GOP activist Lichtenegger will meet with president

Saturday, May 4, 2002

JACKSON, Mo. -- When Donna Lichtenegger opened the mailed invitation to meet with President George W. Bush, she thought it was a fund raiser.

"I wondered how much this was going to cost," she said.

She soon found out she wasn't being asked to give a dime.

The Jackson woman will be among some 150 key campaign coordinators for Bush from Missouri and other states who will attend a luncheon, organized by the Republican National Committee, and later attend a briefing with the president and other officials on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

"This is an opportunity to thank some of the people who worked hard to help the president in Missouri and several other states and to discuss his agenda for the future," said Ken Mehlman, White House political director.

Mehlman and Lichtenegger said the invitation from the Republican National Committee to meet and greet the president has nothing to do with her candidacy this year for state representative in the 157th District in Cape Girardeau and Perry counties.

But Lichtenegger said a photo of her meeting the president likely would be used in her campaign advertising.

One of four candidates

Lichtenegger is one of four Republicans seeking the seat now held by retiring state Rep. David Schwab, R-Jackson. The others are Gerald Adams and Scott Lipke of Jackson and Tom Sachse of Friedheim. The winner in the August primary will face Democrat Chuck Miller of Oriole, Mo., in the November election.

Lichtenegger plans to fly from Cape Girardeau on Monday morning and return Wednesday afternoon. She has to foot the bill for her flight and plans to stay with a cousin.

Lichtenegger and other campaign volunteers will attend a luncheon with White House staffers and key Republican political leaders at the Capitol Hill Club before meeting with the president at the Eisenhower Executive Building.

An enthusiastic volunteer in GOP campaigns for the past 25 years, Lichtenegger said the invitation shows Bush's appreciation of party workers.

"This is a president who really appreciates the folks who got him where he is. He knows he couldn't make it without his volunteers," she said.

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