Rep. Gallagher Feels Urgency During First Month In Office
Except for a very brief period during the Bush administration, the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday, Jan. 20 marked the first time since President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office that the Republican Party had solid control over the Presidency, the Senate and the House, newly elected U. S. Representative Mike Gallagher, Green Bay, told members of the Marinette County Republican Party at their annual caucus on Friday, Feb. 4. Gallagher, a Republican newcomer to elected office, was elected for his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November and had just completed his first month in office. Gallagher replaces Reid Ribble who did not seek re-election.
The caucus was held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Best Western Hotel in Marinette, and included election of officers for the next year, as well as adoption of some resolutions that if approved will require state Republican leaders to follow the agenda for the state convention without change. That includes discussion and action on resolutions brought in from the various district caucuses. The state convention is scheduled for May 12 through 14 at Wisconsin Dells.
Shirley Kaufman was re-elected as Marinette County Republican Party Chairman, with David Smail as First Vice Chair, Betty Hensel as Second Vice Chair, Jim Hensel as secretary and Donna Cramer as treasurer.
Also approved was a list of 53 delegates and one alternate to the 8th District Caucus at The Gathering in Shawano on Saturday, March 11.
Kelly Ruh of Green Bay was a special guest at the Marinette County Caucus. She is current vice chair of the Brown County Republican Party and is a candidate for the 8th District Party Chair position to be filled at the 8th District Caucus. Kevin Barthel, the current chair, is not seeking reelection.
The annual Marinette County Lincoln Day Dinner is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at the Best Western. Kaufman is hopeful that Gallagher and Sen. Ron Johnson will attend along with state legislators Sen. Tom Tiffany and Representatives John Nygren and Jeff Mursau.
Kaufman invited everyone interested to attend the next Marinette County party meeting to be held at 6 p.m. at Newingham's in Wausaukee on Thursday, Feb. 16.
In his keynote address, Gallagher responded to some questions and comments from the floor concerning the riots among university students in California, and threats that California will attempt to secede from the Union.
He referred to the "ugly" situation in Berkley, Calif. as "anarchy," and declared, "That's not who we are!" He said the behavior of the rioters brings discredit and contempt to the people they support, and urged Republicans not to sink to their level. "We have to respond with a warm heart to convince those who may not agree with us."
He credited the hard work of grass roots party members all across the nation with the Republican candidate victories in November, and particularly recognized the work of the Marinette County Republican Party under Kaufman's leadership.
Along with all other 435 members of the United States House of Representatives, Gallagher, 32, was sworn in for a two-year term on Tuesday, Jan. 3. He said his first month in office has been a very busy one. Congress had been in session on 19 of the 30 days since they took office, and they have been getting things done.
"We feel a sense of urgency," he declared. "Now that we have a united government we have to deliver, we have to save the country, we have to take things back in a conservative direction!"
He said not only do they need to accomplish much in the coming two years, they need to do such a good job that the Republican Party control in Washington will continue. "I ask you to think...How do you keep things going?" he said. In past years, the average single-party control of Congress and the Presidency lasted only 3.5 years, "and 3.5 years is not enough time to turn this country around, to do all the things we need to do!" Republicans need to accomplish much now, and need to remain in control so they can accomplish more, he repeated.
"This room is incredibly important," Gallagher declared, referring to the hard working Marinette County Republican Party members who were instrumental in getting him and other Republican candidates elected in November. He thanked Kaufman "and everyone up here" for their work during that hard-fought campaign.
He said nearly everyone had given up on Wisconsin, including some of the state and national party leaders, "but we just kept talking to people on the ground, rather than get involved in the media feeding frenzy.... We won the 8th District... We sent Ron Johnson back to the Senate after party leaders abandoned him and left him dead on the battlefield."
"We kept the Senate, and that gave us the Supreme Court for another generation," Gallagher told the party members present. "You played a big role in that, with all your hard work for years." He said Sen. Ron Johnson also feels this way. He credited the victories in November to the infrastructure built during the Walker elections and recall attempt , and the fact that the infrastructure was kept going. "It was us as a party, as a team interacting with our fellow citizens," he said.
With his seven years' experience as a United States Marine followed by work from 2013 to 2015 as a Republican Professional Staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gallagher has been appointed to the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees.
