By Lynn R. Mitchell
While browsing through 10 years of posts looking for pics to use in the Facebook nature picture challenge, I came across this one from the days when SWAC GOP was in full swing under the leadership of Chairman Kurt Michael (Augusta County GOP) and Chairman Alex Davis (Staunton GOP). The standing-room-only crowd at Rowe’s was typical of the monthly breakfasts that began in 2001 and continued until new leadership discontinued them in 2009. They offered an opportunity for Republicans from Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County (SWAC) to gather in a social setting while supporting Republican electeds and listening to updates about the latest GOP news.
The original SWAC Breakfast Committee consisted of Pat and Brenda Haley (Pat was chairman of Staunton GOP at the time), Bill and Lynn Mitchell (I was Augusta County GOP vice chair of communications and SWAC Newsletter Editor), and Kurt and Pam Michael (Kurt was chairman of Augusta County GOP).
Looking at these photos I see many familiar faces of those who were very active from 1999-09. This SWAC Breakfast is a tiny look into what was happening politically that year….
“It’s great to be in a room with the lights on!”And with that, Congressman Bob Goodlatte received a hearty laugh from a roomful of Republicans at Rowe’s Restaurant in Staunton on Saturday as he kicked off the fall campaign season in the Valley. Everyone knew, of course, that he was referring to Nancy Pelosi’s adjournment of the House of Representatives as she turned off the lights, microphones, and TV cameras on the Republican representatives asking her to hold off her vacation until voting on America’s energy crisis.
Visitors at the U.S. Capitol in the week since have been invited by sit-in Republicans to come down on the floor and sit in the Congressmen’s seats, receiving up-front-and-personal glimpses of government at work as the Republicans address those in attendance.
“Drill off-shore!” Applause from the audience.
“Drill in ANWR!” Applause from the audience.
“We must make America energy independent from foreign oil!” Standing ovation from the audience. And with that Goodlatte joked it was the first time he had received a standing ovation from the democrat side of the aisle.
And so it goes as the sit-in enters its second week.
The Congressman said that polling to constituents had found between 78-83% were interested in drilling off-shore and in ANWR to help relieve the country’s energy crisis. Noting that he had first voted for drilling in 1995 when it passed the Senate and House, it was vetoed by President Bill Clinton. That was 13 years ago … look where we would be now if that bill had passed. Oil, he said, would be flowing down that pipeline right now.
Another source of energy is in the oil shale located in the Rocky Mountains with an estimated 2-3 trillion barrels of oil available. To give a perspective as to how much that is, he said that from the beginning of world use of oil, only one trillion barrels had been used.
That means we have a huge source available right here in this country.
Hitting away at the issue, Goodlatte stressed that we must find answers here at home for our energy crisis, and urged all to help by contacting their U.S. senators, writing letters to editors to the local newspapers, and spreading the word through the internet and blogging.
He stumped for his ticket-mates, John McCain and Jim Gilmore, and again stressed the importance of Republicans getting behind the Republican candidates.
With headquarters opening on August 23, he said there will be massive outreach efforts to contact all voters in the region.
Besides Congressman Goodlatte, Delegates Chris Saxman and Ben Cline, and Staunton Councilman Dickie Bell were there and spoke briefly. The meeting was led by Staunton GOP Committee Grassroots Coordinator Alex Davis. Reporters from Waynesboro, Staunton, and Harrisonburg covered the event.
It was literally standing-room-only in the large private dining room and provided a wonderful kick-off to the 2008 fall campaign season as the Congressman spend mid-day going door-to-door in the SWAC area, participating in the Deerfield Community parade in western Augusta County, and ending at the Augusta County Fair.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell