• In Honor of Our Fallen Veterans - Those Who Gave the Last Full Measure

    Republican President Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most eloquent speeches in U.S. history at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg was the battle that turned the tide during the American Civil War. This three-day battle was among the bloodiest in American history. Lincoln’s words will forever resound throughout history as perhaps the greatest tribute to Americans who “gave the last full measure of devotion,” so that all people might live free. Reflect on the following words of our most noble president – words that apply just as much today to our fallen heroes as they did 159 years ago.

    Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live.

    It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

    The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

    It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

  • A Volunteer Important in My Life

    One of the saddest realizations in life for many people comes as they lose a certain childlike innocence, the kind that illustrates a never ending painting of a life open in its canvas and kaleidoscopic in its vibrance; receiving instead in later years a lackluster portrait constrained by time and colored with the dark shades of sully and sour. And yet even as the canvas of life wears thin and the color fades, there are those who leave marks upon the world as beautiful as any virtuoso's paintbrush. 

    Like any good artist, Karen is defined by her style; diligent, dutiful, honest, and thoughtful. It is with these techniques that she brings to life the most noble qualities of her church and helps rekindle the flames of faith within my heart. Through service, through kindness, through listening, through a shouldering of her burdens she exemplifies the sincerity of her faith and the spirit that sees those efforts through making it possible to, if not regain the wide-eyed innocence of youth, to come then that much closer to attaining it.

    For these reasons and more, Karen earns her place in my mind as an exemplar of good character and as an inspiration to draw closer to the faith that inspires such heart.

  • Kicking off our Volunteer Heroes Month

       This month the McLean County Republicans will present our third annual Everyday Hero Award at our Lincoln Reagan Dinner on April 29. A check for $500 will be presented to the charity of the award winner's choice. We are choosing to designate April as our Volunteer Hero Month and will have a series of posts focusing on those who make a difference in our community. 



    A few years ago I became aware of a fantastic group of volunteers who pickup food from ten local grocery stores six mornings each week.  The participating stores are Jewel, Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Kroger, and Fresh Thyme. At about 7:00 am, Monday through Saturday, a box truck leaves the local Midwest Food Bank Warehouse with volunteers ready to gather food from the following departments inside the stores: Bakery, Meat, Produce, Deli, Dairy as well as Non-Perishable food items. From the Bakery Departments, for example, they receive bread, decorated cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, donuts, bagels, rolls, coffee cake, and more.

    This group of twenty volunteers, take turns throughout the week picking up these items which are then made available to several local Food Pantries. Once they make their rounds to the grocery stores, they return to the warehouse at about 10:30 am to unload the food. They typically stop at these departments in each of the grocery stores two to three times each week.

    Approximately 60 Food Pantries in Bloomington Normal and surrounding towns are able to feed about158,000 people each month, due to these very generous food donations from these stores, as well as other resources.  

    Of the approximately 93 Food Pantries and Agencies in McLean County which benefit from these donations, here are a few which receive them monthly or weekly: Home Sweet Home Ministries, Hudson Christian Church Food Pantry, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Heyworth Christian Church, Center for Hope, St. Mary's Wesley United Methodist Church, Eastview Christian Church, Village of Downs Food Pantry, Apostolic Pentecostal Church, Heart of Hope House, Abundant Life Church, McLean Food Pantry, Calvary Baptist Church, LeRoy Christian Church, Lexington Community Church, Saybrook Christian Church, East White Oak Bible Church, Gridley Meals on Wheels, Danvers Community Food Pantry, and many others.

  • March 7 News Release



    DATE: March 7, 2022


    Connie Beard, Chairman

    McLean County Republicans

    Email: [email protected]

    Cell: (309) 824-9394


    As Republican candidates begin to file their petitions for the 2022 election cycle, Chair of the McLean County Republicans, Connie Beard gave an update to the GOP membership county wide.  “We have seen a ground swell of support from all corners over the last year for our local county Republican party. Not only have we experienced a paid membership growth of just over 30%, but we have also recruited new county board candidates, and an additional twenty-two precinct committeemen and committeewomen.”, reported Beard. A full report of candidates filing for all offices will be released after the final filing date of March 14.

    In addition to new members and volunteers, the party has received support from a political action committee comprised of business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the state, known as the Citizens Farmers PAC. They see McLean County as an important stand to take to push back against the one-party control of the state. With now 5 State House districts and 3 State Senate districts, McLean County is poised to influence a wide portion of central Illinois.

    “As we have grown and strengthened our structure, we are gaining recognition and financial support from conservative and liberty loving groups across the state that realize the local county party is the answer to making lasting change. This is a long-term journey to turn around Illinois and there is much work to do. Financial support for this effort is required and appreciate as we seek to build a broader coalition of support for our community and this state.

    Last election cycle in 2020 the local Democrat party and local candidates received over $100,000 in outside donations. “We know that Governor Pritzker will pour a lot of more money into the county Democrats to try once again to flip our county blue as was done in Champaign in 2018. That county is dealing with the fallout of that election with the lawsuits and criminal charges placed on Champaign County Democratic officials. The importance of looking at the quality of the candidate and not just the letter by their name is illustrated in these Champaign problems,” says Beard.

    As public polling shows President Biden’s approval rating continues to free fall, the McLean County Republicans see this as a harbinger of things to come. Beard stated, “We believe voters have become disillusioned with the policies of the Democratic party as they have witnessed the failure of our national economy and security. Democratic efforts on the local level to defund the police and develop social agenda issues are counter to the wishes of voters. We are a party of pro-safety, pro-economic growth, and pro-family ideas. You may see the local Democrats once again try to claim that high ground for their own but their actions once in office speak louder than slick campaign slogans.”

