By Connie Ross
It actually was a spontaneously put together event. Collier County Republican Executive Committee (CCREC) hosted a movie-night and discussion in cooperation with Paragon Pavilion on Monday, April 15th. Carol Manning and Jan Face-Glassman, with the support of local Republican clubs, organized a private viewing of the 2019 movie Unplanned, and it didn’t take long to fill the theater. This type of forum has always been a well-received opportunity to openly discuss Conservative ideologies in Naples.
Unplanned is the novel-inspired true story of Abby Johnson’s 8 year journey with Planned Parenthood and her complicated personal relationships. The film walks you through Johnson’s life that begins when she joins a Texas Planned Parenthood in college sincerely inspired to do good, who quickly works her way up in the organization to become one of the youngest Clinic Directors in the nation. She eventually falls from grace when she publicly voices a concern.
Following an awaking experience that no one should forget, the course of Johnson’s life is forever changed.
The movie opens with a young wife and mother telling the audience, “My story isn’t an easy one to hear. I think I probably ought to warn you of that up front.”
Indeed there’s more than one uncomfortable scene that provokes mind-bending questions.
Hannah Custer with Pregnancy Resource Center was in attendance to lead a discussion with the over 100 community members who attended the viewing event.
Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) is a 501c3 faith-based crisis organization funded solely by donors in Collier and Lee Counties with a mission to prevent abortion and present eternal truth with clinics in Naples and Estero. Their vision is a transformed community where every baby is wanted.
Statistically where a woman goes first for help will determine what she does with her pregnancy 80% of the time, so PRC provides services free of charge to individuals struggling with an unplanned pregnancy in a non-judgmental, informative and supportive environment. In 2018, of the roughly 1,600 patient encounters, 73% determined to abort then chose life because of the compassionate approach to handling an unplanned pregnancy.
Despite the efforts of PRC, Collier and Lee Counties “documented” 4,007 abortions in 2018.
Many women go on to regret the choice to terminate a pregnancy and emotionally struggle with their decision; for them PRC provides Restorative Healing Services.
Patients prescribed the Abortion Pill during the first 70 days of their pregnancy have a 48 to 72 hour window of opportunity after taking the first of two pills to reverse the outcome.
PRC is the only facility south of Sarasota to offer an antidote to RU-486. To date, seven lives have been saved in the Collier and Lee County area as a result of PRC’s services. It is not enough, however, to simply bring a child into this world. Whether the mother’s choice is to parent or adopt out, patients and fathers have available to them comprehensive physical, emotional, educational and spiritual services for a period of 16 months.
Janet Custer – Executive Director at Pregnancy Resource Center believes, “In saving a life and ensuring a better life for both mother and child! We defund Planned Parenthood every day, as women come to our clinics first! The best part is, because all of our services are free, she actually keeps the money she would have used for an abortion.”
Republican views on abortion are “rooted firmly in the belief that an unborn child, like any individual in this country, has an individual right to life that should not be infringed upon by others. The party adamantly believes that the rights guaranteed to all Americans in the 14th Amendment apply to unborn children as well.” The 2016 Republican Party Platform strengthened its pro-life plank to call for the first time, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and banning dismemberment abortion. Conservatives believe all lives have a divine purpose.
For more information on how you can help in your community, Pregnancy Resource Center can be reached in Naples: 239-280-5523 / Estero: 239-317-0015. PRC welcomes donations and volunteers to serve as patient advocates or assist with administrative tasks, join their Bridge-Partners program with local churches, or simply to participate as a Prayer Warrior.
During the May meeting of the Collier County Republican Executive meeting, State Representative Byron Donalds and State Representative Bob Rommel tag teamed a quick update of the highly successful legislative session that was completed the prior week.
In addition, a presentation was made by Cheryl Couture, the Youth Outreach Specialist with Americans for Prosperity.
Other presentations were made by on Veterans activities, updates on the Movie Night, the upcoming Elephant Cruise, July 4th parade, and updates on the upcoming Republican Party of Florida quarterly meeting to take place the weekend of May 16th.
Senator Marco Rubio joined Collier Republicans to talk about the important issues facing Florida and the nations. His priorities included Water, Small Business, and China.
Water became more important than just an environmental issue for constituents, it became an economic issue as well. His goal is to put into place a sustainable funding source that can clean the waters of Florida and restore some water flows.
Small Business was stated as the backbone of the American economy, and while big business gets all of the news coverage, he wanted to make sure we make it easier for small business owners to start and/or grow their businesses. This is where the majority of jobs will be now and in the future.
China had dominance in the world for centuries, and lost that strength over the past few centuries and is waging an effort to retake that prominent place in the world. There needs to be trade that is fair and protection against China’s current efforts to steal technology and ideas from US companies.
A Question and Answer period followed and topics included health care, immigration, the wall, Iraninan waivers, and family leave.
After the meeting, the campaign committee met with J.R. Sanchez, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Outreach of Rubio’s team. Discussions included press releases, the emergency declaration, the good Rubio and Trump relationship.