"I occupy this office, but it is not my office," Gallagher said. "I have a team, whose purpose is to serve you....This is about service and I believe we have a very narrow window in which to get things done....The small things we do now will become big changes later."
Among things to be done he listed repeal of Obamacare and fixing a health care system that was broken long before President Barrack Obama took office; income tax rules and rates have not been revised since 1987, and reform of rules that he said are "regulating our economy to death." He said during this busy first month legislators eliminated five rule changes that Obama pushed through. He said the nation also has to protect its southern border, "and figure out a way to pay for it."
He said some of the Republican Party goals on the national level may not be entirely easy to accomplish, even with majorities in both houses of Congress. They do not have 60 votes in the Senate, and there is always a danger that a few Republicans may vote with the opposition on one issue or another.
On the military front, he declared that retired United States Marine Corps General Jim Mattis "is the best possible person to run the Defense Department." Mattis was appointed by President Trump as Secretary of Defense, and was promptly approved by Congress.
On various other issues, including health care, Gallagher suggested, "We have to fall back in love with the 10th Amendment." The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Mention of the ugly riots in Berkley generated some discussion between Gallagher and persons in the audience, including remarks that our foreign enemies are happy that we are having so much hatred and dissent.
Gallagher said the demonstrators in Washington were also ugly and offensive, and some were carrying signs "that were not something you'd want to show your kids."
He said some demonstrators were shouting at him as "Trumpet Fascist," and one woman kicked him. "As a Marine, I don't like being kicked," he commented, but he also did not want to be involved in a brawl. The woman was wearing a Green Bay Packer jacket, "so I said, "Go Packers,' and God Bless America." Some of the hostility seemed to go away.
As to the demonstrators, he suggested, "Let's respond with ideas, work hard to resolve problems, and be good neighbors."
One of the party members present objected that windows were being smashed and property was being destroyed in Berkley, and he had heard of only one arrest. "There's got to be a law against inciting violence," someone suggested. There were suggestions that the person believed to be responsible for hiring demonstrators should be jailed.
There also was criticism from the floor of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other Democratic party leaders for not speaking up against the violence and the people who carry it out.
"If that's the look they want for their movement, it will work against them," Gallagher suggested. "All we can do is focus on our own backyard and make sure nothing like that ever happens in northeast Wisconsin.
Someone wondered, if California does secede from the Union, "How will the Democrats ever again win a presidential election?"
He suggested one way to resolve problems with teachers and their students, who did some pretty ugly demonstrating in Madison in the days following Gov. Scott Walker's election, Gallagher suggested making some changes on the local level, perhaps by focusing on school boards and getting elected to them.
There was a comment from the audience that school boards are somewhat hamstrung by orders from the Department of Public Instruction in Madison and from the Federal Department of Education. Gallagher said we do not need a federal Department of Education, and since it was created in 1979, "our education results have gotten worse, not better."
He repeated his contention that we need smaller government, need to eliminate dozens of agencies that are way past their time, minimize the power of federal employee unions, and reduce the size of the bureaucracies.
Also mentioned were problems with illegal immigrants coming in via the Canadian border.
Gallagher agreed this nation can and should do a better job on the northern border, and work more closely with Canadian intelligence.
He said he has no issues with people who truly want to move here and become Americans - in every sense of the word - but the problem is, particularly in Europe, that they do not mix into society, they create enclaves.
As to Trump's executive orders halting immigration until they sort things out, "It makes a lot of sense in my mind to make sure we're doing a better job of vetting people coming into the United States."
That said, however, he noted they also need to be cautious about use of executive orders,"We need to find a way for the Executive branch to work with Congress, and minimize the use of executive orders."
A comment from the floor was that the Mexican wall isn't so much to keep people out as it is to keep drugs out.
There were some complaints that high level Republican leaders are trying to circumvent what Trump is doing, and Gallagher said, "If Trump does something that I disagree with, or I feel is wrong for our country, I have an obligation to speak up."
On other issues, he said undoing Obamacare will not be easy and nobody is going to be completely happy. He pointed out the broken health care system was broken long before Obama took office.
As the Cauus drew to an end Kaufman commented that Marinette and Brown County Republican parties got a good mention recently in the Wall Street Journal, and declared, "We can all be proud of what we did in that election."
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