ROOTSTOWN -- Portage County's Republican Party gathered Feb. 6 for its annual Lincoln Day dinner and recognized the party's dominance of county and state governments.

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted was the guest speaker at the formal dinner held at the NEW Center on the campus of the Northeast Ohio Medical University.

"Republican majorities in the both Ohio houses, together with a collaborative governor, mean you can really enact meaningful Republican policies for Ohioans like lower taxes, more business-friendly policies, and smaller government," said Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin during her introduction to Husted's speech.

Husted recalled his first campaign season, walking door-to-door with Womer Benjamin. He also acknowledged the various other county and state officials in attendance, including State Senators John Eklund and Frank LaRose, State Rep. Christina Hagan and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof.

"This is a Republican county now. We saw the results," Husted said with the room cheering. "Just think, there's been 51 Super Bowls played with a Democratic recorder still in office here in Portage County," acknowledging Lori Calcei, the first Republican to hold the county officer in 75 years.

Husted spoke of the November election and what it meant for President Donald Trump to win Ohio. Trump's win was the largest margin of victory in Ohio since 1988, a win of 8 percentage points.

To put the election into perspective, Husted pointed out that Barack Obama won Ohio in 2008 by just 3 percentage points, "a pretty good victory in a swing state."

"But yet 4 years later, Donald Trump wins by 8 points. That's an 11-point swing. So essentially what happened is that 11 percent of Ohioans voted for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Think about that. It seems about impossible considering the two don't have a lot in common."

Husted pointed to a growing distrust and dissatisfaction in the government for Trump's win in Ohio.

"This time around, they were willing to give an outsider a shot. In a lot of cases, a guy they didn't even like. Because he would go in and shake it up. They wanted something new. And I will tell you, it's a lesson we should heed.

"Because if 11 percent of the voters were willing to flip that easily, they're willing to flip that easily again if we don't fulfill their hopes and aspirations," he said.

Husted, along with other party officials, voiced their support of limited government while still maintaining an active role in helping families succeed.

"I'm worried about a growing number of people in this country who don't believe that things are going to be better, or that they can get ahead," he said. "A growing number of people are falling behind.We cannot let people feel like they're losing hope in the American dream or their future."

Husted said he might consider running for governor of Ohio in the future because of all the thing he sees that need to be fixed, including the growing opioid epidemic and income inequality.

"Why do we look around and expect someone else to do it? Why not you? Why not the person staring back in the mirror? People are made to do something...I was made to fight for what is right. When I look to the future, I want it to be a place where people still fight for what is right."


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