The club was started in 1981 by Michael Schaefer, a San Diego City Councilman who moved to Las Vegas in 1973. Schaefer discovered there was no conservative club for men here in Las Vegas, so he worked with Jane Hamm and together they sent out printed invitations by mail to about 100 Republican men and asked them to join together. Jim Marsh and about 20 others responded and their first luncheon meeting was held at noon at the Royal Las Vegas, on Convention Center Drive, in what was then the Berrymore Restaurant. Oran Gragson, the longest-serving mayor of Las Vegas and small business owner was their first guest speaker.
Since there was a Republican Women’s Club, they decided to name the club the Nevada Republican Club. The initial group of 20 members started the club as a forum to educate the populace on conservative politics, but also to provide conservative political candidates an opportunity to hone their speaking talents among those who were friendly and faithful. So they continued to hold monthly luncheon meetings with guest speakers featuring local and statewide Republican candidates and elected officials.
The tradition took hold and membership in the Nevada Republican Club grew, with membership dues initially set at $10 a year. They remained at the same low price for about 20 years, when they were increased to $20 per year in 1991. Membership dues have been $20 a year since.
In 2008 the club held luncheon meetings at the Ellis Island Casino on Koval Lane in Las Vegas. At one point in the year the board was notified they would have to find a new location since the banquet facilities where they met were to be remodeled to make room for a new sports book. After trying a few luncheons at the Hofbrauhaus and Landry’s Steakhouse, the discovered Cili Restaurant. The monthly luncheons have been held there ever since.
The Nevada Republican Club, now some 35 years later, is still following the mission established by Michael Schaefer, Jane Hamm and Jim Marsh; to educate individuals living in the Las Vegas Valley about all things conservative. The club has grown to a membership of almost 500, and still continues to meet monthly for luncheons at noon with guest speakers who discuss conservative politics and all things related to American exceptionalism.
Luncheon meetings have been held at Cili Fine Dining for some years now, with time set aside before each meeting for business networking.
The First Friday Happy Hour events began in about 2014, initially with political commentator Chuck Muth, and found a home at The Bootlegger Bistro in their Copa Room. These informal get-togethers provided a more relaxed atmosphere and a forum for candidates to speak with conservative voters. The First Friday Happy Hour has been discontinued because of rising costs. However, the Club creates various opportunities for its members to get together informally.
Jane Hamm, pictured right, was involved with the founding of the club in 1981. She was a politician in Nevada and still attends our luncheons from time to time. She is pictured here at our January 2016 luncheon with Ed Williams.
2017 – Rob Carlone
2016 – Bob Sulliman
2015 – Suzette LaGrange
2014 – Phil Perine
2013 – Phil Perine
2012 – Michael Moriarty
2011 – Gary Rogers & John Cole
2010 – Michael Mazur
2009 – Brian Scroggins
2008 – Russ Mickelson
Russ Mickelson led the team in 2008 and Frank Martano, Jim Marsh, Dr. Chris Comfort and Mike Mazur assisted as members of the Board of Directors. The club didn’t have a website at the time, but the board prepared a monthly printed newsletter that was mailed to members. Russ would write the newsletter, which also sometimes included a conservative commentary from Frank Martano, and then the staff at Mike Mazur’s office would help with typing and photo copying. Each of the 400+ members received copies of the newsletter and Frank Martano would distribute additional copies to Las Vegas area libraries. The board held their monthly board meetings most often at the Denny’s Restaurant on Maryland Parkway, across from Sunrise Hospital.
Russ Mickelson served in the United States Air Force for 28 years. He then worked as a Test Site Contractor and with other small businesses. He now is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Southern Nevada. He still attends our luncheons.