Congressman Peter Roskam, who represents Algonquin Township in McHenry County, treated Republican Precinct Committeeman to a light breakfast at GOP Headquarters next to Joseph’s Market in the Crystal Lake Plaza Saturday morning.
In a really good ice breaker Roskam asked each in attendance to tell about their initiation into politics.
Mine was in third grade in Easton, Maryland.
Teams were assigned to paint Halloween scenes on downtown store windows.
Mine drew a barber shop.
We water painted a parade past a haunted house.
On a hay wagon was a sign saying, “I like IKE.”
Later that week, my teacher strongly suggested that we change the message on the sign to “VOTE.”
Some guys in the barber shop must not have liked the message. (Talbot County was solidly Democrat at the time, although the Eastern Shore is now Republican.)
Compliant kids that we were, we did.
My father may have been the first elected official (he was President of the Town Council in Easton) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to change his registration from Democrat to Republican. He had to do so in order to vote in the closed primary for Eisenhower.
Mike Walkup told of going to a Nixon rally in Chicagoland and worming his way up to the front, as only a ten-year old could do.
He ended up shaking Nixon’s hand.
Later he was driving in front of the White House when Nixon’s resignation was announced.
That led him to the Democratic Party which he left to rejoin the GOP.
John Radke got involved at McHenry County College when he “worked on George William Hubbard’s campaign for McHenry County Board.
“I had no clue what I was doing, just wanted to help out my classmate’s Dad.”
Others ranged from the Goldwater’s campaign and Reagan’s candidacy to the McHenry County Young Republicans.
Here’s State Senator Dan McConchie’s story:
“I was a volunteer in college with the John Ashcroft for US Senate campaign in Missouri.
“Shortly thereafter I was asked by the George Bush campaign to recruit a bus of college Republicans to go to the Presidential debate in St. Louis.”
Here’s how State Rep. candidate Allen Skillicorn outlined his Republican journey:
“In my 20’s I made leaflets against John Kerry. In 2008 I made them against Hillary and later Obama.
“In 2009 I became Vice Chairman of the Young Republicans.
“In 2010 I ran for PC and won.
“2011, I ran against 3 incumbent village trustees and was top vote getter, knocking off an incumbent.
“2012, I was elected to the Kane GOP central committee.
“2014, became Vice Chair of the county party.”
Chris Covelli got activate more recently:
“I became very involved two years ago when my wife, Kimberly, ran as a write-in candidate with Jim Cosler for Village of Cary Trustee.
“They ran on the platform of listening to the people and voting on issues the way the community wished for them to vote. They ran on transparency and bringing the government back to the will of the people.
“It was a grass-roots campaign, and going door to door, I realized people want to be heard by their elected officials. They want their elected officials to be involved with them and represent their best interests.
“The community wants a voice on major (and minor) decisions their elected officials are making.
“It was clear to me that several in our Village had forgotten the concept of government of the people, by the people, for the people…
“And that’s what really got me involved.”
He writes, “It was great hearing all the stories about everyone’s initial political activities. The stories were great ice breakers for the meeting.
(If others who attended would like to add their memories, put them in the comment section and I’ll transfer them up here.)
Roskam said the thought Republicans would maintain control of the House and went through four or five U.S. Senate races that he thought could be won, but which were close.
Opening the floor for questions, the United States Representative commented on subjects from China’s over-extension in the South China Sea to the situation in Turkey.