Friday, June 23, 2017

Local member one of five women elevated to state party leadership

The Ohio Federation of Republican Women (OFRW), the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) and the Preble County Republican Women’s Club (PCRWC) can proudly celebrate the elevation of members to the top leadership team of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP). In this historic event, five Federation members, including Stephanie Garrett, a PCRWC member, became part of the all female leadership team for the ORP. Garrett serves the southern part of Darke County as Committeewoman on the Ohio Republican State Central Committee for the 5th Ohio Senate District. This provides an opportunity for the Federation to raise its profile, increase its membership, and provide can-do Republican leadership for the state of Ohio and for our local Ohio communities.

New members of the ORP leadership are Chairman Jane Timken (Stark County), Vice-chairman Mary Anne Christie (Hamilton County), Secretary Marilyn Ashcraft (Washington County), Treasurer Tracey Winbush (Mahoning County) and Assistant Treasurer Stephanie Garrett (Preble County).

Jane Timken, the newly-elected Chairman, lives in northeastern Stark County, where she is a member of the Westark Republican Women’s Club. Timken has served as Vice-chairman of the County Republican Party and as a State GOP Central Committee member. Her activities with the Party have included fundraising, volunteer engagement, and recruiting and assisting candidates. She was a delegate to the 40th Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Timken has been involved in community service all of her adult life. She has served on the boards of a number of civic and charitable organizations, focusing on health and human services, education, legal assistance, and the arts. She was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Kent State University for nine years. Timken excelled academically, graduating Cum Laude from Harvard and Summa Cum Laude from the American University College of Law.

Her goals as Chair of the Ohio Republican Party include growing the GOP and maintaining the historic Republican majority in Ohio; marshalling financial and other resources to win new Republican voters; and providing the services that candidates need to succeed in their campaigns. She views unifying the Party as a major objective.

To Timken, the OFRW/NFRW is vitally important as a means of keeping women engaged and active. Women in local clubs strengthen their political effectiveness and also “counter the mainstream media narrative” that paints a negative and unflattering picture of Republicans. Timken likes to quote Margaret Thatcher, who said “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

Mary Anne Christie, the newly elected Vice-chairman of the ORP, is a resident of Hamilton County where she is a member of the Hamilton County Republican Women’s Club. Christie became involved in Republican politics when she founded the Kenwood Woman’s Club to counter the attempts of developers to alter the residential character of her neighborhood. She went on to win a seat on Madeira City Council, then was elected Vice-Mayor and Mayor. She served as an Administrative Judge on the Ohio Industrial Commission Board of Revisions; president of the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana Regional Council of Government; Vice-chairman of the Ohio Board of Housing. She has been recognized for her community service in the fields of mental health and for her dedication to volunteer service.

Christie has held a number of leadership positions in the Ohio Federation over the years, including the office of president. She has served for years on the National Federation board of directors, seeing this as a way to network with like-minded women across the U.S. She has wanted to help educate members, share ideas, and promote the policies and principles of the Republican Party by her Federation activities.

Through her leadership role in the Ohio Republican Party, Christie will work with the State Central Committee members, to help strengthen the Committee and encourage and support them in increasing collaboration with County leaders. Christie remarked that the 2016 presidential election demonstrated that people are demanding a new direction, highlighting the need for the Party to work in a more united fashion and to build better communication with and responsiveness between the electorate and elected officials.

Marilyn Ashcraft, the newly elected Secretary of the ORP, lives in Washington County and is a member of the Washington County Republican Women’s Club. Ashcraft has served in that position several times over the years. Her commitment to service has been evident since she was a teenager, when she had a leadership role in 4-H.

“I always wanted to do all I could in whatever organization I belonged to.” Stated Ashcraft.

She worked as a nurse and was president of the Ohio Osteopathic Auxiliary. She grew increasingly interested and involved in politics, and chaired the Washington County GOP for 16 years. Ashcraft was the Southeast Regional Representative for State Treasurer Jeannette Bradley; she worked for Mary Taylor both when she was Auditor and Lt. Governor; and she was Regional Chair for the George W. Bush campaign. She has served on the State Central Committee for thirteen years.

