As an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, U.S. Rep. Steve King's visit to Hagerstown Tuesday night was timely.
In the morning, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, signed a controversial bill into law granting in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.
The in-state tuition proposal became one of the hottest issues in the state when the Maryland General Assembly adjourned last month, as opponents — particularly Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington — work to overturn the measure through a petition drive and possible referendum.
Later in the day, President Obama went to the U.S.-Mexico border to press for immigration reform and accused Republicans of getting in the way of that effort, The Associated Press reported.
The news of the day was an appropriate backdrop as King, R-Iowa, shared his political views at the Washington County Republican Central Committee's Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner.
Central committee Chairman Randy Buchman urged the crowd to sign a petition to oppose the in-state tuition law, if they hadn't already.
King and U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., had to stay in Washington, D.C., into the evening for some votes. They arrived at the Republican dinner — held this year at Cortland Mansion in Hagerstown — shortly before 9 p.m.
State Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, ad-libbed with a short "filibuster" as the crowd waited for the congressmen.
When he arrived, King got rolling quickly, calling for an end to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and recalling what happened when the Iowa Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage: voters removed three justices from office.
He said there are 8 million illegal immigrants working in the United States and 80 million legal residents of working age who aren't in the work force.
If one out of every 10 of those out-of-work people were hired to replace illegal immigrant employees, it would solve the problem.
"But, somehow, we don't have the will," he said.
King, who has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential hopeful, blasted Obama's health-care reform package.
"I have fought Obamacare for 19 months ...," King said. "He has nationalized your skin and everything inside it with Obamacare."
Blaine Young, the president of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners, spoke at the dinner earlier in the evening.
Young talked about how he and other Republicans on his campaign slate immediately set out to make fiscal changes right after they were sworn in as commissioners.
He said they cut the work force there by 7 percent and made strides toward filling a gap for pension benefits.
"If we don't reduce taxes by 10 percent by the time we leave office, we are a failure," Young said.