About 320 people attended the 41st annual Cape Girardeau County Lincoln Day celebration Saturday night at The Venue to show their support for Republican candidates in upcoming elections.
"We become energized when we see so many people excited and working together," said Lisa Reitzel, second vice president of the Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's Club, which coordinated the Lincoln Day event.
Candidates for local and state offices addressed the crowd outlining the issues that matter most to them.
"We want to educate voters about who the candidates are and what they are fighting for," Reitzel said.
Keynote speaker former U.S. senator Jim Talent said he remembers 30 years ago when Republicans were in the minority in Cape Girardeau County.
"Now this area is a behemoth of Republican strength," Talent said. "It shows what a group of dedicated people can do when they put their minds to it."
Talent touted the American Freedom and Enterprise Foundation in St. Louis, where he serves as honorary chairman. The think tank is dedicated to promoting economic prosperity and free-market ideals.
He also addressed proposed federal health care legislation, saying that it is unpopular with voters because President Barack Obama is not addressing two key issues.
The first, Talent said, is that it takes money out of Medicare to fund other non-health care government programs. Secondly, Congress' health care plan will increase the federal debt, he said.
"By the end of the Obama administration, we're going to have a $15 trillion federal deficit and we'll be paying $1 trillion in interest each year," Talent said.
U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson echoed Talent's concerns about the health care bill. "When the vote on health care occurs, this will be the reason we take back the House in November," she said. She pointed to a Republican winning the recent special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy as a sign of what is to come.
Talent also predicted victories for Republicans in upcoming elections. "People are calling us to lead, and we are prepared to do it," he said.
Other featured speakers included U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, state Sen. Jason Crowell and state Reps. Scott Lipke, Clint Tracy and Billy Pat Wright.
The program also recognized area Republicans running for re-election -- Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle, Division III Circuit Judge Gary Kamp, County Collector Diane Diebold and County Clerk Kara Clark Summers. Retiring County Auditor David Ludwig and Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones were recognized for their service to Cape Girardeau County.
Special awards given to party members were the Republican Spirit Award, presented to Norman Zwoster; the Tough Tusk Award, presented to Wayne Wallingford; and the Bill Emerson Public Service Award, presented to Holly Lintner.
80 S. Plaza Way, Cape Girardeau, MO