U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., was the keynote speaker at the Lincoln County Republican Partyâ€™s annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner Saturday night.
He spoke to a large crowd of local GOP supporters, including many elected officials and candidates for local and state offices, as well as U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry and N.C. Republican Party Vice Chairman Wayne King, who were gathered at St. Lukeâ€™s Lutheran Church in Pumpkin Center.
Burr began his address by commending the U.S. House of Representatives, saying itâ€™s the “only thing standing between the United States becoming Europe.”
He said he would normally use the occasion to speak about the U.S. Senateâ€™s accomplishments of late, but, in reference to the political stalemate of recent months, he said the “Senateâ€™s done zero” and is too often focused on improving its favorability ratings rather than talking about the economy and jobs.
“Iâ€™m not there for image,” he added. “Iâ€™m there for impact.”
He also referenced both Presidents Lincoln and Reagan in his call for putting the “best days of America in front of us.”
Burr criticized President Barack Obamaâ€™s focus on “fairness” in his recent speeches, saying the president “wants to give everyone something.” Instead, Burr stressed that success can only be earned individually through hard work.
“Why are we here?” he asked those in attendance. “You want the America back that you love so dearly.”
He called on the crowd to get involved and to commit to getting Republican candidates at all levels elected in 2012 and said he believes Americans understand their moral obligation. He also talked about the sacrifices that troops make for their country, noting that what heâ€™s asking supporters to do is “miniscule in comparison.”
“If you wait until itâ€™s convenient for you to get involved, itâ€™s too late,” he said.
N.C. Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell, who is running for lieutenant governor, spoke prior to Burr and called for similar action at the state level.
“We have to have people in Raleigh who know where to drive the nail,” he said, also stressing the importance of finding a way to get more out of less.
Also at the event, county commissioner candidate Martin Oakes was presented with the “Republican of the Year” award from Lincoln County GOP Chairman Bradley Putnam and a presidential straw poll was conducted, with Rick Santorum the easy winner. He received 52 percent of the votes, with Newt Gingrich garnering 26 percent of the votes and Mitt Romney getting 20 percent. Ron Paul received less than 2 percent of the votes, and Rick Perry, who wasnâ€™t on the ballot, got one write-in vote.