T.A.R.G.E.T. President Daniel Carr welcomed the enthusiastic and over-capacity crowd to the Republicans’ Annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
The Presentation of Colors by the Mountain Grove American Legion Post No. 30 Honor Guard featuring Pete Proctor, Phyllis Long, Billy Lee and Francis Marler, was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Wright County Sheriff Sonny Byerley.
The National Anthem was sung by all and a prayer was given by Daniel Friend before the delicious dinner and cobbler prepared by Shetler’s Event Center in Mountain Grove.
Wright County’s own District 141 Rep. Hannah Kelly was the Mistress of Ceremonies.
While introducing Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, she highlighted the importance of his business background.
Accompanied by Second Lady Claudia Kehoe, the Lt. Gov. talked about his role with veterans, senior citizens, tourism and jobs. He discussed Made-in-Missouri products and the importance of following our legislative process. (Lt. Gov. Kehoe had previously announced that he is running for governor in 2024.)
Rep. Kelly then introduced our District 8 U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, Minority Party leader of the U.S. House Budget Committee, who discussed the difficulties working in the Nancy Pelosi-controlled House.
On a lighter note, Rep. Smith spoke about a discussion with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, where the camaraderie and fun of the Trump family was displayed after a Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning ceremony.
On a more serious note, Rep. Smith recalled the passing of his father. President Trump called with his condolences and he personally wrote a letter to Rep. Smith’s mother.
Families matter and the hearts and humanity of both men shone brightly.
Rep. Smith is considering entering the race for retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s position.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will be hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Smith at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort later this month.
Local artist Jimmie Marler presented Rep. Smith with original artwork of the representative and of President Donald Trump.
The Chair of Rep. Smith’s District 8 Committee, Ray Rehder, talked about the many election reform bills being presented during this year’s legislative session and the importance of voter ID with all ballots.
The Outstanding Republicans of the Year, Charles and Pati Knight, were introduced by Rep. Kelly. They were recognized for their flag and sign waving, election yard sign sales, and efforts to get out the vote. State Sen. Karla Eslinger joined the Rep. Kelly in presenting Senate and House proclamations.
The County Clerk’s office, Randy’s Tires, Steve Anderson Taxidermy, Red’s Pizza, Earth Outdoors and Flowers on the Square did a great job selling dinner tickets.
Many thanks to office holders, Flowers on the Square, Helen Sanders, Sue Hotalling and Wanda Nava for decorations, baked items and patriotic items.
Rep. Smith donated a Camp David hat he received while at a retreat with President Trump. It claimed the high bid of the evening and was purchased by Scott and Sheila Long.
The auction was led with the inimitable style of the City of Mountain Grove Mayor Fred VanBibber, who displayed a previously unknown talent. Thank you, Mayor, and all auction participants.
Jack Barnett and Aleta Pamperien won the end-of-evening ammo drawings.
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