Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Three Reasons Why I am Glad to be Part of Michigan's First Congressional District

I thought I would talk about three of the best reasons I like being part of the First District, Tony Stackpoole, Frank Egeler and Joel Westrom.

During the 2004 Presidential Elections I had been reading on the Internet about George Bush. I really wanted to help out and volunteer. I had always been a Republican and volunteered off and on for about ten years, along with voting for George Bush in 2000 election. As my regular readers know, I live in a small town in the Upper Peninsula. Thus when President Bush was running for re-election there wasn't any volunteering going on. I had contacted the Bush headquarters in Michigan to see what I could do. I was given the name of the Mackinac County Party Chairman and I did contact him, but he said he probably wouldn't be do anything in regards to phone banks or handing out fliers. I called the headquarters again and told them that our county wasn't going to do anything. I wanted to know if there was anything I could do through the headquarters or a nearby county. The gentleman I had talked to told me that there would be a weekly phone bank in Chippewa County and that I could join them. He told me to meet up at Cup of the Day Coffee Shop in Sault Ste. Marie, owned by Tony Stackpoole.


This was my first time meeting Tony, Chippewa County Chairman. He is a really gung-ho Republican. He was very nice and welcoming the first time I met him. I was given a cell phone, and an info sheet to read off of and told to sit at one of the tables. I did this once a week for about a month. Towards the end of the phone bank, and time was getting close to the election, Tony encouraged me to stay involved in Republican politics. He encouraged me to get involved in my county's local party activities. He gave me info about the upcoming State Convention, that was to happen in February of '05. At this time Mackinac County did not have elected Republican delegates. He told me to attend the Mackinac County meeting that would be selecting delegates to attend the State Convention, and let them know I would be interested in attending the convention. He told me that because the Upper Peninsula and 1st District is so large that for every convention they get together and take a bus down. He gave me the name of who to contact that was in charge of organizing for the bus. That person was Frank Egeler.
Ever since I have met Tony he always asks me to sit with him at events. He really helps me feel comfortable at events where I may not know to many people. He was kind enough to give me a ride to the district meeting in March.

The first time I met Frank was on the bus to travel down to Grand Rapids for the State Convention. He was really nice, I had talked to him on the phone. I hope he's not reading this, but I have to say on the phone he sounded like he would be old and kinda short with gray bald hair, and chubby too. I was surprised when I first met him, he doesn't look like that at all. Beer and sparkling wine flows on this bus, provided by Frank.
This was my first State Convention, since the '96 convention in Lansing, Michigan. I had a ton of fun, going down and coming back. I met quite a few nice people on the bus.
Frank has been really awesome since then. He puts up with me even though I make fun of him. Him and State Rep Tom Casperson gave me a ride down to the most recent district meeting. I got to make fun of him, so did Tom. Poor Frank.
In fact we met up with Joel Westrom and his passengers at the Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord, after the meeting.


