The original impetus for my weekend trip to PA was the annual dinner of the Washington County Republican Party held Friday night at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe. (I served as WCRP's executive director from November 2003 through February 2005.)
I attended along with a group of people who were active in my '06 State House race, including my old campaign manager, Tom Baker. (Don't forget to check out Tom's new book!)
We were especially keen to attend because Meryl Hatton, my '06 campaign committee chairwoman, was awarded the WCRP's Julie Uram Distinguished Republican Leader Award during the dinner. The Uram award is annually presented to a GOP leader who distinguishes himself or herself by supporting and fundraising for a specific GOP candidate from Washington County. Meryl is also third vice president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was first Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey, who is currently serving as chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County and as a leader for the McCain campaign in the Keystone State.
Always pitch perfect, Mr. Roddey eloquently saluted all those volunteers who work in the political process. He also told the story of how, last year, his 90-something mother caused him to be detained at the airport in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the suspicion that he was a kidnapper.
Here's a file photo of Mr. Roddey and his mother: