Lancaster County Republican Party Holds Spring Banquet

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

The head of the Pennsylvania GOP on Thursday urged his fellow Republicans to be optimistic about the party’s future and called on them to remain true to their core beliefs.

“We’ll keep reaching out to people as we move forward, and they will see that we have it right,” Rob Gleason told about 300 people at the Lancaster County Republican Party’s spring banquet at the Eden Resort.

As the GOP tries to recover from Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama, Gleason reminded the crowd to learn from the past.

“There is plenty of room under our tent for moderates and conservative Democrats, and we need them in order to win elections,” he said. “We need to do a better job explaining how our principles make life easier and better for people.”

Former Alabama congressman Artur Davis, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, echoed that call.

“We need to make sure people know Republicans are willing to fight for them,” the new member of the GOP said. “Obama is still sitting in the Oval Office because we weren’t able to connect with the middle class.”

Davis, the keynote speaker, talked to Republicans about how they can capitalize on what he believes is a damaged Democratic vision.

“People who are hurting right now are looking for the party that they think will fight for them — we need to be that party,” he said.

Davis said party leaders need to reinvigorate the GOP by moving toward the realistic and humanistic goals of creating a more forward-looking, inclusive and innovative party.

Lancaster County Republican Committee Chairwoman Ann Womble said that locally, and nationally, the party is working toward doing just that.

In 2002, Republicans accounted for nearly 61 percent of registered voters in the county. Since then, that percentage has slipped to 53 percent.

Democratic registration increased from about 25 percent to nearly 32 percent during that time.

But Womble said the GOP message will prevail.

“It’s important for all of us to keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong, in fact, there’s everything right with the principles of the Republican Party,” she said. “Now is the time to take up the challenge of finding new and unique ways to apply those principles to today’s pressing issues.”

Congressmen Joe Pitts and Pat Meehan agreed and told the crowd they are doing that in Washington.

At the state level, Sen. Lloyd Smucker said the Lancaster County Republican delegation is on the right side of the important issues.

During the event, the committee also recognized someone for getting things done here at home. Frank Fryburg was given the committee’s Servant Leadership Award.

Fryburg, who has been involved in local politics since 1962, is a Manheim Township committee member and leader of the county GOP’s senior coalition.

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