For Lena Epstein, co-chair of the Michigan Trump campaign, the Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20 “was one of the best 72 hours of my life. There was so much joy, so much patriotism.”
Epstein, 35, a Bloomfield Hills resident, savored every moment of several busy days in Washington, D.C., attending the inauguration ceremony, Michigan and national events, and the Freedom Ball, as well as participating in media interviews and meeting with Republicans from across the country.
“I have never appreciated the transfer of power so much as yesterday,” she said of Inauguration Day. From a prime position at the ceremony, Epstein “scanned Washington to see that democracy is working. The peaceful transfer of power is meticulous.”
“I was very pleased at his [President Trump’s] speech, which gave the world what they wanted to hear — that he will take power from Washington and give it to the people,” she said.
Epstein decided to support Trump when she heard him at the debate held at Detroit’s Fox Theater in March.
“No other candidate had the economic gravitas to make our country competitive again,” she says, adding she lacked confidence the other candidates would bring back jobs, increase security and support Israel.
She co-chaired Trump’s Michigan campaign with Peter Hoekstra, a former congressman. Epstein’s role was to “serve as a surrogate with the news media, articulating Trump’s views,” she explains.
Her campaign service led to a great seat at the inauguration, as well as participation in the parade and other official events, including the election of Ronna Romney McDaniel as chairwoman of the Republic National Committee. And she met Sally Preibus, wife of Reince Preibus, Trump’s chief of staff.
She noted other Michigan attendees, Robert Schostak and Jay Feldman, a friend and customer of Vesco Oil Company, based in Southfield. Epstein is a third-generation owner and general manager of this large distributor of automotive and industrial lubricants.
She attended Gov. Rick Synder’s ball at the Willard/Intercontinental Hotel that honored Romney and was “amazed at the representation of Jewish delegates.” She and her husband, Eric Medwed, were especially pleased to attend the Freedom Ball, where they watched President Trump and the First Lady dance. This was one of two official galas attended by the Trumps.
Epstein and Medwed also were guests at the Michigan Inaugural Ball, held at the Smithsonian Museum of National History. About 2,000 guests enjoyed the music of the Simone Vitale Band of Royal Oak.
Epstein says she was always a Republican but didn’t realize it until she attended Harvard University. While her family members are liberal Democrats, she says they are very supportive of her work on behalf of the Republican Party.
“It’s a Jewish value to stand up for what you believe,” she explains.
Epstein cites her first major achievement for the party as chairing the annual Oakland County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in 2012 — increasing attendance from 400 the previous year to 1,500, and attracting international media coverage. One of her current goals is to encourage Jewish people to seek office in Lansing and Washington “to have a voice.” While Epstein says she and her husband plan to stay in Michigan for now, she doesn’t rule out a run for office in the future.