After more than 2 years of planning and preparation, the 2016 Texas Republican Party Convention is in the books. It was fun seeing so many of you there.
Work began on Monday with both the Platform and the Rules Committees. They heard testimony for several days, hammered out their documents one painful word, rule and plank at a time.
The Rules for both the Party and the Convention were presented by the Rules Committee. These Rules give our State Party and the local County Parties directions when State Law does not cover those regulations. The local Rules are important because, every few years, a County Party with a bit of a mutiny on their hands – usually between their County Chair and Precinct Chairs, and our Rules tell us how to settle those arguments. Our Rules also give us boundaries that the Convention will operate under, and conduct the business of the RPT between Conventions. Our 2016 Rules may be found here:http://www.texasgop.org (look under Convention, Rules) A big thanks goes out to Deanna Kuykendall for her work on our behalf on the Rules Committee.
The Platform that was proposed to the Convention was 26 pages long—the 2014 one was 40 pages, so they trimmed off 14 pages from the previous platform, while still including a new page with five “Legislative Priorities.” The Platform Committee brought their recommendation to the full Convention floor where it was refined and debated. After the debate had concluded each Convention Delegate was given a scantron (like back in school taking tests with a #2 pencil) and allowed to vote for each of the 266 items included in the Platform, one plank or Legislative Priority at a time. The entire Platform that passed can be found here: http://www.texasgop.org (under Convention, Platform)
Each plank’s vote for and against may be found there. If I were a Legislator, I’d be looking at those totals very closely—Republicans feel strongly about their Platform and the issues included in it. Basically, we ended up with a Plank-by-plank opinion poll of the issues included, and they all passed. Congratulations to those that served on the Platform Committee, including SD 8’s own Mary Carl Finkelstein for the long hours and thoughtful consideration they put into this document.
We were represented well on the Credentials Committee by Marc Friedland. This committee had the responsibility of giving us an accurate count of individual eligibility to be seated as Delegates, and rule on those who admission was in question. Also, Susan Fischer represented us on the Party Organization Committee. Their job was to approve the temporary officers and order of the Convention. We also elected Stacy Gibson to serve on the State Nominations Committee and Karl Voigtsberger to the National Nominations Committee. We appreciate all our Committee representatives and their work on our behalf.
We also did the business of Electing our Republican Party of Texas Chairman, Vice Chairman, National (RNC) Committeeman and National (RNC) Committeewoman as a full convention. All four were contested races and hard-fought. The National Committeeman & Committeewoman races even went to a balloted floor vote in full Convention late Saturday afternoon. It is a blessing to have so many outstanding people vying for spots that cost them and their families dearly for their service to the party. Not one of them is paid a dime and most of what they do on our behalf is paid out of their own pockets. Congratulations to Chairman Tom Mechler, Vice Chair Amy Clark, National Committeeman Robin Armstrong and National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell. Thank you to the other candidates- Jared Woodfill, Cathie Adams, Rick Figueroa, and Denise McNamara- for being willing to take us on too.
Both Karl Voigtsberger and I were reelected by Senate District 8 to serve another term on the State Republican Executive Committee. Thank you all so much for allowing me one final term representing you. Since there are term-limits (4 is plenty), I am honored to serve these final two years on your behalf.
In our Senate District and Congressional Caucuses we held a total of 16 votes for candidates for offices and committees. Elected to serve as National Delegates at the Republican Convention in Cleveland representing CD3 are: Neal Katz, George Flint and Carroll Maxwell. Alternate Delegates elected are Deanna Kuykendall, D’rinda Randall and Shelby Williams. From the National Nominations At-large, elected by the full convention were two more from CD3: Mark Reid going as a Delegate and Jody Rushton as an Alternate Delegate (paired with Delegate Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick).
Carol Sewell was elected to be our CD3 Elector, in the Electoral College, and I was elected to be one of the two at-large Electors by the full convention. One of my sons-in-law asked jokingly what I was going to major in when I went to “Electoral College”. The answer is the same for all of us from now till November 8: Getting a Republican President Elected! That’s 174 Days left to make a difference.