It was determined to have teleconferences with campaign folks to provide a more coordinated effort on outreach. More sessions were in the works.
By Connie Ross
As Republicans, we believe in retaining principles of the past worth retaining, while always being receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view. Throughout history, some of the best and brightest ideas were formed through scholarly socials.
During George Washington’s two terms as president, Martha Washington established a weekly salon that was open to anyone who wished to attend. Her salons were social gatherings with a focus on scholarly discussion. They became well known for the diverse nature of the attendees. “Martha Washington’s Salons were often referred to as the Republican Court, where many high-profile dignitaries attended to discuss prevalent issues and topics including social, political, scientific, economic, and literary innovations. The Salon acted as a market place of ideas and was symbolic of the need to galvanize discussion of educated thoughts that encouraged the use of knowledge and logic along with differing opinions.” – Christy McLaughlin
Inspired by Martha’s model, on April 13, 2019, Christy Marie McLaughlin hosted an evening of Wit, Wisdom and Whimsy titled “Martha Washington Salon”. Christy said, “The objective of Martha Washington Salon was youth outreach to Republicans to stimulate education and research. I invited several respected individuals who represent a variety of Republican clubs to create a point of contact for the young conservatives in attendance. The goal is to promote education/research, professional development, and stewardship.”
Republicans representing various committees and ages attended to support the launch of this newest addition to the Collier County Republican scene. Christy’s “Salon” was decorated patriotically and included a Betsy Ross flag. While not so much in the flesh, James Madison and John Adams showed up for photo ops. Martha Washington’s secret recipe cocktail, that certainly must have been the secret behind George’s never telling a lie, was served, and wondering guests were able to consult with a Mount Vernon Fortune Teller.
Approximately forty attendees drew from mason jars filled with probing questions used to lead conversation in small-group speed-round-robin discussions. Topics included Florida’s impact on WWII (host-Lois Bolin) Law, Ethics, and Morality (host- Ave Maria’s Professor of Commercial Law and Business, Daniella Palmiotto) Julian Assange, and the current college admissions scandal. I’ve concluded I desperately need to binge-watch 8 seasons of Game of Thrones after I found myself completely out of the loop in perhaps the most fervent discussion of the evening… BTW, what does that White Walker spiral mean?
Participants were enthusiastic about the launch of an open dialogue forum where people engaged in an authentic exchange of ideas about diverse issues. Taylor Mathews said, “As a second-year law student, the Martha Washington Salon was a wonderful opportunity to share good food and hearty discussion outside of the classroom. With several students and members of the community in attendance, it made for a truly great event.” Alyssa Porta “believes the Martha Washington Salon was a well put together event. Christy brought people of all ages and backgrounds together for a night of great discussion. It was awesome having this opportunity for people my age to connect over the fact we all love America and being Conservatives!”
Another event is expected to take place in the fall, and Rosemary McAvoy is looking forward to supporting Christy as she expands her concept. “I was inspired by Christy McLaughlin, a young woman with a great vision to encourage open dialogue that resurrects one of the original ways democracy emerged among our founding mothers and fathers. In this divisive world, we desperately need forums where we can candidly and civilly discuss perspectives.”
Diane Van Parys commended Christy for organizing and hosting the 1st “Martha Washington Salon” in Naples. “Christy wanted to bring together Conservatives of all ages for Conversation and Sharing of Experiences in the Conservative movement. The Professors from Ave Maria Law School added so much to the conversation about the issues of today.”
I am proud to support Christy and the revival of Martha Washington Salon. In an age of political discourse, it is refreshing to know that we can contribute to mending our democracy by following the original salon model established by our nation’s first lady.
About the Organizer
Christy Marie McLaughlin is a second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law and dedicated Conservative Republican. Since 2016 Christy has been actively involved in the Republican Party across Southwest Florida. Christy worked for the Republican Party of Florida during the 2018 election cycle.
She is currently on the Republican Executive Committee of Collier County, serving as a youth outreach member, and is the Young Republicans of Southwest Florida Collier County Chair. Christy recently established the Republican National Lawyer’s Association Chapter at Ave Maria School of Law and was President for the 2018-2019 academic years. This year she founded the scholarly-based social group “Martha Washington Salon.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Francis Rooney led two letters to the House Appropriations Committee, urging House appropriators to fully fund Everglades restoration and water quality infrastructure projects. Joining Rooney in sending the letters were Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Val Demings (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), W. Gregory Steube (R-FL), Ted S. Yoho (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
“The single biggest issue impacting our Southwest Florida community is water quality,” said Rooney. “Over the past two years, we have been successful in obtaining nearly $1.1 billion for repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades restoration. It is critical that we maintain these funding levels so that we may speed up the projects necessary to fix our water. Just last week, I was with President Trump at Lake Okeechobee receiving an update on these repairs and I stressed the importance of federal funding to fix our waters. Clean water is key to our economy and ecology in southwest Florida. I will continue working with my colleagues from Florida to fix our water quality.”
