Frank Aquila has packed Chez Shari before.
The founder of the South San Joaquin Republicans – who holds meetings several times a year – has seen large crowds come out for candidates nights, speaking engagements and just general political interest ever since he laid the groundwork for what has become a grassroots political organization.
But on Sept. 4 when he welcomes Congressman Jeff Denham as well as Congressional hopeful Ricky Gill and Republican Senate nominee Elizabeth Emken – who beat out a field of nearly 20 others statewide in June to get onto the November ballot – he’s anticipating that there won’t be an empty chair in the house.
“I think that any one of these three people could carry a meeting by themselves, so to have them all together at the same time is amazing,” said Aquila. “We have a sitting Congressman coming and Ricky Gill who is a rising star in the Republican Party.
“It’ll be great to see Elizabeth (Emken) again – she challenged Jerry McNerney when he ran two years ago. It’s good to see her running against somebody like Diane Feinstein who has such name recognition in politics, and it’ll be great to hear where she stands on a lot of the key issues.”
And one announcement expected by a representative from the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign staff, Aquila believes, will fire up the base and give people something to look forward to inside of the next two weeks.
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, he says, is scheduled to make a campaign fundraiser swing through the Central Valley in early September – giving local residents the chance to once again see a major party player up close and personal right in their own backyard.
President George W. Bush made a visit to Stockton during his first term to stump for gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, and Presidential candidate John McCain swung through in 2008.
But creating something that gives people the opportunity to get familiar with politics and what they can expect in the upcoming election, Aquila says, is exactly what he was hoping to achieve.
“The political process can be intimidating for people who aren’t familiar with the structure or what it is that they have to do to get the information that they need,” he said. “You have the Central Committee but that’s mostly business, and other times people just don’t want to stand up there and say that they don’t know how to get the info that they’re looking for.
“This gives them a chance to get involved in the political process. In a lot of countries people don’t have this opportunity and it’s something that we should cherish.”
Those interested in more information can contact Aquila at (209) 825-0123 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. (a meet-and-greet starts at 6 p.m.) will be held at Chez Shari – located at 305 N. Union Road at the Manteca Park Golf Course.