Candidate McCoy speaks out on separation of church and state

doctor times;”>By Kelsey Stuart and Shelby Baker

advice times;”>“Liberty is like a muscle, you have to exercise it to keep it,” Rob McCoy said in his opening speech to the Calvary Chapter of the Toastmaster’s Club in Westlake GetAttachment.aspxVillage Thursday night. separation of church and state

McCoy spoke on the separation of church and state, “The faith community is the largest minority in America with 85 million—only 25 percent vote. There is a misconception with religious tolerance and religious liberty,” McCoy said as he questioned the silence of pulpits across America.

Liberty, McCoy said, is the past, present and future of this country.

“Some people argue that pastors shouldn’t be in politics, but if they weren’t we wouldn’t have had women’s suffrage, child labor laws, and the civil rights movement,” he said.

McCoy referenced a story of Martin Luther King Jr. spending a night in jail for acting upon his convictions. A visitor told Mr. King he was on the wrong side of history behind those bars, to which King told his visitor that it was he that stood on the wrong side of history.

As McCoy spoke, the President of the Toastmaster’s club, Adam Frieder, held up signal cards to alert him of his time left, another member stood ready to tap the bell signaling the use of a ‘filler,’ word in the speech.

“I actually failed my first speech class at a community college. My sister brought me to a Toastmasters club and it was there that I was able to finish through my first speech without struggling,” McCoy said.

Calvary Community hosted the event, as they do every Thursday night and have since 2007.

“We began this chapter as a specialty group of the Toastmaster’s Club,” Lynn Scardina said, of Newbury Park, one of the founders of the chapter.

GetAttachment-3.aspx“Toast to the Master and Lord,” has 17 members.  Kitty Schemenauer said it is where she feels most comfortable, “I think it is the only group in the area that you can do speeches on your faith and read the bible,” she said.

Schemenauer is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Ventura; she has been going to this chapter for the last three months.

Fellow member who also led the evening as Madam Toastmaster, Cathy Svitek said, “Toastmasters was founded in the 1920’s to help empower leaders through public speaking, interview skills, and confidence building lessons.”

Schemenauer said that is the reason she joined, “I’ve always admired people who speak well, I have a lot of thoughts I want to express and this club trains me how to do it correctly.”

As McCoy impressively wrapped up his speech in the allotted time without the bell ringing for the use of any filler words.  He closed with a memory of his grandfather who gave lasting words of encouragement to him when he was nearing the end of the primary race for Assembly. His campaign was out of money, his family was under fire and McCoy found himself bending back the poles of broken signs because he couldn’t afford new ones.

“He told me, ‘Rob, I was 16-years-old in the Great Depression.  You don’t know tough. When they sank my ship in Pearl Harbor and we were only the 22nd largest army on the face of the earth called to fight the two greatest war powers, we rose our fleet up from the bottom of the sea and fought. And we won.’”  McCoy said he would continue to be inspired by the faith and fight that was in his grandfather until the day he died–that was only just six weeks ago.

In his closing statements he encouraged his audience to not confuse religious liberty with religious tolerance, he said, “I’m inspired by my faith, want to take that away from me? Good luck.”

McCoy stayed afterward to answer questions and get his audience to vote, “For me or Jackie, just vote!”

Gayellen Davis, of Woodland Hills, has been in Toastmaster’s for the last seven years, “McCoy is a true speaker,” she said.

For more information about joining the Toastmaster’s Club call Mary Elaine Beatty at (805) 526-0817 or visit

For more information on Rob McCoy running for 44th Assembly, please visit

Kelsey Stuart is a freelance journalist in Ventura County, her home office is amongst ninja turtle action figures, toddler sippy cups and German shepherd chew toys. She writes for multiple publications in the area and works as a social media manager for local companies. 

Shelby Baker  recently graduated with a BA in Political Science Cum Laude. She has done research, humanitarian, and mission work in Brazil, Bolivia, and India. Most recently, Shelby spent two months in India researching culture, religion, and society and volunteering as an English teacher. She is pursuing a career in international justice.


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