GHENT — Around 200 Columbia County Republicans turned out last Saturday for the party’s annual Lincoln Dinner, where this year Congressman Chris Gibson (R-20th) was the featured speaker.
The dinner was sponsored by the Columbia County Young Republicans who selected County Clerk Holly Tanner the 50th recipient of the Lincoln Award.
In his opening remarks, Columbia County Republican Chairman Greg Fingar emphasized that the evening marked the beginning of the fall election season when the seats of 18 of the 23 supervisors around the county are up for election. Many of the incumbent supervisors were in attendance.
Congressman Gibson spoke about game changers and tough choices. The November election was a game changer for the House if not the Senate, he said, and the new GOP majority in the House has forced President Obama to consider tax reform and other moves that he would not have looked at last year this time.
GOP members of Congress is crafting a healthcare bill to replace the bill that the House voted earlier this year to repeal. Congressman Gibson said that the test of the plan he called Obamacare was whether the public would like the terms of the GOP replacement bill, which he predicted would be more popular than the current plan.
Mr. Gibson also noted that he is a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal the repeal of the requirement that was part of the healthcare law that requires businesses to obtain tax form from all vendors, something most businesses believe is an onerous form of paperwork.
He promoted the use of alternative energy sources and the construction of new nuclear power plants as a “game changer” for our economy. But while he said he would like to see a new plant in his district, no community would be forced to accept a nuclear facility. In spite of the disaster in Japan, he urged people not to give up too easily on this technology, saying that experts would learn from the experience of the Japanese.
And the congressman pledged to continue his and his party’s efforts to reduce the federal deficit. He said congressional Republicans will soon unveil their budget that looks forward 20 years. He said the $10 billion in cuts made to the continuing resolutions on the budget so far are as much as Congress cut in 1994.
These are tough choices and tough programs to push through both houses, but “something worth having is worth fighting for,” said the Congressman, who referred to the “genius design” of the Constitution, saying that it doesn’t give any one party or the president enough power to act unilaterally. Instead, he emphasized, people will have to work together or “nothing gets done.”
The event, which marked a half century as a county gathering, drew a capacity crowd to Kozel’s restaurant, and county GOP Chairman Fingar quipped, “It only took us 50 years to figure out that a Saturday was better than a Tuesday.”