WARSAW — A packed house of Republicans gathered to hear U.S. Senator Todd Young highlight the past year in Washington D.C., and offer encouragement in the upcoming election year. His address included a few comments that had the group laughing in their seats.
The annual Republican Lincoln Day Dinner was held Friday evening at the Wagon Wheel Event Center, Warsaw.
But prior to Young’s presentation, the crowd was captivated by a special guest, Marc Eckel, Warsaw, with Splat Experience, creating a painting while dinner was served. With a recorded narrative broadcasted about the life of Abraham Lincoln and the reciting of the Gettysburg Address, Eckel went to work, using his hands and paint, to create a masterpiece that left everyone in awe. The final result was a side portrait of Lincoln’s face on the left and portrait of Lincoln on the right.
“It is quite difficult, I never had to follow a hand painting Picasso,” said Young. “that’s absolutely spectacular.”
Young apologized for his family not being present, noting after an opportunity he had the privilege to witness that morning in Fort Wayne. His children opted to go back to the hotel enjoy the swimming pool and go home. He briefly shared that morning he witnessed a naturalization ceremony at St. Jude Catholic School, Fort Wayne. “I’ve been to naturalization ceremonies before. If you’ve never been to one, they are incredibly touching. You see people say ‘I want to be an American. I want to be a part of this country. I believe in what it stands for, sign up to be a citizen of the United States of America. I don’t believe there are a few things more beautiful than that, except for having a young child become naturalized among his peers, as I saw today.”
Young touched on the promises made in 2016 that were kept in 2017. He spoke of placing conservative justices in various judicial positions, the reduction of federal regulations and tax reform. He also addressed the upcoming elections and the importance of all the races. “It is essential we take the local races seriously … vision of good government, fiscal responsibility, responsiveness to the people we represent. We need to continue the momentum … be a model for the rest of the country.”
He reflected on the feel of those in the Republican Party in 2009, of the tea party movement and the conservatives feeling they were outflanked by the progressive movement. However “Americans responded in a way we have never seen … people rose up, spoke out, got involved, knocked on doors, worked the phones. They gave their spare change during the worse economy since the great depression. Some ran for office.” He noted the Democrats are planning to control the majority at every level of government.
He encouraged those in the party to “firm up your resolve, stay involved, keep knocking on those doors, working the phones, give change to people you believe in and keep the faith. Keep the faith in the candidates, leave everything on the field and know that God will continue to smile on the United States of America.”
All candidates present were introduced and those who had opponents were allowed brief comments. While candidates introduced themselves and encouraged a vote for them, Incumbent candidate Rep. Dave Wolkins, District 18, stated people were going to be seeing him in a way they have not seen him before. He stated it was not directed at his opponent, but to a group – the National Association of Gun Rights – who will be distributing false information in the coming days. “I’ve been quiet. I’m done doing that.”
The painting created by Eckel was auctioned off, going to Ed and Kristy Ornsby. There were also a number of silent auction items available to purchase. The items ranged from sports photographs, championship rings, to photographs of Lincoln, former President Ronald Reagan and President Donald Trump.