Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pantano for Congress has rousing grand opening event for 2012 campaign office.

By Verne Strickland / August 14, 2011

It was a celebration.

Over 300 patriots assembling for a common cause – to take back America.

The key to that, these conservatives believe, is the election of Wilmington’s Ilario Pantano to the U.S. Congress in 2012.

Ilario Pantano is already in the big game – an impressive candidate gunning for a Republican primary win in 2012 for the Seventh District.

On Saturday, Pantano for Congress opened its official Volunteer Office at 8207 Market Street in the Porters Neck Shopping Center. Office hours beginning August 15 weekdays from 12-6 pm have been announced.

Now he has a war room where he and his energized troops can plan, organize and fight the good fight.
The Saturday event included speeches, prayers, pledges to Pantano’s campaign war chest, singing, a pig-picking, raffles for cakes brought by Pantano faithful to celebrate the candidate’s fortieth birthday, and serious networking.

A special highlight was a book-signing by former New York Congressman Joseph J. Dioguardi, CPA -- author of "Unaccountable Congress" (2010 Regnery Gateway Publishers.)

I sat down with Ilario Pantano after the crowd dispersed, and talked with him about his thoughts:

The turnout was about twice what we had with a grand opening in the last campaign. There are folks we’ve never met before. They wanted to come meet us. The fact that they came, the fact that they were excited and offered enthusiastic support, was very gratifying and humbling. We were blessed with great weather.
My birthday is in a couple of days. The staff decided to celebrate it today and couple with the office grand opening. I’ll be forty. That’s a milestone. I’m very blessed in many ways. 

VS: Your mother, who is here today, is very proud of you.

God has used my mother too. She has been a force in my life and an inspiration, and I get a lot of wonderful things from both of my parents. But I get my courage from my mother. She is a tough cookie. When the going gets tough, she gets going. She has really been my inspiration, and I’m in awe of her. My wonderful wife Jill is also here, and our two boys. It’s a great family day for us, and also for our campaign volunteers.

VS: Capsule your campaign focus at this time.
Our platform is a pro-growth platform. It focuses on job creation by reducing taxes and spending, less regularion, getting the government out of the way. We believe a free market and the private sector with bring us prosperity. We’ve seen how government over-reach and over-regulation and over-spending have really crippled our economy in the last couple of years. The lesson couldn’t be more defined and stark. But where the liberal media are concerned, they somehow can’t get the message. 

I’m reminded of the Star-News just two weeks ago had a front page article, and it said, “The economy is in trouble.” Then the next article, also on the front page, said  “Stores brace for tax holiday.” It was so shocking to me that the liberal editors of the newspaper couldn’t see with their own eyes, in their own newspaper, that if you lower taxes, you stimulate economic activity by letting consumers make decisions on how to handle and use their own money.

When government gains control, it all turns into a big vote-buying Ponzi scheme, and that’s been going on here in the Seventh District for 140 years, and the men and women here aren’t going to take it anymore.


One of Pantano’s most ardent fans is his mother, Merry Pantano. She talked about her son, his quest, and their endearing personal relationship:

Ilario believes so much and so fervently in his message and his country. He is very concerned about where we are headed. 

VS: You instilled a lot of positive values in Ilario. Tell me about what you taught him.

I tried to teach him to listen to his gut. That was God’s way of talking to him. And also stressed that he should never lose his sense of humor. Not matter how tough a situation may be, his sense of humor would help him maintain his perspective.

VS: It’s easy see that he has followed his mom’s advice. He has a strong Christian faith, and strong family values. 

After he came back from Iraq, he really needed to have a close relationship with God. And that developed in such a miraculous way. It’s so incredulous the way God works, and how the Lord found his way again into Ilario’s life. I think that saved him. So many men come back from combat deployment with that big hole in their heart. He experienced that too. 

During that time he would come out and work on our farm, and this helped get him centered again. But it was by God’s grace that he found his way back.

There was fervor in abundance at this event. But it will take buckets of sweat equity to win this race. In addition to a carefully-crafted game plan, put in play through a lean and mean organizational strategy, successful fund-raising, and taking Ilario Pantano’s message to the voters.
But fervor is a good place to start.