably upset that several Republicans have switched to The Libertarian Party already this year…
Together, let us send a message to the people of Allen County. Let us send a message that adherence to the highest standards of ethical behavior shall be our hallmark. Citizens expect that they can trust the officeholders they elect. Our ethics seminar will reinforce that message and demonstrate clearly what is expected of those who are entrusted with the solemn duty of being stewards of the public’’s trust.A few minutes ago, I paid tribute to the work of our precinct committeemen and women. Without them, our organization simply does not function. During 2005, an off year for elections, we will be working on a new project to empower our precinct chairs like never before –– our first- ever Countywide Republican Convention, to be held on February 25, 2006 at the Memorial Coliseum. We will conduct this convention specifically to give our precinct chairs a more direct say in what our organization does. No longer can we only call on these dedicated Republicans to do just the hard work on Election Day.Our precinct chairs represent the real grassroots of this community. They are elected, almost at a neighbor level, by their friends and neighbors. They are the face of the Republican Party at church, at the grocery store and at the PTA. For the past 12 years, empowerment has been the hallmark of the Allen County GOP. The other 91 counties in this state envy the example we have set here. Our prosecutor is a woman, and the majority of our County Commissioners are women.Allen County Republicans elected the first African American to serve as President of County Council, and they elected the first Hispanic American to sit on the same body.We have led the way in empowerment, and in making sure that everyone with a stake in this party has the chance to put his or her hands on the wheel of power.Our 2006 County Convention will be another step in our growth as an organization dedicated to its stakeholders –– all of them. It will be another GIANT step toward truly revitalizing the grassroots of our party.The 2006 County Convention will be a first. The precinct chairs will have the chance to vote in a non-binding straw poll of our primary candidates.
For the first time there will be an event dedicated solely to making the precinct chairs an integral part of shaping, testing and –– perhaps ultimately –– choosing those who will represent us in the 2006 election.
The Allen County Republican Party does not believe in an open primary system, or so I have been told. One local Republican who ran against an incumbent was told that he could not even put his signs in the Republican Party headquarters. I know another Republican who wanted to run against Mark Souder and was told that running against Mark Souder would be disloyal… Wow.
I think open Primary’s make Party’s stronger…
This will be much more than a show. The County Convention will lay the groundwork for an important election year. In 2006, we will elect a Sheriff, a Prosecutor, two Commissioners, four County Council members and many, many more. We must keep burning the fires in 2006 that we lit in 2004. We have heard that the opposition can’t win... Allen County is just too Republican. But you need only look to the first floor of the City- County Building for proof that the opposite is true. In 2006, we will be running against a Democrat incumbent in a county race, the race for Allen County assessor. Under the right conditions, a Democrat CAN win in Allen County.You have my pledge that your Allen County Republican Party will redouble its efforts this year and next to assure our continuity of success. In closing, I hope that you look forward to the future as much as I do. This year, we won’t get the chance to meet on Election Night. But we will have many chances to talk along the way, and many reasons to celebrate being Allen County Republicans.Thank you again for all that you do. The demands on your time are immense, and I appreciate all that you give to the Allen County GOP. Our success belongs to you! Thank you for coming, and have a wonderful 2005.