GOLDEN VALLEY -- Vernon Williams has the distinction of being the very first Golden Valley resident to register as a member of the new Golden Valley Republicans Club.
Lou Tranka, the Republican Party chairman for District 2 in Golden Valley, and state Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, presented a commemorative plaque to Williams at the club's inaugural meeting on March 16 at KC's Restaurant.
Tranka said the local Republicans work with state representatives and senators.
"We let them know how Golden Valley feels about issues," he said. "It's all about unity."
He also encouraged each member to bring a new member to each club meeting.
In other business, Tranka appointed Bridget Langston as the temporary club president until the group can have an election of officers.
"The unity of the Republican Party is a good place to start," Langston said.
Her first official duty was to present plaques of appreciation to the new owner of KC's Restaurant, Sue Milashus, and her son Joe Mikashus, the restaurant manager, and to McLain.
Tranka said there are 8,000 registered Republicans in Golden Valley alone. Fifteen attended the first meeting.
"It's not a bad crowd, especially for the first meeting," he said. "Everyone who joins tonight becomes a charter member. I'm happy that our state representative, Nancy McLain, is joining this evening, becoming one of our charter members."
McLain is the state representative for District 3, which includes Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, the Arizona Strip, Quartzite, Kingman and the Grand Canyon.
"It takes four days to make the sweep of my district," she said. "It isn't the largest district in the state, but it's one of the largest."
McLain said she became actively involved with the Republican Party in 1988, first as a member of a Republican Women's club, then as a Republican Central Committee volunteer.
"People used to tell me then that one day I would run for office," she said. "I didn't see it then. I was happy working behind the scenes, but here I am now. I saw the mistakes that the Republican Party was making in California, and when we moved to Bullhead, I saw the same mistakes being made. I wanted to help Arizona avoid the mistakes I had seen earlier and the repercussions of those mistakes."
She said her volunteer work provided the foundation for her campaign and gave her the confidence to take a leadership role, including the ability to speak to groups of people.
She said the new Republicans Club is a "great idea."
"In Bullhead City, the Republicans let themselves fall apart," she said. "I can't be everywhere. I'm in Phoenix five days a week for five months of the year. I'm looking to Lou to get the enthusiasm going out here."
Local precinct committee people play an important role in state politics.
"You're the grass roots," she said. "I need to hear from you folks. Feel free to call or e-mail me. We depend on you to make the phone calls, set up the gatherings, carry on fund-raising events and meetings, register voters and get people to the polls. And it's up to you to foster the same ethic in our younger generations, to instill in them good Republican principles.
"There is such a wide variety of occupations, ages and philosophies among Republicans," she said. "There's room in the party for variety, as long as that variety is based on Republican principles."
Val Starr, precinct captain, said the opportunity to reach out to local voters is exciting.
"It's our job to talk to the constituents," he said. "We're the base of the political party totem pole. We tell the state level what we want to see happen, and the state level tells the national level what to do. It all starts here and it's fun. We make it fun. And we need more precinct captains in Golden Valley."
Evelyn Laughlin, who donated a property to the Western States Constitutional Alliance for an educational center, said she wants to host a pit barbecue at the center on May 19.
"We'll have music and good food. We're still brainstorming and working out details. There will be a fee to attend. The funds will go toward improving the property and the building," she said.
Langston and Tranka agreed May 19, between Memorial Day and Mother's Day, would be a good time for the fund-raising event, and that anyone who wants to volunteer to help is welcome to do so.
"The Republicans Club is hosting, and anyone can come," Tranka said.
The Golden Valley Republicans Club will meet monthly. The next date and location will be announced ahead of time.
McLain's Web site is www.nancymclain.com. She can be reached by mail at District 3 House of Representatives, 1700 W. Washington, Room 344, Phoenix AZ 85007, by phone at (800) 352- 8404, by fax at (602) 417-3003 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.