Ashcraft credits the Federation with being an effective link between the people and the State and National Republican Parties. She believes that the Federated clubs are most effective in communicating the Republican message and showing by example the rewarding and positive nature of Republican principles and policies.

Her main focus in her role on the ORP leadership team is, and has always been, promoting good communication and unity. Ashcraft likes to connect with people and encourage them to be recognized and have a chance to express their thoughts. Her father impressed her by telling her, “Everybody has a vote; don’t you ever forget it!” She believes that everyone has something to share “even if it’s only a smile.”

Tracey Winbush, the newly elected Treasurer of the ORP, lives in Mahoning County and is a member of the Canfield Republican Women’s Club. She did not consider herself to be “political” during her young years. She grew up in a family that voted for Democrats but had conservative and religious values. Moving to Southern California after High School looking for greater opportunities she found that area of the country to be way too liberal for her taste. After moving back to Ohio she became politically active and aligned herself with the Republican Party and was persuaded to run for the Youngstown Board of Education as a Board Member. Recruited by Republicans in a Democrat-leaning county, she was impressed by their commitment to clean government. She chaired the Finance Committee for the School Board, then sought and has run for other political offices in the Mahoning County area. Winbush served as Treasurer of the County GOP, then was encouraged to run for the State Central Committee, for which she became Asst. Treasurer and now Treasurer. She said that she is a determined campaigner: “I run to win!” Besides service in elective office, Winbush has worked on the 2004 Bush campaign and the 2016 Trump campaign as County chair; and she was part of the NRC Platform Committee in 2016.

Winbush has been involved with several Federated clubs, and she said that she has learned much from them. She believes that the clubs serve as the best platform for women to learn about politics and government, to gain experience, and to move up. “Anytime you have a great coalition of people you can’t help but advance…women make things happen.”

In her work at ORP headquarters, Winbush holds three watchwords in mind for the Party: “unified, diverse, and strong.” She wants to help show the world that the Republican Party is diverse and welcoming to people from all walks of life, and that Republican principles can meet the needs of all Americans. She emphasized the importance of listening—to learn what people actually think, rather than acting on their assumptions or on what they are told by media sources.

Stephanie Garrett, newly elected Assistant Treasurer, lives in Preble County where she is a member of the Preble County Women’s Republican Club. She grew up in Lexington, KY, daughter of “Southern Democrats” and every Sunday the family went to a restaurant after church, where her father and his friends would talk politics. Her father’s best friend was a Republican, and his views broadened the perspectives of Garrett and her parents. She became politically active when she was homeschooling and she realized that her children would not be civically involved unless she influenced them by her example. She began as a poll worker, then became involved in the George W. Bush campaign, and every campaign since then. She has been involved with the Preble County GOP and as chair of the County Central Committee, and serves on the State Central Committee.

Garrett values the OFRW/NFRW as an important way for women to be informed and involved. She agrees that women are the “movers and shakers” and remarked that women were at the root of President Trump’s grassroots push.

Her greatest hope for her service in the Ohio Republican Party is that she can help to bring unity to the Party. She remarked that she believes that Republicans are united by a love of country and the ideals of the Founding Fathers. She likened some of the intraparty conflicts to “family fights” and believes that keeping focused on unifying Republican principles is the priority.

Founded in 1938, the NFRW (www.nfrw.org) proudly represents the party that first made it possible for women to vote in the U.S. Today, the NFRW works to increase the effectiveness and relevance of women in the cause of good government. Our mission remains to recruit and elect Republican candidates, promote the principles of the Republican Party, educate the public and inform the media.

The OFRW, founded in 1929, is a statewide organization of hundreds of members in constituent clubs. It is the largest, most powerful political organization in Ohio providing the avenue for women to influence policy, develop candidates, and elect the leaders of Ohio. The OFRW is a multi-generational, multi-cultural organization providing the structure and support for political activists to learn, engage, and flourish. It is Federated under the National Federation of Republican Women. For more information regarding the OFRW, visit www.ohfrw.com.

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