BURLINGTON The Vermont Republican Party announced recently that Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and chairman of GOPAC, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Spring Lincoln and Reagan Dinner Thursday, May 1, at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. In 2003, Steele earned a place in history when he became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland. He was the highest-ranking African-American Republican elected official and the only sitting African American lieutenant governor in the country. Steele has established himself as one of the most dynamic and inspiring speakers in the Republican Party. Steeles mother was a widowed laundress who worked for minimum wage rather than accept public assistance. Steele grew up in a Democratic household. However, as a young man he switched to the Republican Party. After joining the Republican Party, Steele became chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee. In 1995, the Maryland Republican Party selected him as Maryland State Republican Man of the Year. He worked on several political campaigns, was an Alternate Delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego and a Delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia that ultimately chose the George W. Bush ticket. In December 2000, Steele was elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party becoming the first African American ever to be elected chairman of any state Republican Party. As chairman of GOPAC, Michael Steeles mission is to galvanize, educate, train and elect Republicans, holding the reigns of the organization that many consider a key catalyst of the Republican Revolution that stormed the nation in 1994.