Republicans across Northeast gather in Conn.
The 1st Annual Northeastern Connecticut Republican Dinner, held on Feb 1 in Canterbury, showcased 19 candidates campaigning for state representative, congressional, treasurer, Lt. Governor and gubernatorial positions. The event served as a place for state Republicans to gather and rally behind the party. The UConn College Republicans were guests at the event, where speakers stressed the importance of youth involvement in politics.
Pam Lewerenz, who helped to organize the event, stressed the importance of younger Republicans' involvement in the party., "This is our legacy," she said, "and we need the strength not only of numbers but of positive energy and volunteerism to keep the Republican Party alive and moving in the direction it should."
The candidates running for governor gave detailed descriptions of their political pasts and stressed Republican ideals as an important asset to their campaigns.
"I'm a Reagan Republican and that means individual rights, limited government, and adherence to the US constitution, especially the second amendment," said Tom Foley, gubernatorial candidate of the 2nd Congressional District.
However, some candidates spoke of targeting demographics not traditionally associated with the Republican Party.
"I think the Republican Party really needs to start focusing on young voters, minority voters, women voters," said Penny Bacchiochi, candidate for Lt. Gov. of Connecticut.
Guest speaker Frank Williams, a noted Abraham Lincoln historian and a friend and member of the Brooklyn Republic Town Committee, took on a more reverent and solemn mood. He had chosen to speak when the dinner was planned as a Lincoln Dinner, before it became the Northeastern Republican Dinner. Williams' speech focused on Lincoln's historic significance and how his legacy is relevant to today's political landscape.
"He was the best writer in all of American politics, and his words are even more powerful than his image," Williams said. "His greatest trial, the Civil War, was the nation's greatest trial, and the race problem that caused it is still with us today.'
The night closed with remarks from Republican and Tea Party figure heads, ending with a debate and question panel featuring the six gubernatorial candidates.
The event also worked to contribute to Northeast Republican campaigns, raising funds through ticket sales.
The dinner drew in a crowd of over 400 and will be an annual event.
As evidenced by the size and fervor of the crowd, Republicans of the Northeastern districts have optimism about the election year.
"We will bring this state back into Republican hands," Sal Lilienthal, 5th Congressional District candidate, said.
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