It was not all work at the Convention. Over the course of the three days we heard from most all of our State-wide elected officials. On Thursday we heard from Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and others. On Friday we heard from Senator John Cornyn. Saturday afternoon we heard from Senator Ted Cruz and he was welcomed home with great enthusiasm. Here’s a funny story: evidently two Congressional District Caucus groups could not manage to finish their work. Our Congressional District finished our work in just under four hours (including conducting 9 elections and one runoff). These two CD’s were still at it after 8 hours. I heard that a rumor was circulated around those two Caucuses that Trump and Cruz were both to appear in the main convention and that they would miss it, causing them to (Finally!) finish their work much more quickly. No, Donald Trump did not attend. The Trump campaign sent Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama to speak on his behalf following Senator Ted Cruz’s speech.
We also had a lot of learning and fun. “Abbott University” trained those in attendance on how to get more involved and make a difference. The Grassroots Club held a member’s only breakfast called “Grazing with the Elephants”. Texas Federation of Republican Women and the Congressional Delegations held luncheons. The Eagle Forum and The Republican Party of Texas held dinners. There was a Freedom, Faith and Fellowship Event, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held and Ice Cream Social, TFRW held “Cupcakes and Karaoke.” Actually there were so many events that there wasn’t time to hit them all, but I bet that some of you tried. The size of the Convention Center made for quite a bit of exercise for all of us.
A shout out of THANK YOU goes to our own Neal Katz who was facilities coordinator for the Convention and did a great job—and got us great seats and meeting rooms.
Thank you too, to Chris Davis for running such a wonderful Senatorial Caucus. Organizing two counties and doing proportional voting is a giant job and she did it with grace. So many others of you helped by serving as Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, Tellers and counters, led us in prayer and pledges and so many other ways. We are blessed to have so many that are willing and use their time, talent and abilities to help us hold such a great convention.
Following the close of the Convention the newly elected State Republican Executive Committee met for the first time and adopted Bylaws. Chairman Tom Mechler appointed the Candidate Resource Committee members so that their work can continue uninterrupted, helping finance those down-ballot races around the state.
Chairman Mechler also told me that he is reappointing me to serve another term as the Chair of the Grassroots Committee for the State Party, and I am grateful for that opportunity. I am pleased to tell you that the Grassroots Committee has raised more than $88,000 for the Republican Party of Texas in the last three months, including more than $3000 raised from donations for the centerpieces at the breakfast. Thank you to Pat and Don Smith of Lone Star Woodworks in Ft. Worth for designing and donating those centerpieces. Together our little donations of $8.25 a month –only $99 a year – make for a healthy Texas GOP. If you are not one of them more than 2000 strong Grassroots Club members you may join here:. Grassroots Club Membership
Speaking of a strong Texas GOP, we are financially solid. With more than a million in the bank and every bill paid in full every month we are ready, just as soon as the Primary Runoff is complete, to launch a formidable victory effort for November. It is not too late to join the Mighty Texas Strike Force and help out in swing areas around our State and Nation.
I know you are tired, but our work is not done. Runoffs and Local elections have such small turnouts that your vote is very powerful. Today begins early voting for the Republican Runoff, with the Election Day on May 24. Find your Collin County Runoff voting locations and times in our Election 2016 section of the website.
For Dallas County Runoff information: http://www.dallascountyvotes.org/wp-content/uploads/EVLocationsPR.pdf
Also, if you live in Lovejoy IDS, they are holding a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) with early voting going on through today, May 17, and the election day on May 21. They sort-of slid this election in there at the last minute. Here are locations and times:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwZxGFrLxXAsUnZqUXgtdVpadjg/view?pref=2&pli=1
I am so very honored to be allowed to send you these emails, to serve you on the State Republican Executive Committee and to call you fellow Republicans. 174 days to make a difference together. I’m fired up.
God Bless Texas.