Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 22, 2014

Dinner highlights young GOP members


Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – Running out of chicken and iced tea turned out to be a welcome problem Thursday night for Decatur County Republican Party Chairman Larry Meyer.

The GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner drew so many guests that Meyer’s banquet order initially came up a bit short. But an event that may have been lacking in food and beverages found sustenance in the enthusiasm on display. It appears there are no hunger pangs of any sort in the local Republican Party, especially when it comes to the GOP’s future.

Local attorney Nathan Harter IV served as the dinner’s keynote speaker and galvanized his party with a speech focused on the passion of the county’s conservative leaders.

Harter said of his well-received speech, “As a Republican, we believe there’s a lot we can do every day, as regular citizens in Decatur County, and we look to Lincoln’s example for our values.”

Harter said Lincoln was a man of character who knew the importance of family. The revered 16th president’s enterprise was noted by Harter to be “the backbone of a thriving economy.” Harter added that Lincoln, once a lawyer himself, placed great importance on law, order and liberty.

“I genuinely believe in the greatness and wisdom of the people of Decatur County,” Harter said. “Mostly, I wanted to express how deeply I love this community.”

“He knocked it out of the park,” Meyer told the Daily News Friday. “He just blew them away; he’s a great speaker … It was really inspiring.”

Harter is the GOP’s candidate for Decatur County Prosecutor. Current Prosecutor Jim Rosenberry, also a Republican, will not seek re-election. Harter will challenge local attorney Christopher Tebbe, a Democrat, for the position this fall.

“I’m very much in Chairman Meyer’s debt for permitting me to be the keynote speaker, and I was reminded again at how receptive this community can be to young people,” Harter said.

Harter is part of a youth movement in the local Republican Party that has been met with praise and enthusiasm by Meyer and other conservative stalwarts.

“With Nate, we have a good representation [of younger party members],” said Meyer. “I was very happy with the young people that were at our meeting last night.”

Meyer said he feels the future of the local Republican Party is in good hands and he cited City Council member Blake O’Mara, formerly a Democrat, and Decatur County Sheriff candidate Steve Snyder as further evidence the party’s core values have been accepted by members of the community in their 20’s and 30’s.

“It was really good to be able to get up and talk in front of all my strong supporters of the Republican Party,” Snyder said.

Harter added Friday that his party has been “developing a chapter of Young Republicans for folks ages 18-40.” That group has been meeting lately and is “eager to join in service” to the Decatur County community.

More experienced party members, however, are continuing to spread the GOP’s doctrine.

Mayor Gary Herbert and County Commissioner Jerome Buening were among the local Republicans present. They were joined by Secretary of State Connie Lawson, State Auditor Suzanne Crouch, State Senator Jean Leising and State Representatives Randy Frye and Cindy Ziemke among numerous others.

U.S. Congressman Luke Messer appeared via video at the Decatur County Community Schools Administration Building Thursday night, Meyer said, and talked of the importance for Republican candidates to regain control of the Senate via the General Election this November. Messer also spoke of the need to alter elements of the Affordable Care Act.

Meyer stated his view that the divisive issues in Washington that have led to standoffs and stalemates between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill haven’t trickled down to the local level.

“On a local level, Democrat or Republican doesn’t make a whole lot of difference,” Meyer said. “You’re really looking at the person who’s running.”

To that end, Meyer and other party members are working with Westport Christian Church Pastor Mike Bartlett on a “meet and greet” in Westport that will offer a chance for local candidates from both parties to present themselves to voters. That event is planned to take place sometime next month.

In the meantime, Meyer and other Republicans spent Friday basking in the glow of a successful dinner that brought party members together in both a literal and an ideological sense.

Meyer estimated the gathering drew approximately 300 party members and supporters, roughly 100 more than estimated -- hence the previously mentioned shortage of chicken and tea.

“We ran out of everything, really,” Meyer said laughing. Cook’s Catering provided the food’s banquet.

Meyer called the meeting “a tremendous success” and stated his hopes voters will choose Republicans the first Tuesday in November in spite of his appreciation for those across the aisle.

“Based on the meeting last night, the amount of people that showed up, I think it’s going to be a very good year for people to get out and vote – and vote for the Republican Party.”

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056; brent.brown@greensburgdailynews.com