Pittsburgh – Commonwealth Club members met on January 28th at the Duquesne Club for an evening reception for the first of many Western Pennsylvania events. Joining them was Congressman Mike Kelly from Pennsylvania's 3rd Congressional District. Vice Chair Joyce Haas opened up the event by recognizing all of the party officials and inviting students from Mohawk Area high school to lead the group in the pledge. The program began Vice Chair Haas providing a party update noting that this is the petition period and our opportunity to get our elected officials on the ballot.
Congressman Kelly began by stating how far President Obama and leadership have divided us as a nation. By forcing us to identify through our political party this President attempted to drive us to becoming the Divided States of America. When voting we must remember first and foremost that we are Americans. This upcoming election is possibly the most important election of our lifetime. The congressman was also very excited about the depth of our Presidential field.
While the Democrats are resigned to having 2 very bland candidates, Republican boast a much larger field of people with varying ethnicities, gender and background. Regardless, of who our candidate is, Kelly stressed, we must unite behind them to because this Country cannot stand another failed Presidency such as Obama's. Before taking many questions from the guest, the event concluded. As always Commonwealth Club members were enthralled to be joined by Congressman Kelly and look forward to having him again.
Conshohocken – On January 20, Commonwealth Club members gathered for their first Luncheon of the year at the West Philadelphia Marriott in Conshohocken. In what is becoming an annual occurrence, they were joined by Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-6). As always the room was filled with elected officials, party leaders, and community activists, eager to hear from the Congressman.
Costello began by recognizing the many people present that were there as he began his career in politics. Before delving into his re-election campaign, Costello reflected back on his first year in Congress. He began by thanking the Pennsylvania delegation for their leadership. He credited his success through his first term to their guidance and ability to work together especially when working to help our veterans. Following in his predecessor's footsteps, Congressman Jim Gerlach, he also worked to continue to focus attention on the need for land conservation throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.
As he looked to his re-election campaign this year, he began by expressing his desire to continue what he began in congress. The 6th District has long been known for its representatives that have served their district with loyalty, experience, and integrity. The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee was forced to run candidates that were more concerned with their own needs rather than the needs of the district. However, the people of the 6th District continue to trust in Congressman Costello's leadership. After taking questions from those gathered, the luncheon concluded.
Conshohocken – On September 28 Commonwealth Club members gathered at the Philadelphia West Marriott in Conshohocken for a Luncheon with U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. Coming fresh off the endorsement by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, members were excited to hear from the Senator about some of the critical issues facing the Senate and the Country.
As members gathered outside of the luncheon, Chester County's own, Congressman Ryan Costello stopped by to speak for a few minutes. Vice Chair Joyce Haas kicked off the event by thanking everyone that was able to attend. Former Senator and State Party Chairman Earl Baker led the group in a prayer and Commonwealth Club Member Tom Johnson followed by leading the the group in the Pledge before Lunch was served.
Vice Chair Haas began the program by reminding everyone how important the upcoming judicial elections are. She reminded everyone that while we are very excited to send Senator Pat Toomey back to the Senate in the 2016 election, we have a historic election to win first this year. With so many open seats on the bench, each serving 10 year terms, we need to elect our Republican candidates to guarantee that our Commonwealth's highest courts continue to interpret the law. Haas then introduced Senator Toomey who began by echoing the Vice Chairs sentiments.
Senator Toomey began by talking speaking about his admiration for Speaker Boehner's commitment to the Country. Being the Speaker of the House was a selfless position that John Boehner fulfilled honorably. Senator Toomey then switched to the importance of taking back the White House. President Obama's failed policies have polarized the Nation so drastically, that the country now needs a leader that will be able to cut through the gridlock in Congress. We as Republicans are fortunate enough to have so many leaders willing to step to the plate and fix the country, while the Democrats are resigned to picking from 2 candidates that will continue this current Presidents failed policies.
