Republican women in Wisconsin play a key role in promoting conservatives values and providing support to the strong, principled political leaders in our state. The Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women (WFRW) is the statewide organization, while numerous county groups operate all over the state. These groups are engaged in grassroots organizing, fostering discussions on issues affecting the lives of people, providing platforms for conservative voices, advocating for solutions of problems, and encouraging new entrants to be involved in the political process. In addition to being an executive committee member of the Republican Party of Dane County (RPDC), and the county party’s 78th Asssembly District Chairman, I’ve also been involved with the Republican Women of Dane County (RWDC), which allows men to be associate members of the club. My involvement and experience has helped me understand that these women’s organization are vital to the success of Republicans in Wisconsin.
Not all counties are the same, and hence, have very different challenges and opportunities. The Republican women’s clubs are made up of members who, in addition to their political affiliation, are also involved in their communities in various capacities or have backgrounds that allow them to have valuable skills in certain fields, as well as knowledge about specific issues affecting their villages, town, and cities. The local Republican women’s organizations provide an arrangement for these women to come together – united by similar values and principles, and strengthened by the willingness to help make our state and country a better place.
My mother, Hena Anam, first got involved with the Republican Women of Dane County, with an eagerness to meet other conservative women who believe in life, liberty, and opportunity. She and I started to attend the monthly luncheons, held at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison. Nancy Bartlett, the president of the club, is an excellent leader who ensures that all events take place smoothly. The luncheons also feature guest speakers. In recent months, we have had the opportunity to hear from Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel, Attorney General Brad Schimel, and more. I also have had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest speaker, talking about my background, how I came the United States as a legal immigrant, my education and career, and my public service. The programs also include raffle prizes, special announcements, and introduction of new members and guests. Most importantly, the events begin with everyone standing to respect the American flag and saying the Pledge of Allegience, and followed by a prayer.
The activities of the Republican women in Dane County go beyond the luncheons. The club has also held events to celebrate rights guaranteed by the Constitution. One such example is the Ladies At The Range event – with members, associate members, and guests going out to a local range for shooting practice and to celebrate the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms. The club has also played a key role in being visible to the greater community and helping represent the Republican Party at community parades. In a county that is widely known to be politically liberal, the Republican Women of Dane County is full of energy, and their activism is remarkable.
This month, the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women -which brings together all these individual Republican women’s clubs – had its 39th biennial convention. The event was held at the Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel and Conference Center in Neenah. This year’s convention had special significance – it was the first one since Republican Party’s massive victories in the November 2016 election when Donald Trump became the president (with Wisconsin voting for a Republican president for the first time in decades), Senator Ron Johnson won his re-election, Republicans maintained control of both the U.S. House and Senate, and the Wisconsin State Legislature remained in Republican control. Furthermore, the 2017 WFRW convention also preceded Governor Scott Walker’s announcement that he’s running for re-election to a third term. The event brought together Republican women (and men), elected officials, and guests for a celebration of success as well as to commit to working even harder to achieve more in the future.
The two-day event included a series of special appearances. On Friday, November 3, 2017, Kris “Tanto” Paronto was the guest speaker at the banquet. Kris is a former Army Ranger and private security contractor. He was part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The story of the attack in Benghazi and the team that helped save several lives has been published in the form of a book titled “13 Hours”. A movie, with the same title, has also been produced. At the banquet, Kris described the events of September 11, 2012, presenting a true account of the horrific attack, and providing details of the heroic acts that helped saved many lives. It was an honor to meet Kris Paronto – a brave American.
In these two days, the delegates and guests heard from U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Congressmen Glenn Grothman and Sean Duffy, State Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate Leah Vukmir, Sauk County Circuit Court Judge and candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Michael Screnock, and others. First Lady Tonette Walker also came to the convention and had an exclusive meeting with the Republican women, sharing her thoughts and views on various matters. Governor Walker’s success and his upcoming campaign for re-election was also discussed.
The official business of the convention included, but was not limited to, election of officers. The Republican women had the opportunity to thank Charlotte Rasmussen for her service as president of WFRW, and then gave a warm welcome to the incoming president Robin Moore. County organizations in Wisconsin were also recognized by the National Federation of Republican Women, and the awards were presented by the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women. Republican Women of Dane County received the Silver Achievement Award for its 2016-2017 accomplishments. Altogether, the convention marked the many accomplishments of the Republican women across the state, and strength and confidence with which the organization is moving forward.
Our conservative ideas and hard work have resulted in the victory of Republican leaders nationwide – as evident from the recent elections. There are more states with Republican governors than Democrat governors, and Republicans control a larger number of state legislative chambers than Democrats. And now, we not only have Republicans forming majority in Congress, we also have a Republican president in the Oval Office. Wisconsin, in particular, deserves praise for all the progress it has made since 2010, when Republicans took control of the government, repaired the budget, and implemented conservative reforms that put taxpayers in charge.
Republican women continue to play a big role in ensuring that our GOP leaders have all the support they need in helping Wisconsin move forward and to be an excellent example of success among all states. As someone who has been involved with the women’s organization within the Republican Party, and witnessed the great work, I am really proud of the commitment of the members to make our state and the nation GREAT.