It has been less than a week since Carla Young, Pettis Country Republican Party chairwoman, returned from the Republican National Convention but the work for the Republican Party is far from complete both on a local, state and national level, according to Young.
One annual event that provides a forum for local Republicans to gather will be hosted at 6 p.m. Thursday with the John C. Ryan Picnic.
“We’ve invited all our candidates from the local and state levels to attend and take part in the event,” Young said Tuesday afternoon. “This year we are doing things a little different; we’ll still present the Ryan Award to the outstanding Republican in the county but instead of having one guest speaker we are going to let any of the candidates or their representative have three minutes to address the audience.
“I might speak a little about the convention but since we have a number of candidates running for office we want the focus to be on them,” she added. “We hope to have a large crowd because we want to encourage people and help them realize that it all starts on the local level.”
Young commented that her selection as a delegate began at the county level with the Republican caucus, hosted every four years.
“I think there are people who don’t understand how the process works,” Young said. “For us, it isn’t based on the amount of money you donate or who you may know.
“It all starts at the grassroots level with your willingness to work and support the party,” she added.
Although both Young and Stanley Cox have attended conventions prior to Cleveland, many of the 52 delegates and 49 alternates from Missouri were attending their first convention this year.
“As a delegate I had to pay for the cost of the trip,” Young said. “The RNC and the state party didn’t pick up the cost either, even for some of the special events we were allowed to attend.
“The Missouri delegation was very fortunate because the state did plan a number of activities and events for us that we all greatly appreciated,” she added. “A lot of the other delegates were really confined to either their hotels or the convention arena but we were given a number of things we were permitted to do when we weren’t needed at the convention.”
Among the highlights were visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Football League Hall of Fame and President McKinley’s Museum.
“I can’t say enough about the city of Cleveland and their hospitality and security,” Young said. “I really do want to thank everyone for worrying about us but I think we always felt safe and the security was always very tight.
“Both Cleveland and Akron (where the Missouri delegates stayed) went above and beyond in making us feel welcome,” she added.
Young commented that one of the most important aspects of participating and attending the convention was the first-hand knowledge that takes place.
“This is politics at its highest level, any national campaign and you have to be prepared for whatever comes, but there is a much bigger story than what is shown,” Young said. “In Cleveland I really feel we got to know who Trump truly is as a person.
“I believe Trump is a smart man who will honor his word and will put the right people in place to do what’s right for America,” she added. “People may want to say that the Republican Party is broken but I don’t believe that, I think we are all firm in our commitment in electing Republican candidates in every race this November.”
For Young the choice is simple.
“I think we need to focus on what do we want for our future for both the country and our children,” Young said. “It really comes down to what kind of legacy we want to leave for them.
“It’s something everyone says they are concerned about but now is the time we need to focus on and do something about it,” she added. “It starts here at the local level and so we are encouraging people to become involved in the process.”
The John C. Ryan Picnic begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Liberty Park Shelter House No. 3. Meat and drinks will be provided. Guests are asked to bring a covered dish.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.