On Wednesday, July 15th Commonwealth Club members flocked to Washington to join in the Annual Commonwealth Club Summit. While the capitol was gearing down toward their summer vacation, members were excited for a full day of events. A packed house filled the Capitol Hill Club's Lincoln room for lunch and joining them were 10 of Pennsylvania's 13 Congressmen.
General Counsel Lawrence Tabas opened up the day's festivities by thanking every one for making the trek down to our Nation's Capital. After being lead in the pledge by Commissioner Scott Martin and the prayer by Sheriff Bunny Welsh enjoyed lunch. Lawrence kicked off the program by giving a short update on the current state of the party.
Following the update, Congressman Tim Murphy proceed to invite his fellow Congressmen Lou Barletta, Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Mike Kelly, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan, Scott Perry, Keith Rothfus, and G.T. Thompson to speak for 5 minutes. Having such an established and unique congressional delegation became ever apparent as each congressman spoke. Members were given an opportunity to hear about what is being worked on in the House of Representatives, updates on their respective districts and what they hope to be working on this Fall.
After the finished lunch, the Members went next door to the RNC Headquarters for a briefing on what strategic initiatives the party is working on in the upcoming election and looking towards 2016. RNC staffers went in great detail regarding how they are working each day on techniques that will help them identify voters and building strong community relations throughout the country. After the briefing that included a tour, Members went to the Capitol building where they were giving a guided tour by members of Congressman Joe Pitts' staff before leaving the Capitol for the day. Once again the Commonwealth Club congressional summit proved to be a huge success in what has become an annual event.
Philadelphia – On Friday January 23, members of the Commonwealth Club met for their first event of the year with newly elected Congressman Ryan Costello of the 6th district. The full house was excited to see the former Chester county commissioner at the Philadelphia West Marriott.
Congressman Costello began by thanking all of the local leaders that he had come to respect and admire. It was because of them that Costello was able to grow and learn about his community in order to best lead them. People like former Congressman Jim Gerlach laid the groundwork for him to come in to his role smoothly by organizing strong district offices and staff that can best serve the people of the 6th District. In addition to having great leaders that prepared him for this position, Costello also remarked at how accommodating his peers are from the Pennsylvania delegation.
As a freshman congressman, the audience was very interested in learning about the opening weeks as part of the 114th Congress. As Costello described he first had to take part in a crash course on being a Congressman. This includes how to set up an office, organize a staff and as the Congressman put it, "how to breathe as a Congressman". Afterwards Montgomery County Controller and Commonwealth Club Member Stewart Greenleaf said "Congressman Costello clearly has his work cut out for him, from the massive amount of information he must absorb on pressing issues to the nuts and bolts of setting up an office. Congressman Costello's comments demonstrated he already has a firm understanding of important policy questions as well as the dynamics of a complex legislative process. I left even more confident he will ably represent Pennsylvania in Washington."
Before the event ended, the Congressman took a few questions and mingled with a few of his constituents.
Philadelphia – Commonwealth Club members gathered on Friday, May 16 at Morton’s Steak House on Walnut Street for a luncheon. The room swelled to capacity as the members made their way in from the deluge on the city streets. After being treated to one of Morton’s signature steaks Chairman Rob Gleason opened up the event.
Gleason began by discussing all of the progress that was made at the most recent RNC meetings in Memphis, Tennessee. These meetings offer an opportunity to share successful campaign and finance tactics as well as learn new ways to contact voters. With the new technology that has been developed our party remains poised to prove to this nation that Pennsylvania is a red state. Chairman Gleason then introduced RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Priebus began by thanking Chairman Gleason for his hard work and efforts of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. In a state where Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats by a million voters, Pennsylvania continues to sport Republican majorities across the legislature. "What Rob is doing here in PA is what we need to do as a National Party" state Chairman Priebus. He has established a full time ground game that accesses people in all communities throughout the state, that keeps people aware and involved in the party.
