Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska were guests at a Puppy Jake Foundation pre-Veterans’ Day reception Friday evening at the home of Robin and Dave Lickteig in Cumming on Friday night. Lee and Palin are in Iowa to speak at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s 13th Annual Friends of the Family Banquet Saturday night at the Paul R. Knapp Learning Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Puppy Jake and several puppies who are in training to become service dogs for military veterans were on hand to greet Sen. Lee, Gov. Palin and her husband, Todd Palin. The puppies were accompanied by their foster families and supporters of the Puppy Jake Foundation.
Trainer Renee Jetter, who is raising Puppy Bob, said each service dog goes through almost two years of preparation in order to become a skilled service dog. Jetter, who owns Caine Craze Performance Center in Urbandale along with her husband Scott, expects Bob to be placed with a veteran when he is about 20 months old. The young service-dogs-in training go through many learning experiences to prepare them to confidently handle all kinds of public venues and social situations a veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder might experience, such as the large gathering in Cumming.
Both Lee and Palin couldn’t resist holding some of the newest members of the Puppy Jake Foundation training class. Palin latched on to Josie, a 9-week old chocolate Labrador puppy being raised by Tripp Kinney. And 11-week old Elmer, an 11-week old Golden Retriever being raised by Jessica Van Maanen, snuggled up in Lee’s arms and fell asleep like a little baby.
In between holding Josie and chatting with guests at the reception, Lee discussed the debate over Obamacare and the fundamental differences between the progressive left and the conservative movements taking place in government. “My definition of conservatism is a point between radical collectivism and radical individualism. Conservatives realize that we are all in this together and we do it through the right balance of civil society and free markets,” said Lee.
“Republicans must learn how to better articulate both their deep concerns for the poor and their better vision for moving the poor out of poverty and from dependency on government,” said Lee, who was elected to the Senate during the 2010 mid-term elections with 62 percent of the vote against the Democrat challenger.
Palin came to Iowa after attending the 95th birthday party for Rev Billy Graham at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina Thursday night. “It was such a variety of people and beliefs and backgrounds. There was Donald Trump over there and then there was Todd and Sarah of Wasilla over here,” said Palin who was one of three speakers along with Greta Van Sustern and Graham’s own pastor, Rev. Don Wilton, of the First Baptist church of Spartanburg, South Carolina. The event was attended by more than 900 people including Rupert Murdock, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy, pastor Rick Warren, Grammy-winner Michael W. Smith, country singer Ricky Scaggs and “Today” show host Kathie Lee Gifford.
“I told him we need a Methuselah,” said Palin. “He ushered in the Jesus movement in the 1970s and my mom, who was raised Catholic, came to Christ through his ministry, and as a result so has my whole family” said Palin, who was baptized Catholic. “He has reached more than 215 million people in more than 185 countries. Over the past several years the Palins have traveled with Van Sustern and her husband and Rev. Franklin Graham on mission and service trips throughout the world. In addition to speaking at Graham’s birthday bash and coming to Des Moines for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner, Palin will begin a nation-wide tour next week when her new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas is released November 12.