Palm Coast, Fla. – Hosting a room full of politicos, the Flagler County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner packed a 1-2-3 punch delivered by a powerhouse trifecta of speakers on Wednesday evening at the Hammock Beach Resort.
Taking the stage, U.S. Senator Rick Scott’s calm demeanor underscored the gravity of his message, offering an unguarded look at the dysfunction in Washington D.C.
Scott’s story of a gulf so wide between some Democrats and Republicans they would refuse to ride in the same elevator together, demonstrated just how far apart the two parties are at the moment.
“What you see on TV is all true. It’s completely dysfunctional,” said Scott.
“Here’s why it matters. Chuck Schumer decides everything that we vote on. As a Republican, you do not get a vote. You can vote against something, but you get no bills that he doesn’t like. None. He controls the entire agenda of the U.S. Senate.”
Focusing on not just the issues, but the solutions, Scott referenced his “11 Point Plan to Rescue America”.
“If we don’t figure out how to get control of this government, and stop these Democrats, they will ruin this country.”
Addressing his district with a fiery message, U.S. Congressman Mike Waltz ignited the room as he talked about the recent unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump’s home, the pain still felt over the loss of the 13 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and the dangers of China’s unbridled advances.
While many of the candidates have been dominating the airwaves and keeping mailboxes flush with oversized mailers, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, who is running for Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture has been fairly low key in his approach.
Billed as a ‘workhorse’, the fifth generation farmer with strong pro-law enforcement and first responder support, was introduced by Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly to rousing applause with his opening of ‘Welcome to the free state of Florida’.
Engaging and succinct when addressing the audience, Simpson shared some of the Legislature’s signature accomplishments over the past decade including banning sanctuary cities, strengthening election integrity laws and creating the Parents’ Bill of Rights, while highlighting the shrewd decisions made during the pandemic as he served at the Florida Senate’s helm.
Low taxes, billions in reserve and a state ahead of the curve when it came to navigating the pandemic, Simpson is ready to tackle the state’s needs as the next Commissioner of Agriculture.
“It’s been a real honor to serve in the Florida Senate. It’s been a real honor to serve alongside not only Governor Scott who did a great job, but Governor DeSantis who’s done clearly a superior job,” he said.
While some faces were missing from the crowd, Florida’s National Committeewoman Kathleen King was in attendance from the west coast of Florida to present the 2022 Frank J. Meeker Spirit Award.
Flagler County Republican Party Chairman Bob Updegrave expressed his congratulations to Fernando Melendez as the recipient of the Frank J. Meeker Spirit Award for his work in helping bring the conservative Hispanic community into the Republican Party.
Emceed by Edward Fuller, the evening’s program moved at a steady clip, beginning with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Melanie DiMartino, followed by The Paddy Piper, Lt. Patrick Juliano, honoring veterans in the room with their branch’s song on the bagpipes.
“The night went fabulously well, way beyond expectations,” said Updegrave.
“This is obviously a fundraiser, this is the big one that funds us into the general election. The speakers did fabulous. Senator Scott is inspiring, Michael Waltz is always the true warrior in Washington along with Scott, and Wilton Simpson, Senator Simpson, running for Ag Commissioner, just an incredible player on the state stage. We’ll be honored to have him as Ag Secretary.”
“It’s great to have Senator Rick Scott here, our future Ag Secretary Wilton Simpson, so many local elected officials here,” said Waltz.
“Look, at the end of the day, we’re talking about issues that matter to people in Flagler and matter across the country. Crime, inflation, border, immigration that’s out of control, and most of all, our economy. We’ve got to take, in just 83 days, the majority back in Congress. I’m determined to fire Nancy Pelosi. I’m determined to get this country back to an America First agenda and that’s what tonight was all about.”