The 22nd Annual Dinner for the Conservative Party of Wayne County was held May 9 at the Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club. Wayne County Conservative Party Chairman Jim Quinn welcomed everyone then recognized many of the Wayne County elected officials present as well as Conservative Party officials from outside the Wayne County area. About 110 people attended the event, which Chairman Quinn said was the best-attended Conservative dinner Wayne County has held.
Following dinner, Chairman Quinn introduced Wayne County Clerk Mike Jankowski who is running for re-election this fall. Jankowski’s remarks made mention of his appreciation of serving the residents of Wayne County during his past terms and that he looked forward to continuing to serve residents as in the past. Jankowski also mentioned that his office has had to deal with a 49% increase in workload as a result of the passage of New York’s new S.A.F.E. Act.
Sheriff Barry Virts was then introduced, as he will also be running again run for the Sheriff’s position this fall. Former Congresswoman Anne Marie Buerkle was introduced and commented that society has troubles with violence and mental health issues that we don’t address – that guns are the low hanging fruit, and ripe for the cause of these problems. Buerkle also thanked the veterans for their service to America.
Mike Long, Chairman of the NYS Conservative Party, was then recognized and immediately paid tribute to Senator Mike Nozzolio and Assemblyman Bob Oaks, who were both present, for their contributions to Wayne County taxpayers. Long said Nozzolio and Oaks have the highest ratings of elected officials in the state. One of the saddest things to happen in the last election, lamented Long, was the loss of Congresswoman Buerkle. Long mentioned that keynote speaker National Rifle Association President David Keene and had served the Conservation party and its values for over 28 years and has worked his entire life promoting conservative principles. After Mike Long complete his remarks, Jim Quinn announced that each year a special award is given in honor of Sanford and Marie Bush in memory of their many outstanding contributions to the Conservative Party and that following a vote earlier by Wayne County representatives – the 2013 Bush Award was being given to Mike Long. Long suggested people register for the Conservative party and that registration forms were in the back of the room.
Jim Quinn then introduced keynote speaker David A. Keene, past President of the National Rifle Association. David Keene, an attorney, served as chairman of the American Conservative Union for 27 years prior to becoming involved with the NRA and has been involved in every Congressional battle over gun rights since the early 1970’s. Keene began by talking about the Conservative Party and its early formation and saying we live in a country that others can only dream about. Keene related the story of an important Russian general that was honored for his 85th birthday at an impressive state dinner and the general was being recognized by Russia’s President Putin. Following a toast – the general said to everyone’s surprise “I dream of a country like the United States governed by men and women not afraid of an armed citizenry.”
Keene mentioned the NRA was actually formed in NYS in 1871 by Civil War Union generals. He noted that the recent NRA annual meeting in Houston, Texas was the biggest and most successful in NRA’s history. He had attended the Feb 28, 2013 anti-S.A.F.E. Act rally in Albany on the capitol lawn in less than pleasant weather and witnessed thousands of enraged Second Amendment supporters demonstrating their disgust at the state for imposing the S.A.F.E. Act.
Keene said the NRA mission is to preserve and protect the Second Amendment right of the American people – and that is the core mission of the NRA. Today the NRA spends about 9-10% of its budget on advocacy, lobbying and political activities while the remainder goes toward firearms and safety training, technical information for hunter and competitive shooters and supporting competitive shooting matches around the country, training for boy scouts and girl scouts and how to handle firearms safely.
Surprisingly Keene spent little time discussing New York’s controversial S.A.F.E. Act that threatens Second Amendments rights of New York’s gun owners. Keene related that the membership of the NRA has swelled by nearly a million members as a result of the Obama administration attitude toward gun control and people concerned about the potential of gun confiscation. The NRA had, for months prior to last November’s Presidential election, repeatedly urged its members NOT to vote for Obama in their newsletter magazine – the Rifleman. Keene also noted that President Obama’s hometown is now “murder city USA” despite having the most strict gun control laws in the county. The thrust of Keene’s speech was the Obama administration’s attitude toward imposing stricter gun control measures (with assistance from New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other prominent elected officials who has financed direct actions encouraging strict gun control since the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.
Keene mentioned the Newtown event was a major turning point that gun control fanatics were awaiting and took advantage of this situation to promote their cause to weaken America’s Second Amendment rights. Obviously Keene is not optimistic about the future involving America’s Second Amendment rights during the remaining Obama presidency.