Area GOP group hosts prominent speakers

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Political Analysis

Kathy Hartkoph

ELIZABETH CITY — The Al Pam Republican Club met Thursday, April 2, and heard from William Sirginson, a retired Military Chaplain with the Missing In America Project; and, Kathy Hartkoph of the well known conservative think tank, Freedom Works.

Hartkoph covers the southeastern U.S. on behalf of Freedom Works. She offered a fascinating account of Mississippi’s U.S. Senate race last year.

In the Republican primary, incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran ran against Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel, who won the primary but by less than 40 percent, which triggered a runoff election, as required by the state’s election laws.


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During the runoff campaign, Cochran — with help from Haley Barbour, the former Republican Governor of Mississippi, and Carl Rove, the former campaign director for G.W. Bush — began campaigning for Cochran in African-American neighborhoods.

Campaign workers allegedly told black voters that, if elected, McDaniel would eliminate welfare payments from the federal government. Many observers believe the strategy worked, as Cochran defeated McDaniel in the runoff.

The McDaniel Campaign tried to assert that there were a large number of voters who voted originally for the Democrat candidate in the general election, but then switched to vote for Cochran – a violation of Mississippi election laws.

McDaniel sued but the presiding judge did not find the issue to be a disqualifier and confirmed the vote, in favor of Cochran – who has the highest rating for all pork barrel projects, also known as earmarks, among both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

The Tea Party has been vilified in the media to the extent that voters are sympathetic to their cause, but many people view them in a negative light. Many of these views are self-inflicted problems brought on by endorsement of candidates that are seen by the electorate as too far out of the mainstream.

Candidates such as Sharon Engle, who opposed Harry Reid; and Todd Aiken who opposed Claire McCaskill come to mind. But others such as Sarah Palin were simply demonized by the liberal left, and the media, because she was seen as a political threat.

So what are conservatives to due to avoid the Cochran/McDaniel situation from reoccurring? Many think a ‘closed primary’ is the answer. What will become of this point of view is not known at the present time.

In the last election, approximately four million mill people who had voted for John McCain in 2008, simply stayed home. This handed the election to President Obama.

The speaker, Kathy Hartkoph, was with the group before it took the Freedom Works name. The organization began as “Citizens for a Sound Economy” until it merged with an organization headed by Jack Kemp, a former pro football quarterback, turned Congressman, and former candidate for Vice President, becoming “Empower America.”

Hartkoph stated, “Freedom really does work as an empowerment of people, but it only works when we work for Freedom.” To her, empowerment means reaching out to African American voters who traditionally, give away their vote to the Democrat candidate. The empower effort was kicked off in Northeastern North Carolina as a minority outreach, with people who were unaccustomed to hearing the conservative message.

With Rev. C.L. Bryant, author, writer and the producer of a documentary entitled “ The Runaway Slave,” the empower movement started at the Deadwood Restaurant in the NC 1st District. The following morning, they were in Roper NC at an all Black Church with numerous other venues thereafter and great crowds at every location.

In one instance, Deneen Borelli, a black commentator and author of the book Black Lash, who is frequently a guest on the Fox News Channel, joined with them and spoke about conservative principles as well. She and Freedom Works president, Matt Kibbe, were in this area to speak at the Conservative Leadership Conference in Raleigh, an event sponsored by Civitas.

In the course of discussion of conservative principles, many attendees were surprised to learn that Republicans freed the slaves, among numerous other accomplishments. Many people came away realizing that Democrats are not the friend of the African American people and that they have been sold a bill of goods.

To say that this kickoff effort was a huge success would be an understatement. Influential sportscaster Steven A. Smith, commented recently that African Americans have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, who take their support for granted, while Republicans feel that this vote is unattainable. Either way, African Americans loose the value of their vote in the marketplace of ideas.

Black Leaders continue to support the Democrats and push the black voters to do so because of the power they receive as individuals, at the expense of the community they are pledged to help. Perhaps we are beginning to see a Renaissance that will ultimately bring our country back together instead of the current divisions that we face.

William Sirginson

Al Pam members also heard from William Sirginson with the Missing in America Project. This organization has as its Mission, to locate, identify and inter the remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. To provide honor, respect and dignity to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.

This labor of love is performed by an all-volunteer group of men who receive no money for their efforts. They procure a dignified resting place for each veteran. This is seen as a task of redemptionfor a debt of service that can never be repaid.”

In the eight years since its inception, the Missing in America Project has visited 1725 funeral homes, locating 10,896 unclaimed remains of which 2520 were veterans and eligible dependents. In addition, the Project has assisted with getting laws passed in 28 states, designed to protect funeral homes when working with MIAP.

Sirginson provided numerous details where the Project has removed the remains of these heroes and transported them to proper grave sites for burial, providing an American Flag, including full honors for the Fallen.

This project exists on donations alone. To become a supporter, visit www.miap.us and click on Supporter. To volunteer, send an email to Charlie Warthling, Asst Vice President at Harley4ever@mial.us. Please provide your full name, address and phone number.

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