At the age of 95, her hair full of silver and her mind sharp with political strategy, Jeanne Tirpak of Wickenburg said she came to Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert on Monday to see one person and one person only.
“Sarah Palin,” she said.
And, with a notebook filled with many pages, Tirpak was hoping to find an aide of 5th District Congressional District Republican candidate Kirk Adams’ (who Palin was in town stumping for on the first day of the National Republican Convention) or one of Palin’s aides so Tirpak could pass on her plan to members of the GOP.
With a wink, Tirpak said, “I have a plan to get rid of a lot of Democrats, and I think it’ll work. We need to get back our Republican form of government and help people understand that Republicans are for free enterprise, democracy, different from a representative democracy and support the constitution. We’ve all had it up to here,” she said, putting her hand up to her neck.
Palin appeared on the stage to a swing dance band performing Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and spoke to a crowd of about 1,500 people on the restaurant’s property along Ray Road near Higley Road in the 100-degree plus heat. She later served barbecued pulled pork and chicken with Adams and his wife, JaNae, to a long snaking line.
Palin was quick to come out firing against President Obama and the current administration.
Adams is running against Matt Salmon, a Congressman from 1995 to 2001, and former governor candidate in Tuesday’s primary election. Adams, 35, who was one of the youngest speakers of the house in Arizona state history and also has received endorsements from U.S. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl and Congressman Ben Quayle, said before introducing Palin that he would continue to fight for free enterprise, to repeal Obamacare in exchange for more choices in personalized health care, advocate conservative spending and support the tightening of the U.S. borders.
“This election, folks, is not just about replacing the party that’s in power,” Palin said. “It’s about who and what we’ll replace it with … He’ll attack the festering problems facing our nation. Kirk Adams will fight for you.”
“Look at Kirk Adams’ six children,” Palin added. “He has skin in the game. He’ll fight for America; he’ll fight for our kids’ future.”
Palin also was quick to say that Adams did not lobby for Obamacare and that he’d fight to repeal it. “If we keep going in the direction we’re heading, we’re going to be a bankrupt nation and leave our children with a $16 trillion debt to pay off,” she said.
According to one of Adams’ aides, Palin skipped the first day of the Republican National Convention because she believed it was more important to continue the mission of the party by helping to get the next generation of Republicans elected to Congress.
She also said that she didn’t think that the hurricane conditions in Tampa that delayed the beginning of the convention would stifle the message or mission of the Republicans.
In Gilbert Monday, the heat was so stifling that many in attendance sought refuge under trees in lawn chairs.
Palin said that it was about 65 degrees cooler in Alaska on Monday morning compared to the 106-degree heat in the Valley. But people like Joshua St. Clair, 5, of Queen Creek, and Kathy McMartin of Gilbert, braved the heat anyway. They came to see Palin and eat cheese pizza from Joe’s Farm Grill.
McMartin, president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary at Wayne B. McMartin (her late husband) American Legion Post 91 in Chandler, said she arrived at Joe’s at 1:30 p.m., about two hours before Palin took the stage, so she could get a good spot.
“I wanted to see Sarah Palin back Kirk Adams,” McMartin said. “She gets the crowd fired up and enthusiastic. I support conservative ideas.”
Numerous people were wearing T-shirts that said, “O.M.G.: Obama Must Go.”
Palin had picked Joe’s Farm Grill for the stumping spot after she saw it featured on the Food Network Channel’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Adams’ campaign ordered food – chicken, sliders and beans -- for 500 people.
Many of Palin’s family, including her oldest daughter, Bristol, also were at the event on Monday.
Bristol Palin will return for another performance on “Dancing with the Stars,” which she said begins on Sept. 24 with Mark Ballas as her partner.
As people made their way through the line to get their barbecue, Theo Heap’s Red Mountain Blue Grass Band played music, including one of their standbys, “Orange Blossom Special.”
“I think it’s great,” Heap of Mesa said of his band playing at the event featuring Palin. “I was going to ask her if she was a little cold up there in Alaska and tell her I could bring a little bit of heat.”
And if asked, what would the Red Mountain Blue Grass Band play for Sarah?
“Whatever she wants,” Heap said.
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