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March 19, 2006

Kewanee and a GOP dinner....

I wandered out to Kewanee Friday night for the Henry County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner, and another look at the GOP congressional candidates. About 175 people. Corned beef and cabbage among the menu items. Most of the state-wide candidates sent reps, though a couple of the lt. gov. hopefuls -- Lawrence Bruckner and Joe Birkett - made it in person.

Bruckner, who's from Thomson, seems pretty skeptical about the state's promise to open the new, unused prison there.

Among the questions chairman Jan Weber tossed at Brian Gilliland, Jim Mowen, and Andrea Zinga during the Q&A for congressional candidates was one about withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Mowen sounded quite a bit like President Bush. Said the war on Iraq was over after three weeks, and that we've been fighting a war on terror since. He said it's "dangerous to second-guess military leaders."

Gilliland said we have to be prepared to stay in Iraq for a long time, and that a time-table for withdrawal would be dangerous.

Zinga disagreed. She said its not time to bring troops home, but that
there needs to be a time-table for withdrawal.

All three are for better tranport systems, on water and land; for more emphasis on renewable energy, especially bio-fuels; all are for tightening up the borders; and are more interested in fair trade than free trade.

They're all for being cooperative across party lines and being positive and -- Mowen went so far as to say that, if's nominated, he won't mention incumbent Lane Evans by name for six months. When chairman Weber asked them to stand up and declare they'd support whoever won, they did so, with varing degrees of alacrity.

I don't recall that Evans was otherwise mentioned from the podium. Couple of the couples at the table where I landed chatted briefly about the news stories about his health. Human rather than political talk; "that's too bad" kind of stuff.

I developed an instant fondness for State Sen. Dale Risinger, who I've never met. He was at the next table over. When he outbid one of my table-mates for the carrot cake during the dessert auction, he shared with our table as well as his. Best piece of $80 carrot cake I've ever had.

There was a silent auction, too, with $10 minimums on stuff. Zinga donated a basket of goods made in the 17th District -- wine, pasta sauce and so on. Last time I looked, it was up to $50.

Gilliland tossed in a nice portrait of President Reagan, as well as a "tailgating party kit." The picture was at $50, and the tailgating kit was up to $60.

Mowen donated a book, "Under God: Stories of America's Spiritual Battles." It was stuck at $20.

Had a nice time. Talked with some people I haven't seen for a good many years, including Sheriff Gib Cady. He was the most popular politician present, to judge by the volume and duration of the applause during introductions.

Posted by jcb at March 19, 2006 12:12 AM


Thanks for the report from the field. I find these very interesting, regardless of party.
The details, the comments, the debates -- whatever -- it's good stuff.

Posted by: anonymous at March 19, 2006 07:46 PM