Protests peaceful at GOP dinner

ALAMOSA—Security was high—as were spirits—both inside and outside the venue of the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa on Saturday night.

Local law enforcement and firefighters provided security at the entrances to the Adams State University Student Union building where Republicans gathered for their annual fund-raiser dinner. Guest speakers included U.S. Representative Scott Tipton and U.S. Senator Cory Garner who was accompanied by his family.

Local and out-of-Valley protestors—many of whom called for in-person town hall meetings with Congressmen Gardner and Tipton—stood at the entrances to the building and remained at least through the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance when their voices could be heard outside the building.

Participants inside and outside the event remained civil, but members of local law enforcement stayed on site until the event concluded.

Lincoln Day Dinner Emcee and Alamosa County Commission Chairman Darius Allen made it clear at the beginning of the event that this was not a town hall meeting but was a fund-raiser and anyone not treating the guests with respect would be asked to leave. There were no occasions to follow through on the warning, however.

The sold-out event hosting about 200 attendees featured speeches from Gardner and Tipton as well as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, State Senator Larry Crowder and candidate for State Republican Party chairman Jeff Hays.

Participants also recognized military veterans in attendance and gave a standing ovation for World War II veteran D.H. “Mac” McFadden who attended the event with his daughter Anne.
A few non-Republicans attended the event, and presenters recognized Alamosa County Commissioner Helen Sigmond — a Democrat who serves with Allen and Republican Alamosa County Commissioner Michael Yohn — and thanked her for her attendance.

Elections with integrity
Secretary of State Williams reassured attendees that voting tabulation machines are not connected to the Internet in Colorado’s 64 counties, “so if someone thinks the Russians are hacking the elections, you should ask yourself, have you seen any Russians in your local courthouse?”

He added, “Colorado works hard to make sure our elections are run well.”

Election judges from both the Democratic and Republican parties verify signatures on every ballot, Williams said. If a signature does not match the voter registration card, the voter is notified and has a chance to correct the problem, he added.

The bipartisan election judges “assure that our elections are run with integrity in Colorado,” Williams said.

Veterans recognized
State Senator Crowder, a military veteran, recognized the veterans in attendance and said it was because of their service that those who were protesting that night had the freedom to do so.

Crowder touched on the subject of replacing the Affordable Care Act and said it must be replaced with something that serves constituents.

He said he represents nine rural hospitals in the state that are cutting budgets due to lack of funds.

“We need to be very careful how we handle this,” he said. “If Obamacare goes away, we are in charge.”

Back to work
U.S. Representative Tipton spoke about the need for economic recovery in the Third Congressional District.

“We need to be able to get our people back to work,” he said.

He commended President Donald Trump for addressing regulations and rules that hinder small businesses. He acknowledged that regulations have their place but should be enacted with common sense and should work for the American people.

“I am looking into the eyes of people that literally make this country work, those outside and those inside, people who do care about their country, people who desire to have that opportunity for their children to be able to live that American dream,” Tipton said.

He added, “We have this opportunity right now to bring back into focus those elements that made us the richest, the freest, the greatest nation that the world has ever seen by allowing the American people to do what we do better than anybody on the face of the earth, innovate … and stand for liberty.”

Like other speakers Tipton recognized the military. He also commended local law enforcement and those in small business.

He concluded, “You are the people that make this Republic work. You are the people that are ensuring that fragile flame of liberty will be passed on to the next generation.”

Proud history, proud future
U.S. Senator Gardner talked about bolstering the economy, supporting farmers and ranchers, investing in main streets and empowering people to be able to live the American dream.

Acknowledging McFadden and other veterans in the audience, Gardner talked about finding his grandfather’s letters from World War II. One was dated August 15, 1945: “Aha, last night at midnight the rumors were confirmed the war is over. There is peace at last, and I will be home with you soon.”

It is the sacrifices of men and women like this that enable Americans to have the freedoms they possess now, Gardner said.

Gardner said he would continue to work towards limited government because getting government out of the way allows Americans to accomplish great things.

Tying a history lesson to the present, Gardner pointed to a low point in the Revolutionary War when morale was low and recruits were not re-enlisting, but George Washington made the crucial decision to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 and surprise the enemy, “and they won.”

He added, “even though they were outmanned, outgunned, they weren’t out of heart, because that’s what makes this nation who we are. We won the battle. We won the war, and went on to create the United States of America.”

Early leaders had to balance the powers of the federal government with those of the states, he added, which was not an easy task, but those forming this new government were determined to avoid the tyranny they had just fought off.

In response to John Adams’ statement to his wife Abigail wondering if future generations of Americans would deserve the freedoms they fought to give them, Gardner said, “Yes, every generation deserves the freedom they fought for, just like the freedom Mac fought for … We are going to focus on rebuilding American leadership … We are going to be proud of who we are around the globe and make sure we stand up for American values … We are the United States of America and we are an exceptional nation. We are not going to sit down, take a back row seat.”

He said it is time for the U.S. to break out of the “junior varsity ranks of world leadership” and say to the world “the United States is back.”

Cutline: Protestors gather in front of the Adams State student union building where Republicans were holding the annual Lincoln Day dinner Saturday night. No one was allowed in the building without a ticket, and extra security was stationed at the building’s entrances.