BY Mike Grant
---- — The continuing budget battle in Washington D.C. has led local republicans to cancel their Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner. U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana had been scheduled to be the featured speaker for the event. The Senate was supposed to be in recess this week, but Senate majority leader Harry Reid cancelled the break and called for the Senate to stay in Washington to deal with the budget fight and government shutdown. Senator Coats sent a letter to local party leaders on Friday explaining the cancellation.
"Because of the cancelled recess, I regret I will not be able to be with you at the Daviess County Republican dinner," said Coats. "Believe me, I would rather be back home in Indiana. Instead I will be in the other Washington D.C. working to repesent your voice in the United States Senate."
Senator Coats staff and Daviess County Republican Party Chairman Jan Schuler-Hicks attempted to come up with another speaker but was unable to find one. "Most of the state officials already had prior commitments this week," said Schuler-Hicks. "Let's face it. No one can replace Senator Coats."
The party is in the process of making refunds to those who purchased tickets, and is already planning to have Coats as the featured speaker for a spring Lincoln-Reagan Dinner. "This is very disappointing," said Schuler-Hicks. "It's the first time we have ever had to cancel the dinner, but with the debt ceiling and the budget it is important the senator stay in D.C. and take care of the people's business."
Political parties normally use events like the Lincoln Dinner to give candidates and potential candidates the chance to meet members and for leaders to rally the rank and file voters. "It's an off-year with no elections this fall," said Schuler-Hicks. "It's not a terrible thing. We're going to have it in the spring heading into the primary. Senator Coats will be there then and it will be great."