Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Meet the Candidates: Estela Hernandez, OKGOP Vice-Chair hopeful

Estela Hernandez, candidate for OKGOP Vice-Chair

Delegates to the Oklahoma Republican Party's State Convention on Saturday will be choosing between three candidates for State Chair, and at least two candidates for Vice-Chair -- Estela Hernandez and John T. Lewis. Like I did in 2013, I sent each of the individuals a survey that I hope will help delegates be more informed for the convention. You can read the chair candidate surveys here: Randy BrogdonPam PollardDave Weston. Vice-chair candidate John T. Lewis' survey is here.

Closing out the vice-chair candidates, we have Estela Hernandez.

1. Tell us a little bit about your personal side (i.e. family, church, occupational background, etc.)
I’ve been married for 14 years and I’m a mother 3 kids.  For the past 12 years, my husband and I have owned and operated a construction company in Oklahoma City.  I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.  I’m delighted to serve on various non-profit boards in Oklahoma City.  I’m passionate about my faith, my family, and our country. 

2. What involvement have you had in the past with the Republican Party (from precinct-level to RNC)? If possible, include approximate dates.
I became directly involved with OKGOP in 2010-2011.  I realized that I could no longer sit on the “political sidelines” and listen to a president who wants to “fundamentally transform America.”   As a mother of 3 Okies, I wanted to preserve the conservative values that Oklahomans hold dear and ensure that we uphold and defend the constitutional liberties for the next generation.   
I sought out volunteer opportunities in the community and I began getting involved with OKC Republican Women’s Club. I clearly recall asking the Chairman at that time, Matt Pinnell, “What else can I do to make a difference?”  He responded, “Get involved at the precinct level.”  Shortly after, I attended my first precinct meeting and was voted Chairman of Precinct 173 and Vice Chair of House District 84.    Last summer, I had the privilege of being one of five women selected to represent Oklahoma at the RNC Women’s Summit held in Washington D.C.

3. Do you currently hold any Republican Party office?
At the 2013 OK County Convention, I was elected as 5th District Committeewoman.  I’m currently Community Engagement Chair for Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women.  In the years I’ve been involved, I’ve helped develop a successful community engagement program for OKC Republican Women’s Club and Oklahoma County GOP.  By attending monthly naturalization ceremonies, we are registering new citizens to vote and sharing with them the importance of civic engagement.   For the most part, minority communities share the conservative values of the Republican Party.  We must continue building relationships and ensure that Republicans have a presence in all communities all year round.

4. What political involvement have you had outside of the Republican Party (i.e. campaigns, elected office, political groups, etc.)? If possible, include approximate dates.
My involvement outside of the Republican Party are helping out in various local and statewide campaigns.  The most recent campaigns are James Lankford for US Senate, Steve Russell for US Congress, Mary Fallin for Governor, and Mick Cornett for Mayor of Oklahoma City.

5. There have been seven state conventions in the last decade ('05, '07', '08, '09, '11, '12, '13); how many have you attended, and which (if any) did you not attend?
I have been actively working in the Oklahoma Republican Party for the past five years.  I recall speaking at the 2011 state convention with Evelyn McCoy, past president of OKCRW, on the importance of community outreach.  I also had the opportunity to attend the 2013 state convention.

6. What prompted you to run for this office?
Republicans have been playing defense far too long with the Democratic Party.  We have allowed the opposition to define us.  It’s time for us to brand our party and start playing offense!  Republicans have a great message that resonates with voters and I’m prepared to serve with humility, speak with boldness, and help grow the Republican Party. 
In the years I’ve been involved, I’ve seen wonderful things happen as we work to elect strong Republicans.  We have many organized clubs and passionate activists doing great work planting seeds of conservative principals.  However, I have noticed tension and division within the party.  In order for the party to have continued growth, we must work together to achieve success.  We can start by putting Philippians 2:4 into practice, “Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.”  

7. What are your top priorities if elected as Vice-Chair?
If elected Vice Chair, I will work diligently to strengthen, unite, and grow the party.    Communication is the key to success of an organization. I will work to establish effective communication between the grassroots and OKGOP and help elect Republicans who stand on principal and will lead with conviction.  In order for OKGOP to thrive, we must work together with organized clubs across the state such as Young Republican, College Republicans, and Republican Women’s Clubs.  Oklahoma’s voter turn-out remains low and we must work together to empower the grassroots by helping precinct chairs get organized.

8. What do you view as your top duties as Vice-Chair?
The top duties of the Vice Chair is to work closely with all 77 counties in order to strengthen, organize, and grow the party.  The Vice Chair should establish effective communication between the grassroots and OKGOP and assist in electing strong Republican leaders.  She/he must promote and grow the Republican Party by encouraging involvement at the precinct level.  Build trust in the community by nurturing strong and lasting relationships between OKGOP and community leaders.

9. List some of the individuals who are publicly supporting your candidacy that delegates might recognize.
I’m truly humbled to have the support of many individuals in the Republican Party.  Our National Committeeman, Steve Fair has publicly endorsed me. 

10. Here’s your closing statement – cover whatever you want to talk about (250 words or less).
There is a common saying, “In order to know where we are going, we must remember where we came from”.  The Republican Party was formed for the purpose of fighting for the equal rights of others.  The passage of the 13th and 15th amendment abolished slavery and gave blacks the right to vote.  This was almost exclusively a Republican Party effort.  We are the party that empowers women and are inclusive of all people. 
We must continue to work together to promote the principles of the Republican Party.  We have the responsibility to preserve and fight for our God given rights.  I humbly ask for your support on April 11.  Together we can make a difference in our state and in our nation. 
Thanks for participating, Estela!

You can view the candidates' surveys at these links:

Surveys for Chair candidates:
Randy BrogdonPam PollardDave Weston.

Survey for Vice-Chair candidate:
John T. Lewis

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