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Gov. Abbott headlines Republican dinner in Burnet

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott visited Burnet County for the first time on March 10, speaking at the Reagan Dinner in Burnet. The event was hosted by the Burnet County Republican Party and held at Log Country Cove on Lake Buchanan. Photo by Mark Stracke

Gov. Greg Abbott made a debut appearance in Burnet County on March 10 as the keynote speaker at the first-ever Reagan Dinner, held by the Burnet County Republican Party at Log Country Cove. The event also featured speed painting by Paint Jam, an auction, and awards. 

“I thought it was a spectacular event,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley, who was one of many elected officials and candidates in attendance. “It was a very special evening that was a higher standard than we usually have in venue, entertainment, and dinner.”

The sold-out event of more than 200 attendees packed the venue, according to Kara Chasteen, chair of the Burnet County Republican Party. 

“We’ve been thinking about having this for a long time,” Chasteen said. “Most counties do one (Reagan dinner). Burnet is now growing to a point where we have enough support to put on such a big event.” 

Co-chairs Mark Axford and Trixie Bond proved to be flexible planners when trouble with the governor’s plane delayed his arrival. The VIP reception was moved until after the dinner, and awards were given out later than planned, but it was all handled smoothly, Chasteen said. 

The local Republican party handed out two volunteer awards, recognizing Precinct 4 Chair Bill Earnest of Spicewood and Precinct 12 Chair Susan Doyle of Bertram as Volunteers of the Year. Doyle is also the local party’s secretary.

The newly established Judge Dave Kithil Service Award was given to Precinct 2 County Commissioner Damon Beierle.

Chasteen said the dinner drew people from the Republican parties in Kimbell and San Jacinto counties. Oakley also made note of the visitors.

“I saw a lot of new faces in the crowd,” he said. “It was a great evening.” 

The governor appeared relaxed and comfortable, Oakley said. He spoke off the cuff, focusing many of his remarks on border security.

He also spoke about some of the bills approved by the 87th Texas Legislature and its three special sessions, including concealed carry.

“He fortified his commitment to a conservative platform moving forward to the general election,” Oakley said. 

“It was nice to have the governor here,” he continued. “You feel a bit more recognized on the map among larger urban areas. He gets to see firsthand what so many people around the nation or in Texas see as a destination, whether moving here for their profession or to retire.”