Trumbull GOP Women thank local voters

Jack Canzonetta and Judie Shortreed thanked Trumbull County voters Saturday in Cortland for helping to elect Donald Trump. Many drivers at the intersection honked with support.

CORTLAND — Voters in Trumbull County hadn’t given Republicans much reason to celebrate over the last few decades — until they helped elect the GOP’s Donald Trump to the presidency Tuesday.

Members of the Trumbull County Republican Women’s Club said they wanted to show their gratitude to voters and celebrate the win Saturday, and so selected Top Notch Diner at the busy corner of state Routes 46 and 5 in Cortland.

“We worked so hard, we were out there so much, and we won, we did it!” said Mary Theis of Warren

Top Notch Diner led some of the social media conversation in the Valley during the campaign, when the restaurant’s owners hung a large “Trump” sign between two bucket trucks.

In the midst of the online controversy — many supported the move while others condemned the diner for mixing politics and business — the club held a meeting there to stand up for Gary Frederick and the two daughters to whom he recently handed over the restaurant.

During both meetings, the group held signs supporting Trump outside, garnering heartening “honks” and collecting a few angry shouts.

About 20 members went to discuss their elation — not only for Trump’s election, but his support in the county — where he won 51 percent of the presidential votes, according to incomplete and unofficial results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

About 68 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in Trumbull County, lower than the 73 percent who turned out for President Barack Obama in 2008, but the same amount who turned out for him in 2012.

The women said they weren’t there to gloat, and Frederick said he took down the sign a few days after the election.

Many of the women said they want Trump to concentrate on reworking “Obama care,” on an infrastructure and jobs bill and securing the border. The group was somewhat divided on whether the infamous border wall should be built. Theis said she supported a more figurative barrier, while others said they would like to see a wall go up.

Holding a sign thanking Trumbull County, Shortreed said she wants to give her friends and family who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton some space to mourn, because if Trump had lost she would have needed it.

“None of us live in a bubble, we have friends on the other side, friends I tried to bring to my side during the campaign. But now that it is over, I want to be respectful and give them some space,” Shortreed said. “And when we reconnect, I am not going to talk about politics, I am not going to rub it in their face.”

This cycle was personal, many of the women said. Shortreed of Cortland said she was more involved than she has ever been — she volunteered at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, saw Trump numerous times, worked at her polling station, was active in the club and devoted time to other endeavors in support of his election.

So, she said understands how the loss could be devastating to Democrats hoping to elect the first woman to head the country.

Lauren Canzonetta, president of the newly reactivated conservative club at Youngstown State University, where she is a senior political science major, was at the gathering and selling Trump t-shirts to raise money for the club.

The election was a chance for her to connect with students and explain conservatism, Canzonetta said.

“Many people only know about the social issues, I wanted to reach out and show them the conservative platform is way more dynamic than that,” Canzonetta said. “We elected Trump because of his conservative policies, because of the freedoms we believe in, not to take away rights from anyone else. That is what conservative millennials are about, a solid economic plan for our future.”

Theis said she would have liked to see some local Republican candidates ride the “Trump train” to victory, but said she is pleased the results show that people aren’t just voting down party lines.

She said she understands the protests that are rocking several major U.S. cities, and can tolerate the free expression, but flag burning and violence are intolerable.

In order to unite, the people have to respect one another and move forward, Theis said.

“We don’t need anymore disrupts and arguing, we need to come together, work together and harness all of this energy to get this country where it needs to be,” Theis said.

When people disagree, we need to be able to sit down, look each other in the eye and negotiate for peace, said Theis, who added that she knows from the real estate business what a key skill negotiation is and is confident Trump has it.