Back before the '07 State Convention in Feb. in Grand Rapids Frank and Tony asked me to support Joel Westrom for 1st District Chairman. He had a website and they asked me to take a look. They also asked him to call me and tell me why he was running for chairman and what his plans were for the First District. All of my regular readers know that I never support someone just because a friend "told me to." I am way to independent for that.
The first communication I ever had with Joel Westrom was when he called and talked about his thoughts about the First District. He asked for my input. I told him I thought many of his ideas sounded pretty good.
He wanted to organize a group to host something on behalf of the 1st District at the Mackinac Leadership Republican Conference. He also talked about having a "candidate school," where potential candidates and staff could get a crash course in campaigning. He talked about hosting First District events and meetings throughout the district, in different locations. I felt that these things fell in with my thoughts. I hung up the phone thinking he sounded pretty good. I did tell him that while I liked everything he said, I still could not definitely support him. I wanted to hear from/about his competition.
The only thing I had heard about his competition, after talking to Joel, was from one of her supporters and he didn't have much to say about her. That was when I decided to support Joel.
Oh, could I tell a good story about the events leading to and at the '07 convention, but this ain't the place. It has to do with a big rift between Joel, his competition, each of their supporters deciding on taking a different bus, me not knowing this and taking the wrong bus.
Let's not forget her trying to "buy my vote" when the woman who was to be my roommate at the hotel I would be staying at during the convention thought that I wasn't going, since I got on the wrong bus and those on Joel's bus didn't know I would be there, just arriving on the wrong bus. I thought the free room was just a show of kindness. Well y'all know I hate dishonesty in politics and nobody can buy my vote. At the 1st District Conference at the convention I voted for Joel. He had only won by less than 5 votes.
I met him, personally, after the 1st District Conference when Tony, a friend of Tony's, Frank and I were at the bar of the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids. There was quite a few people standing around talking, for quite a while. I was standing around Frank. He never did introduce me to Joel, what a rudie. So I took the initiative to put out my hand and introduce myself to Joel. I also got to meet Saul Anuzis, the State Party Chairman, at this group.
He probably doesn't remember this, but I was standing behind him, holding a cosmopolitan. Don't even get on my case about drinking a fancy yuppy drink. Even rednecks can live in luxury, for just a moment. Oh, back to the story. I was standing there talking to someone else and he didn't know I was there and backed up into me. It was funnier at the moment. I rode back on the bus with Frank and Joel. Joel was kind enough to pay for me to ride on that bus.
When we all met up for lunch after the meeting in Gladwin he footed the bill for all of us. After the meeting I had asked Frank if we were going to stop for beer and burgers. He said we would. I just thought it would be some hole in the wall. But the Big Buck is a big nice micro brewery. I got my menu and saw the prices. Well this little redneck wasn't expecting the prices to be so much. I looked at Frank and asked who was paying. I was just joking, honest. Frank said not to worry, it was taken care of. There were six of us. Joel even payed for the beers Frank and I ordered.
He has even been kind enough to write a guest post for me, before the Mac Conference. He talked about the conference, 1st District and Tom Casperson. Without being prompted, he had nice things to say about me.

In conclusion, all three of these guys, Tony, Frank and Joel, are great assets to the First District. When ya have questions, have a problem with another person or an issue, or just one of them. They will listen when ya call or email them. They will answer ya back. Not that I have ever had a problem against either one of them, but I am sure if someone did they would listen. No offense to Frank or Tony, but Joel is better at responding back. I have emailed him and gone on to another site, and next thing I know soon after I sent the email I get an email alert and it is Joel responding. I think that is nice. Not that he is able to do that all the time. He does have a life ya know.
In things that does not affect me directly, these guys are wonderful also. Joel is full of energy and ideas. He does a lot to bring the people of the counties that are spread through out the spacious district. He is very active in bringing new ideas and statewide attention to this oft forgotten part of Michigan.
As the District Field Director Frank tirelessly travels the state to represent the First District. He is really gung-ho about getting Tom Casperson elected to the US Congress in '08. Plus he likes classic rock.
Tony does a lot for his community. He is seriously involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. He is a major cheerleader for the college republicans at Lake Superior State University. He works hard to help them out and gettting them involved. Even though we don't agree on who should be the presidential nominee, I do have to give him props for getting representatives for Mitt Romney up to the UP.

All in all I just have one thing to say to all of them.


R. George Dunn said...

Kathy, Thank you for your sharing your friendship and Knowledge of Joel, Frank and Tony. I feel I know them persoanlly now. At the Gladwin meeting I met them all and foundthem all to be exceptional people. Joel did well as the host, Frank did well keeping Joel great and Tony held down the crowd with his knowledgeable presence. Maybe we can work on Tony about Mike Huckabee!

Michigan Redneck said...

I think the best thing with Tony, or anyone who has a definite candidate in mind, is be subtle. Let them know who you support and why, after that let them be.
It's like a nagging wife. The more a wife nags, the more the husband ignores her.

SR said...

It is great to see some people still have so much passion and energy for politics. If everyone took the time and effort to be involved and informed in politics I think election results would be much different. Candidates would have a harder time earning votes because they would have to be clear and accountable for the stands they take. Great job on the post and thank you for all you do.