BUCKHANNON — The first month of 2019 was a month of change and new beginnings for the Central West Virginia Republican Women (CWVRW). First Vice-President LeVera Gillum was asked to fill the unexpired term of President for the year, which was the beginning of the new year and club transformation.
Gillum reported that her goals were to grow the club membership and revise the CWVRW Bylaws, bringing them into compliance with West Virginia Federation of Republican Women (WVFRW) and National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) as they hadn’t been reviewed since 2007. Under Gillum’s leadership, the club membership did increase to 50 total members.
Gillum was installed as President of Central West Virginia Republican Women by West Virginia Federation of Republican Women (WVFRW) President Anne Hildebrand in February. President Hildebrand was also the featured speaker at the February meeting.
Gillum’s first official event was attending the West Virginia Republican Women’s Day at the legislature. Gillum indicated, “I enjoyed getting to know the leaders and members of the other eight clubs, as well as the WFRW Officers and Members. I also enjoyed hearing from many elected officials during the WVFRW meeting.”
During the regular March meeting, Delegate Robbie Martin gave a report on the Legislative Session, and Cristin Dusenbury spoke on “State of the Union from a Citizen’s View.” In April, Lala Mooney, mother of Congressman Alex Mooney, was the featured speaker for the CWVRW. Mooney spoke on “The Devastating Effects Communism has had on the Country of Cuba.” Gillum commented, “Wow, what a lovely lady and a wonderful speaker.”
Members of CWVRW served birthday cake in observance of West Virginia Day at the Upshur County Courthouse Annex in cooperation with the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee in June. At the regular June meeting, Little Miss West Virginia United States Channing Gillum was the featured speaker and led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance. Little Miss WV read the National Federation of Republican Women’s book, “Little Miss Patriot” and sang a song for the club.
West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Melody Potter was the featured speaker for the club meeting in July. Potter gave updates on the Republican Party. Gillum said, “Potter has a wealth of knowledge of the Republican Party and she answered member’s questions.” Soloist and Associate Pastor of Christ’s Church Brenda Wyatt provided entertainment for the members.
Republican Gubernatorial candidates Governor Jim Justice, Michael Folk and Woody Thrasher were invited to participate in a candidate forum in August, which took the place of the regular scheduled meeting. Governor Justice did not attend but sent staff member Summer Ratcliff. Mayor David McCauley welcomed the guests to the City of Buckhannon and Senator Bill Hamilton greeted the group and thanked the candidates for participating in the forum. Caiden Cowger served as Moderator and asked each candidate questions submitted by members and guests.
At the regular September meeting, Representative Dot Underwood and Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith presented an educational seminar and training on voter registration in observance of National Voter Registration Month. After receiving the appropriate training, members of the CWVRW held a voter registration drive at the Upshur County Public Library in observance of National Voter Registration Day.
On October 15, CWVRW were invited to attend Governor Jim Justice’s Town Hall Meeting and Dinner at the Bridgeport Conference Center. “It was such an honor to be asked to attend and help with the guest registration of this meeting,” Gillum stated. “I was also asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and give a welcome to the group from Central West Virginia Republican Women which was a great honor.”
Gillum proclaimed, “We have had a very successful year. We have had fun. We have had great speakers and good participation in all of our events.” She added, “I give all of the credit for our successful year to the members and associate members.” Gillum continued, “I want to thank Frank and Judy Fato for donating flags, signs and other décor, for use at meetings, rallies and marches. Judy Fato served as Membership Chair and signed up many of the 50 members.”
In conclusion, Gillum said, “I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and family that have supported me all year. A big thanks to my husband Keith for helping set up and take down at every meeting. I am thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve as CWVRW president.”