Saturday, April 12, 2008


Madison County Republican Women held their first official meeting on September 15, 1998. The formation of the club was partly a response to members of the Madison County Republican Committee who expressed a need for events to bring Republicans in the community together. The Republican Women who have guided and sustained MCRW in the ensuing ten years have achieved this goal and much more.

The 1998 officers were: President - Nancy Sharman, Vice President - Martha Dudley, Secretary - Darlene Taylor, and Treasurer - Millie Reid. During the first years, they held business meetings at a local restaurant. However, when the business meeting was separated from the membership meeting, membership really took off. The membership meeting location was moved to a church meeting hall and the format was changed to monthly dinner meetings with guest speakers.

Through the years, guest speakers have included: Congressman Eric Cantor, Lt. Governor John Hager, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, National Republican Committeeman Morton Blackwell, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William H. Howell, Delegate Dick Black, Delegate George Broman, Delegate John Cosgrove, Delegate Jeff Frederick, Delegate Ed Scott, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Kate Obenshain, Marriage Amendment advocate Steve Baril, late Civil Rights leader Dr. E. Franklin Warner, former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Publisher and author Al Regnery, and many other notable authorities.

The club has initiated numerous events to raise funds and promote Republican candidates and patriotic causes, including: a Candidate Forum; candidate luncheons; a Support Our Troops rally; Spring and Fall Fashion Shows; an annual Chili Festival; a Christmas Tour of the White House; co-sponsoring the annual GOP BBQ; and Spring and Fall Lawn Sales. The club has an annual entry in the county parade and ends the year with a popular Christmas Open House.

MCRW has raised money to support local organizations as well, including, a local playground in need of equipment and a Benefit Tea for the Madison Free Clinic, to name a few. The club regularly gives book donations to schools and the library and established a school essay contest which has grown into a $1,000 Scholarship.

The club uses funds raised from dinners, the sale of Christmas ornaments and other fund raising activities to produce a monthly newsletter, The Blue Ridge Messenger, to promote the principles of the Republican Party. The newsletter has a circulation of about 200. It goes out to club members, elected officials, local libraries, and Republicans state-wide. Recently, this blog was started to compliment the newsletter with timely posts and updates.

As the club celebrates its 10th Anniversary year, MCRW members can look back on many accomplishments which have firmly established the club in Madison County as a positive voice to promote Republican principles. The current Executive Officers, President Sue Riley, 1st Vice President Anne Farmer, 2nd Vice President Kay Heflin, Recording Secretary Mary Anne Walthall, Corresponding Secretary Erline Arthur, and Treasurer Ginny Pegelow, plan to carry on MCRW's tradition of political education and activism.