County joins in national rally
LISBON — Shouts and signs in support of President Donald Trump were the only ones heard and seen during a rally in Lisbon on Saturday.
The “Spirit of America” event sponsored by the Columbiana County Republican Party drew a large crowd of supporters to the town gazebo, and apparently no opponents of the polarizing president.
Similar events were held in other areas of the nation to generate support for the president and his agenda and to unify his supporters.
Anita Frazer, campaign organizer for the county GOP, had anticipated a pushback from opponents in light of the fact that protestors have been making stops at town hall events hosted by Republican congressmen, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) was the featured speaker for the event.
Although opponents were not present, that didn’t stop Johnson from sending a message to them anyway.
“I have a message for the whiners: For eight years you had your chance, and now we’ve got ours,” he said.
Johnson said the country should enforce the laws of the land, and he noted that there is a difference between healthcare coverage and access to affordable healthcare.
He also said that it makes sense to put money behind national security.
He went on to say that he personally spoke to Trump about the bill he sponsored that would keep coal miners out of the unemployment line, which is what he said would happen under the Stream Protection Rule favored by the Obama administration.
The rule aimed to keep coal mining debris from surface mining away from the nation’s waterways. The bill sponsored by Johnson sought to reverse the rule. It passed the Senate by a 54 to 45 vote in early February and was recently signed by Trump.
A Bloomberg report from early February said the move makes Trump the first president in 16 years to sign a regulatory repeal resolution.
“There are a lot of people that don’t agree with President Trump. We do,” Johnson said.
He also acknowledged that the 6th Congressional District, of which he serves, was reported in the Washington Post a few weeks ago as being the top Trump performing district in the nation.
According to the Feb. 3 Post article, the 6th District shifted pro-Trump by just over 30 percent in the election, making it the biggest pro-Republican shift in the country during the 2016 election.
“What can you and I do to push back against this headwind? We stand up. We can stand, and if we stand together, America wins,” he said.
He also pointed out that during Trump’s first 30 days in office, the national deficit was reduced by $12 billion, a stark contrast to the $30 million increase seen in the early days of Obama’s presidency.
Johnson also praised Trump for recognizing Carryn Owens, whose husband Navy SEALs Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens, was killed during a raid which was authorized by Trump in January.
Johnson said he was seated not far from Mrs. Owens during the recognition and could “feel the anguish she was feeling.” He then called out those who did not stand in honor of Owens or her husband, including U.S. representatives Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and Keith Ellison.
The comment generated repeated shouts of “Shame!” from the gathered crowd.
Others who spoke during the event were county resident Sal Salvino, whose parents immigrated from Italy before he was born.
He said they had to work hard for their citizenship, of which they were very proud.
“My father said never to expect anything from anyone. Go get it,” he said.
He also said he does not agree with Obama’s idea that America needs a fundamental transformation. “We need to keep fighting for President Trump. The mainstream media will continue to fight for their agendas. We need to fight harder and smarter,” he said.
Retired Marine colonel and Salem resident Brian Kennedy said Americans need to defend the Constitution and make patriotism more than a feeling, but an action.
“Our founding fathers said it best. It is not our job to stand back and interpret what that Constitution should say. We are supposed to put God first and each other first. Do not be afraid to speak the truth even when it is not popular to speak the truth,” he said.
Local Youngstown State University student and Chairman of the Young Republicans Club Noah Sturgeon said that Trump’s win in the 2016 election made him feel renewed, “…like my voice was heard and my country is strong.”
“We need to build a strong foundation and keep our country the greatest country in the world,” Sturgeon said.
Pastor Frank Amedia of the Touch Heaven Church in Canfield also spoke, and said America is “waking up” and that winds of revival are flowing “like never before.”
Amedia also serves on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board and said he and other supporters will continue to stand up for marriage between a man and a woman and for the rights of the unborn. He said everyone should get behind the heartbeat bill, which prohibits abortions after a heartbeat can be detected.
“Donald Trump is my president. He is your president, and he is the president of the United States,” Rep. Johnson told the roughly 100-plus crowd.