DANVILLE -- Michael Reagan, author, media commentator and elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, addressed a sold-out crowd of 300 Republican women at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville on Sept. 25.

The lunch event was a joint venture of Alameda and Contra Costa counties' Republicans.

Alameda County Republican Chair Sue Caro served as the emcee.

Reagan spent more than an hour greeting dozens of well-wishers who lined up to shake his hand and to take photos.

He began his keynote speech by introducing a longtime friend and "the only Democrat in the room" to illustrate how Republicans and Democrats can share common ground. He emphasized that the Republican Party needs to create and market an effective and inspirational message of inclusion, rather than exclusion.

"The Republican Party has always been the minority party, even from the very beginning," he said. "My father was able to bring Democrats and Independents to the table because he focused on shared values about business and life and love for this country."

He recounted how in 1981, U.S. Rep. Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, D-Mass., then Speaker of the House, opposed the Reagan tax break initiative. President Reagan invited O'Neill and his wife to dinner, and the next day, the president received the congressional support needed to pass the bill. When people asked O'Neill what was discussed at dinner the night before, he replied, 'We didn't talk about taxes at all. We talked about the greatness of America and the goodness of people and the willingness to work together."

Michael Reagan peppered his speech with humorous and inspiring anecdotes about his father, many of which are included in his most recent book "The New Reagan Revolution, How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness."

"Ronald Reagan began his political career with the help of Republican women in California," he said. "He spoke in parables so that people could feel his speech, not just hear his speech. He made us laugh, made us cry, made us feel."

PARW, chartered in 1953, is one of the Bay Area's longest operating women's organizations. For information, visit www.piedmontarearepublicanwomen.org.

-- Aileen Evans, PARW