By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL – Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Will Crain called St. Tammany “the most reliably conservative Republican parish in the state.”
The Slidell Republican Women’s Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with a celebration at Pinewood Country Club, can certainly take their share of credit for that happening.
A packed house of club members, some who have been with the group for decades, listened to many other comments about the contributions the club has made for years to Republican candidates and issues.
“You are the foot soldiers of the party,” Crain added as a judge who came from Bogalusa to win election on the 22nd Judicial District Court, then win the 1st Circuit seat unopposed. Crain said there could be an opening on the Louisiana Supreme Court soon and was clear in noting, “if there is an opening I will be a candidate.”
The Slidell Republican Women’s Club has been more than a strong volunteer group for Republican candidates over the years. The group also heads a dictionaries for third graders project, offers scholarship and leadership awards, supports veterans organizations, supports the Ladies of Liberty, and does a lot of work to get out the vote. However, many women who spoke indicated it was also a place to make friends that have lasted for years.
“We are here to promote Republican values, give back to the community, and encourage voter participation and to inform and educate the public,” President Tiffany Parker said. “But we are also women who have a heart that loves the United States of America and works to keep America true to her origins.”
Roger Villere, the Louisiana State Committee Chairman for Republicans, also was a guest at the special event and noted to the group “you have done so much for candidates in the state and conservative values.”
Villere had a little fun in looking back to 1967 when the club was formed and recalling some changes since that time. He said that 50 years ago the minimum wage was $1.40 an hour, Thurgood Marshall was selected the first African American on the Supreme Court, the median income for Americans was $7,143 a year and a postage stamp cost only 5 cents.
Another special speaker was Ann Hein, a Republican Women’s volunteer for over 50 years who told great stories of her work on the national level with many presidential candidates. In all her stories, however, she reminded the group that the heart of the organization is to be a volunteer for conservative values and Republican candidates.
“When I started in 1970 with a political organization other than the Republican women there were 10 women in the group and I was the only Republican. All the others were Democrats,” she said.
Once she joined the Republican women she worked tirelessly to find more volunteers and it led to opportunities to meet many presidential candidates, several who won the election.
Her fondest memory was when she met California Gov. Ronald Reagan as he was running for president in 1976.
“When I met him he told me that he had to run for president since he knew God had something bigger for him to do,” she said. “I cried all the way home that night after talking to him.”
Hein said her time talking with Reagan led her to feel “he is the kindest person I’ve ever known. He was such a unique leader, an optimist and a loving American.”
She also remembered a funny story when she was to meet with President Ford. With volunteers at the hotel she was told to go to a room where she would meet Ford.
“I walked into the room and was met by Secret Service agents, guns a ‘blazing,” she said as the crowd laughed. “I had to convince them the president wanted to see me.”
The group is always recruiting new members. For more information, contact Dee Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.