By Nancy Thorner -
Family-Pac held its 23rd annual August fundraiser boat/supper cruise on Monday, August 11. Family-Pac is recognized as a leading pro-family conservative political action committee in Illinois. Founded in 1992, Family-Pac has helped to elect pro-family candidates committed to low taxes and limited government in Springfield.
Colonel Allen B. West was recognized as Family PAC's 2014 "Man of the Year" and was on the night's keynote speaker. Others that have been recognized in the past include U.S. Senators Tom Colburn and Jim DeMint, as well as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Aboard the "Evening Star," two hundred individuals, including elected politicians and candidates, enjoyed a two-hour boat trip on Lake Michigan and down the Chicago River. Despite some rain while cruising, the enthusiasm of the participants remained steadfast. Col. West appeared undaunted by the rain showers, having remarked how in his home state of Florida he often experiences rain falling in heavy, slanted sheets.
Among the elected politicians and candidates present, all pro-family conservatives, were:
Jim Oberweis, running for IL senate to replace Dick Durbin; Col. Lawrence K. Kaifesh, running to defeat Tammy Duckworth in IL 8th Congressional District; Bobby Schilling and his wife Christy, GOP candidate for the 17th CD; Tim Schneider, IL GOP Chairman; Demetra DeMonte, Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois, who recently announced her candidacy for co-chairman of RNC; Kirk Dillard, recently resigned from his seat as state Senator for the 24th District of Illinois to become RTA chairman; Rep. Tom Morrison, IL House, District 54; Jeanne Ives, IL House, District 42; Bill Kelly, candidate for mayor of Chicago; Don Wilson, candidate for IL Senate, District 30, against Terry Link; and Rep. John Anthony, State Representative, District 75, the first black Republican legislator in 30 years.
Sandy Rios, Vice President of Family-Pac Federal and host of Sandy Rios in the Morning on AFR Talk, introduced Col. West. After his military service of 22 years, Col. West represented Florida's 22nd congressional district in the House from 2011 to 2013 as the first African-American Republican Congressman from Florida since 1876.
Col. Allen West applauded Family Pac and the work of Paul Caprio as its director. With a firm conviction, West believes this nation cannot return to its greatness until the family unit is restored. Related was how the "Great Society" -- a set of domestic political programs in the United States launched by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 with its goals of eliminating poverty and racial injustice -- helped instead to destroy the black family.
"As long as there wasn't a man in the home the government would provide a check," West told the crowd. West said Johnson's Great Society programs damaged American society. Before Johnson's Great Society only 6% of the households were single parent households headed by women. Today that percentage is 42 - 43%. Hispanics make up 56% of single parent households, while Blacks come in at 72%.
Col. West emphasized repeatedly that in talking to blacks and other minority groups it is important to speak in terms that make sense to them and relate to their lives. Having a father in the home is not only important, but the odds are against children raised in a single parent household. Those who convey this information should not be called "racist" just for supporting the family.
In regard to bringing the minimum wage up to $15.00, West said it is not the magic bullet to help families in minority communities where gas and food, not included in the Consumer Price Index, are major expenses. It is in minority neighborhoods where teenage unemployment is at an all-time high. Raising the minimum wage would further limit job opportunities.
West pointed out the need for the right type of energy policies. Consider that a gallon of gas was $1.89 in 2009. When it went to $2.50 under President G.W. Bush the media went bonkers. Today the average price of gasoline is $3.60. Why is there no a peep out of the media?
Topic such as our $17.6 debt or quantitative easing are not winning issues, he said. "Republicans need to tell the American family that we care about them," West said. "This nation is allowing children to come into this country illegally under the presumption that they are escaping violence in their own countries. Where are the children to go on the south side of Chicago to escape violence?"
Single black mothers want their children to have a good education, yet in April of 2009 President Obama canceled the D.C. voucher program.
"In talking about life and abortion, is it right to put to death a child who has survived abortion?" West asked. "This does not speak well of who we are as a people. Yet as a state senator, U.S. senator, and now president, President Obama voted to allow the killing of babies born alive after botched abortions."
West said conservatives should not be afraid to speak out about Family and Faith for together they lead to freedom. "Never to be forgotten is what was written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence 'Unalienable rights' are ours to keep, by virtue of our Creator.'"
The government does not grant those rights, nor can the government take them away. Jefferson understood "unalienable rights" as fixed rights given to us by our Creator rather than by government. The emphasis on our Creator is crucial, because it shows that the rights are permanent just as the Creator is permanent. It should be troubling that the IRS might soon be targeting churches if engaging in political speech.
Col. West didn't mince words when warning that we are living in an evil world. "We must pay attention to the things that are happening," said West. "What kind of American will we be leaving to the children?"
Blunt words were also spoken by West about Chicago and the corruption within.
It was Chicago that produced President Obama, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, Bill Ayers, Valerie Jarrett, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Saul Alinsky and Hillary Clinton, West said. "These individuals should be called for who they are -- liberal, progressive, Socialists," West challenged. “Isn't saving your country by speaking the truth far more important than being called names?”
Col. West related how often he has been called nasty names for being a black, Republican conservative. Alan West spoke of being shunned by family members when he ran for Congress in 2010. Family has now come to understand West's concerns.
Lastly, Colonel West strongly advised all on board the 2014 Family-Pac cruise to get out of their comfort zones.
"Go out to talk with people. Visit your own neighborhoods and those in Chicago," he said. "There are always people who are ready to listen. There is a hunger out there to hear those who are willing to tell the truth." Furthermore, "Everyone here must be a media source. There is much work to be done in Chicago as the birthplace of all this progressive foolishness.”
Colonel West then asked that heads be bowed for a moment of silence to pray for the prosecution of Christians in Egypt, Iraq and all over the Middle East, having been reminded first that being a Christian is something that is still easy for us to be here in America.
Sandy Rios presented the Lifetime Christian award to Joseph A. Morris. Morris served under President Reagan as assistant attorney general of the United States in charge of international affairs and director of the Department of Justice Office of Liaison Services. He also presented 2010 Acton Institute lecture series on Saul Alinsky.
A second award was presented to Paul Caprio, who was not told beforehand that he was to be honored. In presenting a plaque to Caprio for his 25 years of dedication to Family Pac and its mission, Rios spoke of Caprio as the "most powerful force of the conservative movement here in Illinois."
Family PAC founder Paul Caprio and Colonel Allen West
Paul Caprio was one of the individuals behind the "Swift boating" of John Kerry in his run for president in 2004. Four letters of praise for Caprio's work fighting the battle for family and Judeo-Christian values were read by Rios, sent by former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, Phyllis Schlafly (founder and head of Eagle Forum in IL), Senator Tom Colburn (now retiring senator from Oklahoma), and Jim DeMint (former senator and now president of The Heritage Foundation).
Paul Caprio said, "The good Lord led me into it. He will keep me in this battle." Paul admitted that throughout the years social conservatives have won their share of battles and have lost some, but said "We will survive because we represent God's truth."
As the boat neared its slip, those on the boat sang "God Bless America," uplifting their voices in reverence to God, as they continue to promote family values as the fabric upon which this nation was built.