By Juliana Simone
Stamford – The 34th annual Prescott Bush Awards dinner Monday night delivered frontrunner Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s wife as the keynote speaker to the sold out crowd. Speaking to her party caucus, Ann Romney spoke about her personal life and the hardships she faced during her marriage fighting breast cancer and MS. The most moving moment was perhaps when she spoke about her Multiple Sclerosis being so bad she could barely walk and how her husband in charge of the 2002 Winter Olympics being held in Utah, encouraged his wife to carry the Olympic torch despite her disability. Her husband and five boys all cried with the pride and love they felt for Ann as she accomplished this difficult task.
She talked about the rewards of motherhood, in a veiled way addressing the recent negative comments made by a democrat activist Hilary Rosen, who told the mainstream media that “Ann’s never working a day in her life” would mean Mrs. Romney couldn’t have a clue about monetary matters. Miss Rosen, a frequent visitor to the private chambers of President Obama, more than his own vice president Joe Biden, took issue with Mitt Romney’s praise about his wife’s views on the economy when speaking to audiences. Rosen herself elected not to work for two years when she and her gay partner adopted twins before breaking up after a few years.
Stay at home mother’s not knowing a thing about the economy is an arguable position when it’s women who are at home raising their children every day that have to juggle the grocery bills, fill up their car’s gas tank, and figure out how to balance the budget in terms of writing additional expenditures for simple things like class photos and school athletic team fees. Fixed incomes are tight indeed and maybe this is what Washington needs to learn. There is no extra money that can be drawn from a large pool of taxpayer money or borrowed from China to make household expenses. Essential items like the mortgage, property taxes, electricity, fuel and food must be met every month for their family to continue a normal existence and not suddenly go south into home foreclosure or dependency on welfare.
Granted, Ann Romney is not a single mother or woman of modest means, but regardless of income, every family has their monthly nut that needs to be made. All mothers are aware of what clothing, utilities and food costs. Mrs. Romney addressed these points well to the crowded room at the Stamford Marriot Monday evening in her fifteen minute speech.
The annual GOP fundraiser which is considered the biggest draw of the year for the Connecticut Republican Party, packed the room with party officials and activists. As Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. noted to guests, all of the federal candidates running this year were present except for one – State Representative Christopher Coutu (R-31) who is still on a training assignment with the National Guard as an officer. Coutu is seeking the nomination for the Second Congressional District to run against incumbent Joe Courtney. All five U.S. Senate Candidates were present: Former Congressman Christopher Shays, 2010 nominee Linda McMahon, Attorney Brian Hill, Attorney Peter Lumaj, and Attorney Kie Westby.
From the congressional districts, first district challengers Windsor town councilman Michael McDonald and Hartford businessman John Decker were in attendance; Second district challenger to State Rep. Chris Coutu Daria Novak was present; Third district former broadcaster Wayne Winsley was also on hand; Fourth district’s Chris Meeks was introduced among challenger Steve Obsitnik; Fifth district candidates State Senator Andrew Roraback, 2010 candidates veteran Justin Bernier and businessman Mark Greenberg, 2010 Lt. Governor candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and former three term Farmington Town Council Chairman and FBI man Mike Clark all came to represent the CT GOP event.
Other notables: Former Congressman/Chairman of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy Rob Simmons, State Senator’s: Senate Minority leader John McKinney (R-28), Kevin Witkos (R-8), Joe Markley(R-16), Scott Frantz, Toni Boucher (R-26), Len Fesano (R-34) and Jason Welch (R-31); State Representatives: Themis Klarides (R-114). David Labriola (R- 131), Olivia Floren (R-149), Lile Gibbons (R-150). William Simanski (R-62), Tim LeGeyt (R-17), David Scribner (R-107), John Hetherington (R-125) and Penny Bacchiochi (R-52). Also former state senator and 2010 fourth congressional candidate Dan Debicella was present as well as former CT GOP Chairs, Chris Healy and Dick Foley. Also of important note, the exceptional John Hetherington will be retiring after this session.
Of the three awards given, fine veteran State Rep. Livvy Floren was a presenter for her colleague in the House Lile Gibbons as was resolute State Senator Len Fesano who was the presenter for the Fenton Futtner Award which long time advocate and Wallingford Councilman Bob Parisi received.
The Prescott Bush Award was given to 2010 gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, who was also an ambassador to Ireland and Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. The winner of 128 towns out of 169 in the state of Connecticut in his bid for Governor last election, Foley told his supporters his mistake was not spending more time in the major cities. He told his caucus more time needed to be spent in these districts. Even if these cities still vote as a majority for the democrats, if making them aware of how the Republican party will take them off of state assistance, minimum wage and lower their taxes to give them more income for their families, time needs to be spent there for future success of the CT GOP.
Foley, in a relaxed and jovial mode with his admirers, made a few jokes which gave an occasional moment of levity for the night. Joking that another famous person was supposed to appear, Foley said the person was a rock star, Rod Stewart, but Stewart had an emergency call and had to cancel because he had to go see the birth of his new wife. Laughs all around. The former ambassador also asked people to vote tomorrow in the Presidential Primary and suggested to his caucus members if their candidate of choice didn’t win on primary day, to please support the nominee. He also told the room if anyone here tonight wants to run for state office call me/email me and I will donate to your campaign. He stressed how the Connecticut General Assembly is only 5 seats away now from the Senate majority. We can not lose a seat and need to gain five more he appealed to the attendees, asking his caucus to volunteer, contribute, support in any way they can those running for office.