    The McLean County Republicans have a launched a full calendar of events with the March 12 Election Protection Seminar coming next. They are holding training workshops for School Board Candidates. Meanwhile, the 3rd Annual Everyday Hero Award has begun as area organizations are invited to nominate a volunteer to be selected for the award and earn $500 for their charity. This award will be presented at the annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner scheduled for April 29 at the Doubletree Hotel.

  • McLean GOP Hosts Petition Party and Candidate Training

    Wednesday, February 23, was a busy but successful day for the McLean County Republicans. The McLean County GOP hosted a petition signing party where people came and went signing petitions for candidates they support and circulators were able to get their petitions notarized. Dennis Tipsord and Mike Kirkton, candidates for the 105th District, were there, as was Jim Fisher, candidate for the 91st. County Board Member Jim Soeldner was there too!

    That event was followed by the third orientation class we have offered on Election Judges and Poll Watchers. The volunteer list for those two roles is growing.

    On Wednesday, March 2, the McLean County GOP hosted part two of its School Board Candidate Training. These workshops help individuals learn about what it takes to run for office as a school board candidate.

    Anyone can choose to run for office. These are not "required" workshops, but knowledge is power and if someone is interested in running a successful school board race then this is where they can start.

  • 2022 Valentine Gala Success Story


    Our Valentine Gala was a great success on Saturday Feb. 5 as we gathered for an evening of good food, good company, and good fun. Despite the big snowstorm that came earlier in the week by Saturday the roads were clear and sky sunny as we opened the doors at The Hesed House Venue just northeast of Heyworth.  The beautiful new banquet hall was perfect setting for the over 120 people that came. We enjoyed a buffet from Mission Barbeque and a great coffee bar provided.  We had door prizes and a fun couple’s competition with our Celebrity Newlywed Game. Table sponsors for the event included Chairman Connie Beard, 105th State House Candidate Don Rients and 11th Judicial Court Judge candidate Don Knapp.

    101st State House Representative Candidate Dan Caulkins with his wife Jo Caulkins were part of the good people that made up the contestants for the “Newlywed Game”. Dan currently serves the 88th District but the new maps now have him in the 101st which includes a larger part of McLean County than before.  Joining the Caulkins for the fun were State Attorney Don Knapp and his wife Jennifer.  Don is running for the spot on the judge’s bench for the 11th Circuit Court.   105th State House Candidate Mike Kirkton and his wife Janet were good sport contestants as well.  Mike hails from Gridley. Desi and Nick Anderson were also game contestants. They are the owners of The Hesed House Venue. Desi Anderson announced at the gala that she was running for the 46th State Senate. County Sheriff candidate Matt Lane and his wife Mandy were the winners of the night with a gift certificate from The Hesed House Venue.  Cities 92.9 talk show host and YouTube Favorite “Modern Renessiasance Man” Ty Smith served as MC for the game.

    With Candidates for Governor, State Senate and House and County offices present there was some good networking taking place.  Of course, petitions for various candidates were circulated.  In attendance were Gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine and his running mate Aaron Del Mar. Also attending were Judge Carla Barnes who is also running for retention on the 11th Circuit Court.

    Candidate for the 105th State House Donald Rients; 87th State House Candidate Mary Burress; 91st State House Candidate Jim Fisher were present. County Treasurer Rebecca McNeil along with County Board Members, George Wendt and Bill Friedrich were busy circulating petitions. Deb Skillrud, Bloomington Township Supervisor was also present.

    The delicious food from Mission Barbeque was matched by the wonderful banquet room at the Hesed House Venue.. Despite the snow and cold, laughter and people connecting were the highlights of the evening.


  • McLean County Republicans Creating Candidate Questionnaire

    McLean County Republicans have created a Candidate Assessment and Accountability Review Committee (CAAR). The Committee is seeking public input into a questionnaire that will be provided to prospective and incumbent candidates for local office. The first round of questionnaires will be aimed at County Board, County Wide, State Representative and State Senator candidates. 

    The survey will include questions dealing with general principles applicable to the office and specific values. Results from the questionnaire will be used to determine the degree of support that will be provided as well as to evaluate an office holder’s performance while serving in office. 

    The Committee is asking the voters to submit questions they want answered in regard to specific offices.  Submission of questions should be made by Monday, February 28, 2022. The link for submitting questions is

    McLean County Republicans believe the Committee will help to clarify voting decisions by elected officials and strengthen the communication between voters and elected officials.  They view it as a step forward in lifting the voice of the voters in McLean County.

  • Judiciary Event a Success


    The McLean County Republicans hosted "Weighing in on the Judiciary" at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington on Saturday, January 15. The breakfast event brought a large crowd together to hear 11th Circuit Court Judge Carla Barnes, McLean County State Attorney Don Knapp, and Associate Judge Amy McFarland discuss issues relating to the judicial branch and the upcoming judicial elections.

    Judge Barnes is seeking to retain her seat on the 11th Circuit Court while Judge McFarland and State's Attorney Knapp are seeking election to an open seat on the 11th Circuit.

    During the event, Judge Barnes discussed her experiences with attempting to reach out to at-risk youth, including through programs that introduced them to local police officers and allowed them to have meaningful, positive interactions with law enforcement. State's Attorney Knapp discussed the efforts to keep the community safe and how measures like the SAFE-T Act passed by the General Assembly threaten that safety. He presented statistics showing how far Bloomington-Normal is above other major Central Illinois cities in terms of safety. Judge McFarland spoke on her experiences with the Mental Health Court and how various programs like this help rehabilitate certain offenders with great success.

    Additionally, topics such as the election process for judges in Illinois were discussed and questions were taken from the audience.

    The McLean County Republicans look forward to many more successful events this year, including the Valentine Gala in February and the Election Protection Seminar in March.