A crowd of about 75 gathered in the garden at Leoma Lovegrove's Gallery last Monday evening to hear Curt Clawson, candidate for Congress, speak.
Rod Ballart and his wife, Kay, arrived early for the event.
"I first learned about Curt Clawson back in Indiana," Rod Ballart said. "I was head football coach at East Central High School and my wife, Kay, was a guidance counselor at East Central. She also worked at Batesville. At that time Batesville was not that good in basketball but it so happens that when Curt joined the team, Batesville became a basketball powerhouse and it was just one person Curt - he could light up the scoreboard."
Clawson went on to Purdue University and sometimes introduces himself as "the former senior captain of the 1984 Purdue Boilermakers, the first basketball team under legendary coach Gene Keady to win the Big Ten Conference."
"But the thing about Curt," Ballart said, "is that all I ever heard was nice things about Curt and his family. We followed Curt during his high school days and also when he went to Purdue University. We just know he is a good person and that's why we are here to support him in his campaign."
Kathy Jones from the Lee County Patriots led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mike Silberg delivered the invocation and introduced his wife, Leoma Lovegrove.
"Thank you all for coming I am so happy to introduce Curt Clawson," she said. "I think we all have to choose our reasons for being here and who we choose to vote for. I am thrilled that we have Curt Clawson, a conservative, going to Congress for us. My heart is pro-life and along side the stage is a painting I did a few years ago and it says, 'Aren't you glad your parents were pro life.' I am here to support Curt Clawson because I believe he can go to Washington and he can save many, many lives."
Clawson related a story about his older brother, who is mentally challenged. "When I was growing up, I always wondered why God chose that I was born to win and my older brother was not," he said. "And why his life had to be so much more difficult than mine right out of the womb. And I think if my older brother was born 50 years later to different parents, would that pregnancy even have concluded and how much different my life would have been if I did not have my older brother who has had such struggles in life but has overcome them.
"There is an injustice to terminating pregnancies, or children in the womb because they don't have all the faculties that we do," he continued. "And so I want to start tonight by saying I am 100 percent pro-life, and my parents are that way, and their parents before them and there isn't anything in this world that would ever change my view of that.
"The attack ads on me that I wasn't pro-life because of some charity we had done in Asia it was very disturbing to me, and it was not honest or correct. I want to say here today that we are 100 percent pro-life because that's what God wants."
"I don't know how many of you know but a little bit after 4 o'clock today we received an endorsement from Sen. Rand Paul," Clawson said. "So I would say that given that we are doing a meet-and-greet here in the most beautiful spot since this campaign began and that Rand Paul has given us his endorsement which helps our constitutional conservative credentials, this is the best day so far in our campaign.
"I got into this race because I believe it's good for our country to have non-politicians in politics," he continued. "An outsider that has done some things in the private sector. That would be a good thing to get our country moving in a positive direction. And that there are not enough constitutional conservatives with a business background. I thought that I was in a good position to help my country because I am a religious conservative and I also understand global economics which is so important if we are going to compete globally as a country.
"I did not anticipate that this would be as painful as it has been. If I had known in January, when I made the decision to run, that this would be two Super-Pacs ganging up on us I might have made a different decision not because it bothers me but because it hurts my mother."
The Clawson campaign team provided a pamphlet explaining Clawson's "5% Economic Growth Plan." The plan outlines Clawson's economic plan "that will restore America's economy and provide families and businesses with real opportunities."
QUESTION: "Do you support the Second Amendment as it is written of 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?'
CLAWSON: "Yes, and I believe it is a right that existed before the Constitution. I believe this is a natural right."
QUESTION: "Do you believe in term limits for Congress?"
CLAWSON: "I think that there are two corrupting influences in our governmental system that trouble me the most. Number one is special interest money. I believe taking money from special interests influences votes. Number two is the lack of term limits. When you have people that make it about being a career politician - I don't think career politicians are good for America."
QUESTION: "Do you think it will cost you votes because you are with the Tea Party?"
CLAWSON: "This dilemma caught me by surprise. I think that a lot of the negativity towards the Tea Party has been created by the left but is factually untrue. I've been around the Tea Party a lot and I've never seen anything that is racist. The Tea Party is about the belief in God... check; belief in the Constitution... check; small government... check. That doesn't sound like a 'mob' to me. That sounds like the values we grew up with. Does everybody agree with that?"