Reagan dinner held

More than 200 people filled the Marietta Shrine Club for the Washington County Republican Party’s annual Reagan Dinner Thursday night.

Keynote speaker for the occasion was Dr. Terrence Moore, professor of history at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., who encouraged the GOP members to follow the examples of two American leaders-Benjamin Franklin and Ronald Reagan.

“We need people who will champion a civil society,” he said, noting that both Franklin and Reagan worked to bring about common sense and civility in America.

Moore lamented that Franklin’s biography is no longer required reading in American schools as it was in his grandfather’s time.

He said Franklin often taught with wit and wisdom in his writings, using phrases still pertinent today like “Creditors have better memories than debtors,” “An empty sack cannot stand,” and the often-quoted “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“He instructed Americans through his maxims,” Moore said. “And his essays on education are as timely today as they were in Franklin’s time.”

Reagan recognized the family is the basis of any civil society, he said.

“Family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom were the five key points of his candidacy,” Moore said. “And in Reagan we have proof that the American system of self-government still works as well as it did in colonial days.”

According to his bio, Moore often writes on liberal education and limited government and has authored articles for a variety of publications, including the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.

He’s the author of “The Perfect Game,” a novel about growing up in his native Texas during the 1980s, and will release a new book, “The Story Killers: A Common Sense Case Against the Common Core,” later this month.

Following his presentation, Moore said his usual speaking engagements are about school and education reform, but he occasionally gets the chance to speak to audiences like the Washington County GOP.

“I try to present the ideas set forth by our founding fathers that were based on the laws of nature and nature’s God,” he said. “I think people are hungry for a return to the basic principles.”

Jim Huggins, chairman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee, agreed.

“Dr. Moore’s speech is a reminder to all of us that government flows from the people, not the other way around,” he said, adding that one purpose of the Reagan Dinners is to impress on party members what it is to be a Republican.

“We also hope to rally our base to help propel our candidates over the finish line,” he said, noting that the Nov. 5 general election is an off-year contest which will likely mean a light voter turnout.

Huggins said the off-year elections may bring out fewer voters, but they involve more candidates than in gubernatorial and presidential elections.

“More people are running for office, from township trustees and school board members to village and city council races,” he said.

Four of the party’s local candidates introduced themselves during Thursday’s dinner, including Marietta City Council presidential candidate Josh Schlicher, city treasurer hopeful Cathy Harper, council at-large candidate Jon Grimm, and council 2nd Ward candidate James “Chip” Wilson.

Leslie Haas, chairwoman of the Washington County GOP, said she was pleased with this year’s turnout.

“It’s an off-year election, so we expected attendance would be very light, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn we have more than 200 people,” she said. “And I think having Dr. Moore as keynote speaker from Hillsdale College brought a lot of people out tonight.”