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Hundreds of Republicans from extreme to moderate descended on Claudia Sanders Dinner House on Friday for the Shelby County Republican Party's Lincoln Day celebration and fundraiser.
David Williams, president of the state Senate, was the keynote speaker, and he reminded the crowd not only of Lincoln's Kentucky roots but also of his message.
"He had the courage to stand up to the biggest blight in our country's history," Williams said. "We need to listen to Abraham Lincoln's lessons. If we don't learn from our mistakes in the past, we won't be any better in the future."
However, the loudest standing applause of the evening came when state Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) awarded State Sen. Gary Tapp (R-Shelbyville) with a bronze sculpture of an eagle for his service in the senate. Tapp is retiring at the end of this term.
Williams said he would miss Tapp.
"I hate to see you go," he said. "You've been a champion for small business, and we're going to miss you."
Leading up to William's speech on Lincoln and his rise to greatness was a chance for local Republicans to listen to the party's three candidates Jim Bunning's seat in the U.S. Senate. Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson spoke first and focused on his plan to have the federal government "just spend less."
"We've spent 15 percent less in my office since I took over, and we need to continue to cut the red tape for business in Kentucky," he said. "If you hire me to go fix Washington D.C. like I've fixed Frankfort, we'll get the job done. We have to get our fiscal house in order, and all we need to do is just spend less."
Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger and Montell have put their support behind Grayson.
Following Grayson was Bill Johnson, a businessman from Elkton, who said he wanted to use his time to "interview for the position" because many in attendance had not heard him before.
"I believe in the 3 Rs," he said, "Ronald Reagan Republican."
Johnson described himself as pro-family, pro-life and pro-gun.
With a background in energy -- Johnson worked on nuclear submarines in the military and with GE and BP in private business -- he said alternative fuels are not the way for America to become independent.
"Fossil fuels and nuclear power are the answer," he said. "We need to be digging for more coal and drilling in America for more oil and using nuclear power."
Rand Paul, whose father, Ron, ran for president in 2008, was the last to speak, and after mentioning his endorsement from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Paul spoke of how government was out of control.
"It's not broken," he said, "but pork barrel spending is out of control. Both sides of the aisle are getting fat and happy. But I'm a physician, not a career politician. We need some new blood in there."