Before giving the stage back to Chairman Gleason, Priebus reminded everyone that we need to make sure people know that we are fighting for them and not just their vote. As the event began to draw to a close Commonwealth Club Chair Chris Gleason reminded everyone that on June 19 we will be having the Annual PA GOP golf outing in conjunction with the Summer meeting on June 20 at the Hershey Country Club.
To RSVP, please contact Margot Crouch or Gerry Wosewick at (717) 234-4901.
Pittsburgh – On Wednesday May 14 Commonwealth Club members gathered at the Duquesne Club for an evening reception with RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day. The event provided a nice relief from the warm spring evening for the many guests. Vice Chair Joyce Haas opened up the evening's festivities by introducing the Congressional Liaison Jerry Morgan.
Jerry began by saying that in order to win a campaign we must put in the maximum effort, year round. Morgan stressed the need for a committed and disciplined base that works to ensure that people throughout the Commonwealth know how hard Governor Corbett is fighting for them every day. Mr. Morgan then gave up the podium for Co-Chair Sharon Day. Grassroots organizers are the key to finding and developing new leaders for this country, Day explained. Our leadership is only as strong as our volunteers on the grassroots level. The Co-chair emphasized the importance of reaching out to women who are too often overshadowed in the party.
Commonwealth Club member Elaine Gowaty touched on how remarkable Day's words were. "The Co-chair was full of such energy and enthusiasm for the Republican Party. Her vision of increasing the role of women in the party is exactly what this country needs." Before closing the event Co-Chair Day took a few questions and mingled with those gathered.
Wayne – On April 10 Commonwealth Club members gathered for a breakfast at the Radnor Hotel with former Attorney
General John Ashcroft. You wouldn't be able to tell how early in the morning it was, given the level of excitement of the attendees.
Ashcroft began by thanking Chairman Gleason for his excellent leadership in a state where Republicans are heavily outnumbered. It is due to Gleason's ability to unite the party that Pennsylvania has been able to score so many Republican wins. Chairman Gleason began by touting Ashcroft's dedication to public service across all levels of Government. The former Attorney Generals diligent work over the years should be a model to us all as we work to improve our great nation. With that the Chairman gave the floor to John Ashcroft.
Vice Finance Chair Jim McErlane summarized Ashcroft's comments, "We need leaders who will promote growth not only in business and economics, but in individual freedom. Too often our government seems to promote freedom for certain groups, but suppresses individual freedom. Individual freedom is what has made this country great." Before concluding the event, the former Attorney General took a number of questions from the commonwealth club members before departing.
Pittsburgh – On Thursday April 10, Commonwealth Club members gathered at the Duquesne Club for a luncheon with former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. The room was at capacity as they gathered on the beautiful spring day.
Vice Chair Joyce Haas served as the master of ceremonies. She introduced PA GOP Executive Director Bob Bozzuto who gave a wonderful update on the state party. Allegheny County Chairman Jim Roddy introduced Santorum by discussing his strong.
Santorum began by talking about his upbringing in Pennsylvania as well as the great education he received in the Keystone State. He thanked Governor Tom Corbett, who when faced with federal stimulus money that had run out, the Governor increased basic education funding. Santorum went on to credit Governor Corbett's administration for continuing to decrease the state's unemployment rate to a point well below the national average. The Republican Party has always been a party of workers and under the Governor's leadership this state remains a working person's state citing his book that recently came out "Blue Collar Conservatives". Before heading out to enjoy the rest of the day, the Commonwealth Club members asked the Senator a few questions about the state of the nation and his thoughts on current affairs.
Following the event Haas commented saying "Pennsylvanians and Republicans across the country remain proud to have Senator Rick Santorum as a great leader. His remarks today about returning to be the party of the working couldn't be more true. It is this kind of attitude that this country needs to embrace. At a time when President Obama and his liberal friends continue to push their agenda, Senator Santorum provides a model example of an effective leader."