Former state auditor is keynote speaker
Local Republicans honored

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

Members of the Ripley County Republican Party gathered to honor Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, learn about Lincoln’s formative years in Indiana as well as hear the Gettysburg Address read by Charles Dickman portraying Lincoln at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Local Republicans were also honored at the event that took place Saturday, May 2 at the Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School in Osgood.

Former Ripley County Republican Chairman Kenny Copeland was honored for his service by Vice-Chairman Don Dickey. “Thank you for all your hard work for the Republican Party,” said Dickey.

Copeland was also recognized by Representative Cleo Duncan. A House Senate Resolution honored Copeland not only for his dedication to the Republican Party, but also to the State. “Thank you for being my county chairman and my friend,” said Duncan.

Marilyn Hunt was selected to be honored at the Indiana Federation of Republican Women in Indianapolis. According to Earline Copeland, a notable woman is chosen from all the candidates from each federation across the state.

“It didn’t take long to choose one,” said Copeland. “She (Hunt) never turns anyone down and works diligently for the county." She’s good at what she does. Hunt has been involved with the local election process for several years.

The event was opened by the leading of the Pledge of Allegiance by Ripley County Republican Women’s Club Vice President Earline Copeland. The National Anthem was sung by Diane Masic and the Invocation lead by Lloyd Franklin.

The featured speaker was Connie Nass, chairman of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and former state auditor. She reminded those attending that Lincoln spent nearly a quarter of his life in Indiana. “This is the celebration of the greatest president this country has ever seen,” she said.

It was during those formative years in Indiana that best prepared Lincoln for his presidency, according to Nass. “It was the experiences he learned in those years that formed him to be the man he became,” said Nass.

Lincoln’s parents provided examples of strength, courage, commitment, leadership, and humor. “Lincoln was very wise and astute in handling people,” said Nass.

Nass closed by urging those attending to stand up for values and to be willing to support those running for office. “Strive to imitate his spirit, and teach it to your children,” she said.

Special dates for the Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration include the introduction of the new Indiana penny on May 14 at the Lincoln State Park by the US Mint. The penny has not been changed since 1904, according to Nass. There will be four designs depicting Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky; his boyhood in Indiana; and his life in Illinois and Washington, DC.

The dedication of the new bicentennial plaza at the Lincoln State Park will take place on June 12, according to Nass. The event will feature the premier of Lincoln. “It promises to be a moving experience for all ages,” said Nass.

State Senator Jean Leising and State Representative Cleo Duncan, who were both in attendance at the event, encouraged Republicans to keep working hard for local government officials. Of concern, they noted was the increase in unemployment insurance rates for employers.

Candidates for US Congress were given the opportunity to introduce themselves. Todd Young and Travis Hankins will be on the ballot in 2010. More information can be found by visiting and

Ripley County Republican Chairman Ginger Bradford recognized the county office holders, committeemen and the Women’s Club and the Central Committee officers. The evening ended with the selection of the door prize winners and the winners of the silent auction fundraiser.

Pictured above at podium Ripley County Republican Vice-Chairman Don Dickey, presented former Republican Chairman Kenny Copeland with a plaque honoring him for his 13 years of service. He also served as a county commissioner. Also pictured from left: Charles Dickman, portraying Abe Lincoln, 9th District Chairman Don Hayes, Connie Nass, and Ripley County Republican Chairman Ginger Bradford. Pictured below: Earline Copeland honored Marilyn Hunt on her nomination to the Indiana Federation of Republican Women as Ginger Bradford looks on. Hunt said she was proud and honored.