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Monday, February 06, 2006

Working Hard and Meeting People

Wednesday Feb. 1st

Many of the women of the Macomb Womans Club (which provides scholarships and plenty of good works) are ladies I knew, looked up to and emulated as I was growing up in town. Other members are young women who tell me that, wherever in the area they grew up, they "grew up watching" me. Sigh, but then--"to everything there is a season..."

That afternoon we walked the Macomb Square visiting with owners and employees of small businesses, hearing their stories and concerns. I stand alone in this race in having signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge (although it has been signed by the President and about half the members of Congress, including all the U.S. Representatives whose districts surround ours here in the 17th). As a fiscal conservative, I find it a natural: to pledge to do everything in my power to hold the line on marginal tax rates; and to oppose any cuts in tax deductions or credits unless matched dollar for dollar by other credits.

After a quick lunch at Cookie's Diner with our beguiling waitress Beth, we went into more
Grassroots Vote getting mode.

Then, we were off to Monmouth and the Warren County Republican Central Committee meeting there. Good to see old friends again, including our county coordinator, Bill Underwood (Warren County coroner) ...and party Chairman Jim Standard runs things on a tight, efficient schedule.

We all stayed the night with our Hancock County coordinator and his wife--Pastor Randy and Vickie White. Randy has been on a mission to make churches and their congregations aware of our campaign and I have watched in awe and heard the reports from the field. JUST GREAT. Thank you, Randy.

Thursday February 2nd

Breakfast in downtown Hamilton, complete with the yellow car (!) Check the campaign photo gallery for all the pictures. We then had a great reception when we went and visited more small business owners in Hamilton.

At 11:00 a.m. we all careened down the backroads to a long-awaited treat: lunch at the Dusty Farmer. If you haven't been there, you haven't eaten! Evelyn Rea and her team serve up meat loaf and other great entrees (couple of us had the stuffed peppers), handwhipped potatoes and gravy, harvard beets, homemade rolls, and desserts to die for (never from!). The Dusty Farmer is in Ferris Illinois, if you're wondering: look for it in a school building with a little green sign leaning up against the window, open 6 am till 2 pm: a rare opportunity mid-campaign to eat a GREAT meal, and then talk extensively with folks who come in to pull a chair up to Evelyn's table.

Back to work, if you can call it that: and you hardly could on a day as warm and sunny as this one was! Conversation with more small businesspeople, this time in Carthage, and a lot of VGM...led us to the Hancock County Extension Center at 4:30 pm for the "Season of Change" fundraiser put on for us by Ron and Patti Starr.

WOW! 65 people came to eat steamburgers and ALL the fixings as prepared (thank you ladies!) by some of the best of the "distaff side" in Hancock and Henderson Counties. Patti, in her first fundraiser, did everything right and the results showed. A special thank you for coming to State Representative Rich Myers, Hancock County States Attorney Jim Drotz, Hancock County Treasurer Kris Pilkington (having her own re-election fundraiser February 23 in Laharpe!) and the
County Board Chairman Mr. Dave. Also present were several members of the County Board.
We had some fun but we also did some serious talking about why Lane Evans is more vulnerable than ever this campaign (including a $185,000 fine to the FEC for fraudulently using campaign donations to win the 1998 and 2000 elections) and about the issues of such vital importance to the people of the 17th. It was just great and I thank each one there for coming and for supporting Andrea Zinga for Congress.

Drove to the Quad Cities.

February 3rd
Friday--Campaign paperwork and catching up all day until 4:00. Time for VGM with South Rock Island 1 Precinct Committeeman Rick Neuswander and one of our best campaign buddies, Mark Archibald. After that, drove to Sterling to catch the Business Showcase.
I really never do tire of listening to the accounts of how people are out there working to realize their dreams; although I DO tire of all the regulation and taxation they face along the way. They tell me: "It's hard, and it's like everything you do is tougher than it needs to be." They aren't talking about the long hours or the sweat equity--they're proud of that, happy and excited to do it, to build something all their own. They mean the excessive government red tape, the endless fees....the sense that their government, be it state or federal, is trying to BLOCK them rather than helping facilitate their reach for the American Dream.


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