“For the third year in a row, President Trump’s budget has cut federal funding for Everglades restoration,” said Hastings. “So much of South Florida’s quality of life depends on the Everglades. More than 8 million Floridians rely on this national treasure for their water supply, and the sawgrass prairies and mangrove forests are home to numerous vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species. It is critical for the Florida Delegation to stand united against anything that slows down Everglades restoration. This is not some impossible problem that we cannot solve. We can solve it with bipartisan support and full funding from the federal government.”
“We in South Florida are speaking with one voice to tell the Trump Administration that the federal government needs to fulfill its commitment to our constituents by providing the necessary funding for Everglades restoration,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “There is bipartisan support to fully fund Army Corps of Engineers projects for the Everglades at $200 million, and if President Trump was being sincere when he visited Lake Okeechobee about protecting our water, our environment, and creating new jobs, he should fully fund Everglades restoration programs.”
“The federal government needs to step up with a strong funding commitment for infrastructure projects that are critical to Florida’s environment, economy and public health, especially now that Governor DeSantis has made state matching funds for these projects a top priority,” said Mast. “We also cannot allow misguided red tape and bureaucracy to stand in the way of Everglades restoration, which is why we are requesting a $150 million increase in funding for the environmental restoration construction account that has been used by the Army Corps to fund projects like the C-44 Reservoir and Kissimmee River restoration. This has bipartisan support and is absolutely critical to stopping harmful discharges, toxic algal blooms and the continued destruction of the Everglades.”
In honor of Women’s History Month, Congressman Mario Diaz- Balart (CD 25), recognized Priscilla W. Grannis, District 106 Secretary, from the floor of the US House of Representatives for her “inspiring life journey and determined work ethic [which] has had a major impact on those around her and the wider Southern Florida community.”
The Declaration is as Follows:
RECOGNIZING PRISCILLA W. GRANNIS IN HONOR OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
HON. MARIO DIAZ-BALART
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, in honor of Women’s History Month, I
rise today to recognize Priscilla Grannis, whose inspiring life journey
and determined work ethic has had a major impact on those around her
and the wider Southern Florida community.
Throughout her eventful life, Priscilla has proved that she is a
strongminded and driven person who has risen to match many challenges
in a multitude of areas. After receiving her undergraduate degree in
music from Florida State University and a Master’s of Music from Yale
University, she joined the Miami Opera and performed with them for two
seasons. She then furthered her music career by moving to Germany and
performed overseas. While in Germany, Priscilla joined Hewlett Packard
and became the Executive Assistant to the German CEO for a number of
Her sheer will to achieve has constantly been displayed in her
ability to adapt to any line of work. After moving back to Florida due
to the unexpected death of her father, she took over the management of
her family’s cattle farm despite having no prior knowledge or
experience in the industry. With her natural determination and
enthusiasm, Priscilla turned the farm into a largely successful
business centered on an ethical and responsible management style.
In the late 1980s, Priscilla made the decision to enroll in Miami’s
St. Thomas University’s law school, where she was a high-achieving
student and graduated with honors. She then became an attorney in
Naples and practiced law until retiring from the legal profession in
2014. Throughout her life, she has been heavily involved in politics
and remains active in public affairs today. Priscilla previously served
two years as the third Vice President of the Women’s Republican Club of
Naples Federated until being elected President of the Club, where she
honorably served for six years before becoming treasurer, a position
that she still holds today. Her dedicated involvement to the Women’s
Republican Club of Naples cannot be understated. Under her leadership,
the club grew from about seventy-five members to over two hundred.
Presently, Priscilla works for Florida House Representative Bob Rommel
as his District Secretary.
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to know Ms. Grannis and I greatly
admire her commitment to Southern Florida. Her natural motivation and
determination have allowed her to make an impact everywhere she goes
and I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing this outstanding
By Connie Ross
My father worked in a factory in the Midwest his entire career to provide for his family of seven.
My father believed in personal responsibility, God, and clear-cut law and order. He dearly loved his country, was pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, and for goodness sake do not get him started on the topic of taxes and entitlements.
Every Election Day he proudly went to his polling place with his union card in pocket and voted a straight Democratic ticket. Gosh, I loved that man, but I could never convince him he voted for leaders who did not represent his values.
I do not know why I never bought into his deep-seated belief that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but he did until the day he died. Without question he was steadfast in his politics despite the obvious conflict.
I wonder, with the current radical Democratic agenda, could I break the cycle that repeatedly led him to vote for a false narrative.
How would I get him to listen when he was seemingly hardwired with his blue-collar identity against voting Republican? How should I communicate with someone who is so close-minded that they refuse to engage in a logical conversation?
This is our challenge, not just with Democratic voters of my father’s generation, but with our children who are indoctrinated in school and immersed in liberal biased media.
Let’s start a POSITIVE & PRODUCTIVE conversation on “Breaking the Cycle and Changing Views.”