Conservatives involved with politics in Cass County gathered at the Harrisonville Community Center last Thursday for the Republican Party’s annual “Lincoln Days.” The event only lasted one day and Abraham Lincoln was never specifically mentioned, but conservative values were at the forefront of discussion. The name harkens back to when this gathering would occur in the middle of February, near Lincoln’s birthday.
Emcee for the evening was FOX 4’s Mark Alford, their morning news anchor. Alford opened up the program, which started after a communal dinner, by speaking to the media’s current role in politics. The local celebrity said that in his day, he has seen the news change from fact-telling to editorializing. The reason for this discrepancy, said Alford, is because there is now a “bigger gap” to fill, as most local news stations take up to nine hours of air time each day.
“Whenever I get called into the office,” Alford said, “which happens a lot…I always ask them, ‘What did I say that isn’t true?’”
He says that he now sees local media swinging back the other direction, getting away from trying to manipulate their audiences.
Alford then told some of the history of FOX 4, how they are the oldest news station in the Midwest and how their news center used to be a wrestling ring.
Several familiar local names were in attendance at the event, including Cass County Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox, County Commissioner Jimmy Odom, County Auditor Ron Johnson, County Assessor Bob Huston, County Recorder of Deeds Mike Medsker, Ray-Pec School Board President Kim York, and Raymore’s Mayor, Peter Kerckhoff.
Ryan Johnson, President of The Missouri Alliance for Freedom, was the first speaker of the night. Johnson stated that the purpose of his group is to promote individual liberties and limited government while supporting the state legislature to vote their convictions.
Catherine Hanaway, the only announced Republican candidate for Missouri governor in 2016, was next to take the podium. Hanaway is a U.S. Attorney, appointed by George Bush. The current St. Louis-area resident praised Vicky Hartzler for her work in Congress and her personal friendship. She also stated that what the Republicans did in Missouri from 2008 to 2012 was what Governor Jay Nixon took credit for to create his reelection campaign platform.
“To be quite honest with you, I’m just sick of the Democrats running this country into the ground,” Hanaway said to the applause of the audience.
Vicky Hartzler was the last to speak that evening. A Cass County native, Hartzler told the crowd she appreciated the County for its “heartland values” and “common sense ideas.” The Congresswoman got a rouse out of the crowd when she stated that a budget was passed that day “that balances in ten years and does not raise taxes.”
Hartzler went on to speak in favor of Hobby Lobby and local company Sioux Chief in their push back against the Affordable Care Act. The companies refuse to provide the Plan B “morning after” pill to their employees due to their religious convictions.
“This President’s policies are wrong and they should not stand,” Hartzler concluded.
Personal freedoms and the future of the country were both huge themes on the night, as everyone seemed to agree that the current leadership in both the state and country are taking their constituents in the wrong direction.