Be Of Good Cheer: Thousand Oaks Republican Women’s Christmas Holiday Gala

By Debra Tash


Rosemary Licata

It had been a hard fought and contentious election cycle, and on this round the Republicans came out on top.  There was a jubilant spirit at this year’s Thousand Oaks Republican Women’s Christmas Holiday Gala and Beacon of Light Awards luncheon at Lake Sherwood.  No one believed harder than First Vice President of the club, Rosemary Licata, that an unlikely candidate like Donald Trump could be the next president of the United States.   He stepped up and showed this woman’s faith hadn’t been misplaced.


Reverend Gary Allen Dickey

With Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten as Master Ceremonies the festivities began with a dove release.  The birds circled the country club grounds before winging away into an azure sky.  Attendees were led into lunch by the kilt clad, bagpipe playing Reverend Gary Allen Dickey, who gave the invocation. Totten then lifted a glass, his filled with water since he had to get back to work after the luncheon, while those in attendance raised flutes of champagne.  They toasted victory, something the party had little of in 2008 when the Democrats possessed a congressional super majority and Barack Obama took up residence in the White House.

Licata along with her sister, Beatrice Restifo president of Thousand Oaks Republican Women, presented the club’s awards this year with their guest of honor, Michael Reagan, the late president’s son.

Joanne Drake, Chief Administrative Officer of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation received the Freedom Award.  Ms. Drake coordinates major projects for the Foundation and had served as a spokesperson for the late First Lady Nancy Reagan.  Andrew Coffin was given the Americanism Award.  Coffin is Vice President of Young American’s Foundation along with being Vice President and Director of the Reagan Ranch.  Located in Santa Barbara county, the ranch was known as the “Western White House” during Mr. Reagan’s presidency.


Honorees Joanne Drake and  Andrew Coffin with Master of Ceremonies, District Attorney Gregory Totten


Drake and Coffin releasing the doves

Carrie Almond was there to give the club a commendation.  Ms. Almond helms the National Federated Republican Women. The organization was founded in 1938 and starting in only three states, it is now in all fifty as well as the U.S. territories.  They are headquartered in Alexandria Virginia.  Ms. Almond hales from Missouri.  NFWR’s Objectives are listed on their website:

  • Inform the public through political and legislative education, training and activity;
  • recruit, train and elect Republican candidates;
  • protect the integrity of our electoral process;
  • promote the principles, objectives and policies of the Republican Party;
  • unite and facilitate cooperation among the state and club organizations; and,
  • increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government.

This was their year.  Ms. Almond spearheaded a project to purchase a bus for the organization, brand it and take “Rosie” across country.  Rosie hit the road on Mother’s Day this year. Some 30,000 women volunteered at over 200 rallies in 39 states to get candidates elected. It seems their hard work brought home the prize.


Almond presented the Thousand Oaks club, which was founded 56 years ago, with a commendation for its work.

It was quite a year, and for these women who fought for party and country, it was one of the best. 


Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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