Gubernatorial candidate for the 2016 election Catherine Hanaway will speak at the 73rd Annual John C. Ryan Picnic beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Shelter House No. 3 in Liberty Park. The Pettis County Republican Committee hosts the event.
“State Senator John Ryan started this event 73 years ago and he was from this community,” said Carla Young, Chairman of the Pettis County Republican Committee. “It’s something he started as a barbecue, having friends, family and all the republicans come to his home and we just carried the tradition on.”
Winning a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1998 and elected Republican Minority Leader in 2000, Hanaway was the first female speaker of the house, serving from 2002 until 2004. She ran for Secretary of State in 2004, but lost to Robin Carnahan. Former President George W. Bush appointed her U.S. Attorney for eastern Missouri in 2005, where she served until 2009.
According to a press bio, Hanaway supervised more than 4,000 cases, and a staff of more than 100. During her tenure, the office set records for the most cases tried, and money forfeited by criminals. She led major expansions of the office’s prosecution of nursing home abuses, child exploitation, health care fraud, and sophisticated white-collar crimes — including securities and bank fraud.
Hanaway announced her bid in February with the election still more than two years away, but still on the heels of a bid by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to run for the state’s top position. State Auditor Tom Schweich has indicated he might be running as well, but no official word has come at this time. If elected, Hanaway could be Missouri’s first female governor.
“Tom Schweich might be running as well and we had him last summer so we thought it would be appropriate for Catherine to come,” Young said.
Now a partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell, Hanaway currently lives in St. Louis with her husband, Chris, and two children, Lucy and Jack.
The event is free and open to the public and is a contributive dinner with meat and drinks provided, but the committee is asking participants to bring a covered dish and table service.
“It’s an old fashioned get together, just like it when John Ryan started this,” Young said. “We have an award we give out, the John Ryan award, to somebody that’s participated in the Republican Party a lot.”
The Pettis County Republican Committee is a local affiliation that seeks to enlist qualified candidates and support them in their aspirations for political office.
“We support them by having a headquarters, doing some fundraising and trying to give out some money, whatever we’re able to raise after two years when it gets down to the primary,” Young said.
For more information, contact Young at 826-0860.