GOP biggies converge on Stark for luncheon

Once again, Stark County GOP chair Mike Bigger attracted the state’s top party leaders to Stark County for the annual Lincoln Day luncheon, which was held Saturday at the News Room Bistro in Toulon before a full house.
Illinois Republican Chair Tim Schneider of the Chicago suburbs gave an impromptu speech for the purposes of lauding Mike Bigger for his leadership as a key member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.

 “Mike is a great asset to the Illinois Republican Party,” Schneider declared.
Other leaders who came a great distance for the luncheon included Republican National Committeeman Richard Porter of Winnetka. Porter is managing partner of Kirkland & Ellis, one of the world’s leading law firms.
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, also of the Chicago suburbs, was the featured speaker. Of Cuban descent, Sanguinetti is the nation’s first Latina lieutenant governor.
“In Bruce Rauner,” said Sanguinetti, “we have a governor who actually lives in the governor’s mansion.”
“Bruce has proposed the first balanced budget in many years,” she added, “and increases in funding for education.
“We’re on a budgetary diet (because of the state’s fiscal mess), but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Darin LaHood announces candidacy for Schock seat
Darin LaHood of Dunlap, who serves Stark County in the Illinois Senate, told the audience that he plans to seek the congressional seat that was abruptly vacated recently by Aaron Schock of Peoria.  “I am a conservative candidate who represents the values of Stark County,” said LaHood, who has served in the state senate for five years. He is the son of former congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who also represented Stark County.
“I want to create a better future for my three children and all our kids,” LaHood said.
LaHood reported that he had been endorsed by 15 of the sprawling district’s 19 county GOP chairs, including Mike Bigger of Stark.
State Rep. David Leitch of Peoria told the Republicans that, “It is disgraceful that the Democratic leadership approved a budget last year that they knew was $1.6 billion in deficit—and now they are playing games as we try to straighten things out. It is the height of hypocrisy.”
Others at the luncheon included Demetra Demonte of Morton, who like Richard Porter is also a member of the GOP National Committee.
See photos nearby taken at the luncheon by News staff member John Ballentine.

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