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Tony Perkins Draws In Large Crowd for the 2024 Lincoln Day Dinner

By, Michelle Hazekamp

May 25, 2024

Highly Anticipated Speaker

Tuesday, May 21, was the Muskegon County Republicans 2024 Annual Lincoln Day Dinner. This year's highlighted speaker was none other than the President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins.

Packed Venue

After months of planning and anticipation waiting for the night to finally arrive, Tony Perkins spoke to a sold out venue of on Tuesday evening at the Barclay Event Center. And up until the day of the event, still more seats were being sqeezed in to accommodate last minute inquiries.

Issues Urgently Affecting Us

Tony Perkins did not dissapoint, as he spoke on the urgent political situations affecting us, both nationally and internationally, yet focused primarily on the issue of life.

Who is Tony Perkins?

Tony Perkins is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a former police officer, Tony brings a unique perspective to the public policy process. In addition to domestic law enforcement, he oversaw the training of hundreds of international police officers as the general manager for a Washington, D.C.-based firm contracted by the U.S. Department of State to provide the training and services in anti-terrorism.

Tony Perkins is currently the President of the Family Research Council and host of "Washington Watch," a nationally syndicated podcast where he interviews congressional leaders and pro-family insiders on government activity affecting faith, family and religious freedoms. He is the longest-serving president for the Family Research Council, joining the organization in August of 2003.

A Legislative Pioneer

Tony served two terms as a state representative in Louisianna beginning in 1996, and became recognized as the leading conservative and pro-life voice in the Louisiana Legislature, and was a tireless advocate for the family. In an effort to address the growing social problems brought about by the instability of marriage and no-fault divorce, he authored and passed the nation's first Covenant Marriage law in 1997, which captured the attention of policymakers across the country. He is described as a legislative pioneer by the national media.

In May 2018, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Tony to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and in May 2020, Leader McConnell reappointed him to a second term. During his time on the independent, bipartisan commission, he has served as both Chair and Vice Chair.

An Open Letter to the Republican Party

Tuesday evening, Tony Perkins presented to us a heartfelt speech, "An Open Letter to the Republican Party," which was a an emotional reminder of the immense realities we are facing as a nation and worldwide. He began by pointing out that the war in Ukraine could easily spill into a NATO country, and spiral into a world war, and how the Middle East is more volatile than at any time since the founding of Israel 76 years ago. "There are grim warnings of civil war here at home as the cancel culture seeks to silence and eradicate voices with which they disagree, and how politics has become personal and ugly — even among friends".

"While there are many things that deserve Americans’ attention, there is one topic that many political leaders are doing verbal gymnastics to avoid talking about. It’s a debate that has been, is, and will be a defining issue for our nation."

A Blot on the Constitution

"Two years ago next month, the Supreme Court reversed the calamitous 1973 abortion rulings that led to the taking of nearly 64 million lives. But what should have been the fulfillment of decades of effort to heal a blot on the Constitution and our national conscience has become a flashpoint of conflict. In the past 23 months, tens of thousands of infants have been saved in pro-life states — but perhaps two million more have been lost as the Biden administration and the abortion industry have combined to end all pretense that abortion is about health care and begun promoting do-it-yourself abortions by mail."

America's Second Chance

Tony went on to explain that the Dobbs decision has given America a second chance and an opportunity to repent, but instead, we see a retreat among our fellow Republicans on this defining issue. Currently there is an organized campaign to remove from the GOP Platform language that insists every boy or girl in the womb has a right to life. Tony Perkins is currently involved in those conversations as he wrote a large portion of the last two Republican Platforms and was elected to the upcoming platform committee. He is hopeful that this will not come to fruition.

We Must Be Inflexible

Tony Perkins ended with a plea to stand firm on the issue of life, " My friends, we must be inflexible on this important principle of the sanctity of human life — the future depends upon it."

Candidates for 2024

This years Lincoln Day Dinner was one of our best and largest attended. Candidate's running for 2024 elected offices (and re-election) were introduced sporadically through out the evening and each gave two minute campaign speech's; Representative Luke Meerman, U.S. Senate candidate, Sherry O'Donnell, Judge Mark Boonstra for Michigan Supreme Court, 3rd Congressional District candidates, Paul Hudson & Michael Markey, Muskegon County Chief Circuit Court Judge, Gregory Pittman, Muskegon County Commissioners, Kim Cyr & Michelle Hazekamp and candidate for Muskegon County Commissioner, Dan Potts.

Many other local candidates were also in attendance.

Sounding of the Battle Cry

Tony Perkins sounded the battle cry. Will we pick up our weapons and stand firm on our values? It is of the utmost urgency that unite to get President Trump and Republicans elected in 2024. All life depends on it.

To read "An Open Letter to the Republican Party" in its entirety, click here.


Michelle Hazekamp is a Muskegon County Commissioner, Chair of the Communications Committee and Secreatary for the Muskegon County GOP. She also serves as secretary for the 3rd Congressional District Executive Committee.


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