STEUBENVILLE - Republicans, politicians, citizens and others gathered Thursday evening at the Steubenville Country Club for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner to enjoy fellowship, discuss politics and listen to two prominent Republican politicians.
Those gathered enjoyed a meal and the opportunity to hear what Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, had to say on the state of the nation and the Republican party nationally.
Husted began by presenting two proclamations of appreciation to local Republicans Donna Kegler and Bill Hannan for their years of service to the community. Husted also discussed his role as chief elections official for the state and his wife Tina being in Boston during the recent bombing.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, was the keynote speaker during the annual Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday at the Steubenville Country Club. Johnson mostly spoke on the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and what he is trying to accomplish for the district. - Mark J. Miller
"My wife was a block from where (the bombing) occurred," said Husted. "I learned about the bombing before the rest of the nation because she called me about it."
Husted said his wife became a marathon runner years before and had been invited as one of 65 starters for this year's Boston Marathon.
"It's the Superbowl of marathons," he said, adding the nation went through the range of emotions from anger to sadness. "It was a day of sadness from everyone that loves freedom. We will not turn away from being a peaceful society."
Husted said all humans strive for freedom and "when they don't get it, they resort to violence. People have fought incredible battles for freedom. It's been that way through human history."
Husted also discussed how to attract new members to the Republican party, noting party members are getting older while younger voters are voting Democratic.
"Sometimes we have voices in the (Republican) party who are pessimistic and angry," he said. "No one wants to be around that. We're at our best when we're optimistic and hopeful about the future."
Johnson acknowledged the past week "had been a difficult one for our nation," citing the bombing and ricin attacks. Johnson went on to criticize the U.S. Senate.
"Every time I'm in Washington, the Democrats in the Senate say a whole lot but not a lot gets done," he said, adding the Senate only recently passed a budget for the first time in years, and "it's full of spending and full of more tax increases for the American people."
Johnson went on to say the only reason the Senate passed a budget was because members wouldn't get paid if they hadn't. He also criticized President Obama and his budget proposal, adding the president's budget also contained tax increases and new spending.
"We need to do everything we can to expand (freedom) every day," Johnson continued. "We know who the boss is. I know who the boss is. I know I work for you and not the other way around."
Johnson said Lincoln also went through difficult times, and "He put the nation's survival before his own. Lincoln sacrificed every bit of (political) capital he had. Barack Obama puts his own political survival before the nation's survival."
Johnson also said the nation needs more fathers, both figuratively and literally, if it is to survive.
"We as a nation and society are not providing the fathers we once did," he said, adding a lack of fathership is leading to problems in society. "I believe it deserves a national conversation."
Johnson also said it isn't the government's job to take care of the fatherless, but "it's our job - the people of goodwill."
"There's tough terrain ahead for America, but I won't stop fighting," Johnson continued, adding unemployment numbers in his district are too high. "We should demand more responsibility from our government. No country has been a better garden for growth than the U.S."