Republican Headquarters In Warsaw Opens With Fanfare

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The 2020 Benton County Republican Campaign Headquarters opened in Warsaw on June 6, at 217 E. Main Street. About 40 people, including many political dignitaries attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony that was hosted by the Benton County Republican Women’s Club (BCRW).
After social mingling, and the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were welcomed and speakers introduced by Martha Foster, First Vice President of BCRW. Then, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft took the floor, saying how “fabulous” the new headquarters was, and praising State Senator Sandy Crawford for her work in the Missouri Senate. He talked about securing elections and thanked the people of Missouri for allowing the politicians to serve.  
“The future looks bright if we work like we did in 2016,” said Secretary Ashcroft.
During an interview with Secretary Ashcroft before the ribbon cutting, he came across as warm, outgoing and very personable. He explained that he attends functions in the state when he is invited, and in May he spent 10 days visiting every election authority while maintaining safe social distances. One reason for the trip was to take supplies that every authority needed for the June 2 elections. He delivered 500 gallons of hand sanitizer, 1,700 face masks, 1,700 plastic shields and distance strips that could be temporarily placed on floors to mark places to wait in line that were six feet apart
“My trips were also an opportunity to meet some elected officials, person to person, and ask them what they are hearing from poll judges, and making sure that everything would go well,” said Secretary Ashcroft. “June 2nd was the smoothest election since I have been in office, mainly because election officials did a great job! I am an engineer, and I wanted to see how to apply what the experts say about being safe while voting. The hard part was getting the word out to the general public about how safe it was so they wouldn’t have fears.”
Senator Sandy Crawford, District 28, discussed the odd year it has been so far that has prevented her getting out as much as she would like. She said that she was helping Governor Parson by saying a few words for him, and there was no one she would like better to have in that office than him. She praised his experience as a veteran, sheriff and small business owner. Sen. Crawford spoke briefly about a bill she has been working on, and promoted the Governor Mansion’s Cookbook that is coming out in October entitled A Spoonful of History.  The cookbook has over 200 pages of recipes and history, and is being released as Missouri celebrates the 150th anniversary of the People’s House.  Proceeds from the sale will ensure preservation of the Mansion. She said that order forms were available at the Benton County campaign headquarters.
Brief speeches were also given by Missouri Representative, 125, Warren Love, Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox and Glen Spencer, who is running for Sheriff. 
The Republican Campaign Headquarters is housed in what was once the City Café (many years ago), and Martha Foster said that being in the space brought many good memories to her and other volunteers. The headquarters was clean and comfortable with a counter and t-shirt rack in front and a long table with chairs in the back. Signs, caps, playing cards and other Republican items were available for sale. There was a popcorn machine, and life-size replicas of President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump. After the speeches, the attendees were treated  to hot dogs, water, cookies, donuts and other snacks in buffet style.
Although attendance at the event was definitely monopolized by political officials and those running for office, there were other interested members of the public such as Janet Manson, who has had a house in White Branch for 11 years, and spends a lot of time visiting her favorite places like the Warsaw Senior Center and River Church.
In addition to politicians already named, there were quite a few in attending who are in races with each other, and they were eager to talk about how they could best serve the people of Benton County. Present were Jim Kalberloh and Nick Allison, who are both seeking the seat of State Representative for District 125, replacing Warren Love who is completing his term limit; Larry Berry and Rodney Johnson, who are seeking the position of Southside Commissioner, that is currently held by David Malecki; and Scott Harms who is seeking the position of Northside Commissioner that is currently held by Glenn Nelson. There was time to interview only a couple of candidates, so to be fair to those who were not interviewed, no interview comments will be printed at this time. However, Larry Berry said that anyone who wants to talk to him can reach him at 573-619-1750.
BCRW First Vice President said that volunteers at the headquarters are welcome, and can apply during office hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 AM to 2 PM, Friday nights from 4 to 8 PM, or Saturdays from 12 to 4 PM.