Democrats honor five

Submitted by JoLene Rae Bloom

Nemaha County Democrats

The Nemaha County Democrats hosted a dinner at The Willows on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in preparation of the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Candidates for office and campaigns were a major portion of the meeting; however, honoring five faithful Democrats and casting ballots in the upcoming election were also objectives of the social.

A social of appetizers and casual conversations was enjoyed before the brisket and pork chop buffet dinner by the capable Willow staff. A bottle of 2012 cherry wine from the Newlin Winery and a James Shore Victorian Santa figurine, donated by Christa Swisher, were auctioned with Karen Holthaus and Joan Schmitz having the highest bids, respectively.

Barb Gudenkauf of Sabetha was one of five lifetime Democrats honored for her service to the county organization as treasurer for years. She also had been a committee woman and an election board worker. Steve Lukert was recognized for his service in the Kansas Legislature and promoting our democracy as a retired social studies teacher. Bruce Larkin, a former Baileyville-St. Benedict Board of Education Member, also served in the Kansas House. Both Larkin and Lukert act as informed mentors of governmental relations issues. Long time county Democratic secretary and election board worker, Pat Bennett, was unable to attend due to health complications. Retired Nemaha County Treasurer, Rosie Wilhelm, was also unable to be present for recognition of her nearly 50 years of working in the office until her retirement in early 2017. Each received a marble paper weight with a blue plate engraved with the accomplishments and the Democrats’ gratitude for their dedication.

Time was given to David Toland, treasurer of the Laura Kelly/Lynn Rogers campaign for Kansas Governor/Lt. Gov.; Mel Baker, candidate for the Kansas House No. 62; and Marci Francisco, former Lawrence mayor, current Kansas Senator, and candidate for State Treasurer. As she has worked at the Capitol with Laura Kelly, Lynn Rogers, and Paul Davis, she updated the Democratic elections for the attendees and spoke of her goals for maintaining a strong treasury, implementing shared sources of revenue, and encouraging new opportunities to broaden the base for Kansas government’s operations.

Baker and his wife, Mary, were surprised with a gift package for the Topeka Ramada that was donated by Jim Parrish, a second district loyal Democrat. The Bakers hope to attend the Kelly/Rogers gubernatorial inaugural in January and use the meals/room/entertainment prize at that time. Alice Lackey and Owen Zinke won the two quarters of the beef raffle by the Baker for House campaign. Greg Newlin won the door prize of the pieced quilt in fall colors. U.S. Congressional District No. 2 candidate, Paul Davis of Lawrence, had planned a final visit throughout the district this last week before the election.

The final meeting of the Democrats for 2018 will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Seneca Public Library. Goals and calendar events for 2019 will be the main business.

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