The Women Of The GOP Central Committee
It’s April. While our attention focuses on things we love about this month — warmer weather, Easter, my birthday — we’re not so far into it that we can’t reflect on last month, when we commemorated the vital contributions of women in American history.
A noble and necessary observance, Women’s History Month, one could argue, has two flaws. First, women’s history should be celebrated year-round, not just in March. Secondly, in our effort to honor great women throughout history, we sometimes overlook the women making positive differences in our communities today.
On the Republican State Central Committee, there are five women committed to not only making the GOP the party of choice for economic growth and opportunity in Anne Arundel County, but also to enriching the lives of those around them. While each of these women deserves a biography, here’s a snapshot of their lives, their politics, women they admire and advice they would offer their 18-year-old self.
Katherine Butcher, District 21
Katherine (Kathy) lives in Gambrills, just over the District 33/21 line. She has a 25-year-old son and a daughter who’s 23. Kathy worked as clinical laboratory scientist with a specialist certification in Blood Bank at North Arundel Hospital and the Red Cross before becoming a stay-at-home mom. There, she homeschooled her children, a tough but rewarding job and one that made her family stronger.
Kathy got involved with the GOP in 2012 when she volunteered on Faith Loudon's congressional campaign. As part of the Republican State Central Committee, she spends hours knocking on doors to register voters and helping to plan events such as the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner. Outside of politics, she serves at her church and belongs to a quilting club through the O'Malley Senior Center in Odenton.
The woman Kathy most admires is her mother, who was a Rosie the Riveter during World War II and made bombs as a welder in Ravenna, Ohio. Looking back, Kathy would advise her younger self to be comfortable in her own skin, to be confident, and “don’t try to make everyone to like you.”
Faith Loudon, District 31
Faith has been active in the Republican Party in many different ways since 1960. Currently, she is the grassroots chairman for the Maryland GOP and is on the board of the North County Republican Club. During the 2016 elections, Faith worked tirelessly to organize 195 voting precincts in the county. A candidate for Congress in 2012, Faith reveres Congresswoman Marjorie Holt, who was a staunch advocate for fiscal conservatism and smaller government.
Faith is a devout Christian, teaching Sunday school to middle and high school girls. She offers to them the same wisdom she would offer herself as a teenager: work hard, get an education and make Jesus Lord of your life. Motherhood, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering as a Cub Scout Den mother were the jobs Faith considered most satisfying. A Pasadena resident, she has three children and seven grandchildren — all of whom are Republicans.
Susan McConkey, District 33
Like Faith, Susan is great admirer of Representative Holt and has been plugged into the GOP for decades. She remembers being acutely interested in President Reagan's swearing-in when she was in kindergarten. Years later, she registered friends to vote as Republicans while attending Severna Park High School.
Susan was also involved in the College Republicans at the University of Maryland and volunteered for then-Representative Ehrlich's campaign in 1996. After college, she worked for Representative Wayne Gilchrest for 10 years. Susan served as the vice chair of the central committee from 2014 to 2016 and has been a member of various GOP clubs over the past 20 years.
A resident of Severna Park, Susan and her husband, Delegate Tony McConkey, have three children. She currently works as an IT specialist, but no job has been more fulfilling – or scarier – to her than being a mom. An active member of St. John church, Susan also volunteers with the Maryland Student Legislature, an educational nonprofit.
Anne Rutherford, District 33
Also a longtime Severna Park resident, Anne has four children ages 14 to 36. Prior to becoming a full-time mom for 22 years, Anne was a secretary, but she insists that raising self-sustaining children is her most gratifying achievement.
Anne became a Republican in the late 1980s after being “frequently frustrated” by Democrats. Helping to create and host events that educate and entertain GOP constituents is what she values most about serving on the central committee. She’s also been a member of the Severna Park Republican Women’s Club since 2004.
In her free time, Anne travels and hangs out with her children. She has tremendous admiration for the women who protested for the right to vote knowing the abuse they received, Martha Washington for supporting her husband in such a trying time, and her mom for showing her the ropes of motherhood. If she could travel back in time, she would counsel herself to be more engaged in the process going on around her.
Michele Speakman, District 32
Michele was living in Illinois when she had a political awakening while listening to the Mancow Muller show. Upon moving to Glen Burnie, she dove into local Republican clubs and events, including the central committee, which she was appointed to in 2016.
A mother of six children, including three stepchildren, Michele was a homemaker prior to becoming an administrative assistant at the MTA. One of the best jobs she had, however, was working for Governor Larry Hogan’s campaign and transition teams. There, she got to work with longtime Republican activist Katja Bullock, whose strength and wisdom she’s come to admire.
Outside of politics, Michele is involved with her kids' sports and school activities. She would advise her younger self to not rely on social media to keep memories. Instead, go to portrait studios, buy every school picture and keep your walls covered with them.