Part 2 of my OKGOP Chair candidate survey (view part one here, part three here, and part four here):
3. How will you work with all factions in the party to bring about unity?
None of us are the same, and I don't expect or want cookie-cutter Republicans. It is by their different ideas and thought processes that we grow. Recognizing this will be the starting point in bring about party unity.
As I stated in the previous question, I will work hard to restore trust and respect between the grassroots activists and the State Party. The number one issue I have heard throughout the state is lack of transparency at the state level. The State Committee is the supreme Republican Party authority and should receive a full report of all finances with close oversight of the State Budget Committee. Minutes of meetings and lists of county officers must be available to all Republicans.
The Republican Party in Oklahoma has changed since I began as an activist 17 years ago. For the first 100 years the Republicans fought against the candidates, policies and platform of the Democrat Party. Thanks to the decades of work of party leaders and staunch activists, the Democrats have been neutralized and now we are left to fight one another. We must understand and appreciate diversity of opinions and allow people the very freedom we fight for in our nation and that is the right to individual expression.
I don’t fear diversity but rather embrace it because that is the foundation of the great history of our country. As Party Chairman, my job is to build a foundation and infrastructure for Republican voters to travel down. We are united by our Platform and State Party Rules and are only divided by our personal desire to promote our individual ideas. If we can appreciate each other’s passionate beliefs then we will have the unity and strength to defend our Republican candidates against the liberal policies of the democrats.
The first step to unity is stop talking about factions. We must deal with each other as individuals and deal with people with respect. While we may disagree on some specific issues, or specific applications of certain policies, I feel that most Republicans agree with our statement of principles. I want to make sure that everyone has a voice, and feels that they can express that voice with dignity and respect. As Chairman, I am and will continue to work with all those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work.
4. How do you plan to balance the party platform and the administrative duties of the office you are seeking?
The platform is an important piece of our Party’s presence. I want to work to ensure that the administration of the party is in keeping with the ideals espoused in our platform. We are for conservative policies and conservative practices. The Party should reflect that; during the 2014 election cycle, I had the opportunity to teach at each of the candidate/ activist trainings, and I was impressed that each one of those featured a section on our Republican principles. I want to continue that tradition. It is not enough to just post the platform on the website, or read it at conventions, we need to be able to have positive discussions about it, to reflect on it and find innovative solutions that are keeping with our platform and traditions. I am dedicated to finding and maintaining that balance.
Our party platform sets forth the tenets of our party, and is the cornerstone upon which this house is built. I believe it is the duty of the Chair to hold forth these principles as well as encouraging accountability to them by our elected officials.
I will run the Party as a business using the principles of sound business practices I share with my accounting clients. The administrative duties of the State Chairman include being a wise steward of both the monies raised and the monies spent. We must support and build the county party structure and provide the necessary resources for each county. I will staff the office with knowledgeable, experienced workers who are as equally dedicated to supporting the counties and winning elections as I am.
The State Chairman is tasked with the enforcement of the State Party Rules and carrying out the directions of the State Committee. The Party Platform is part of the foundation of the Republican Party and I will personally hand out a copy of the platform to each candidate that files for office as a Republican.
5. What is your understanding of specific needs of the party during a Presidential election year?
Our Rules set forth a structure of electing a Chairman in odd numbered years to build the Party infrastructure and raise monies necessary to implement the strategies to win elections during even numbered years. The number of voters in a presidential election year is greater than 1 ½ times the voting turnout in non-presidential years.
The work of the Party is magnified during Presidential election years because we hold precinct meetings, county conventions, district and state conventions and attend the national convention.
Specific needs to accomplish the above events:
1. Raise monies needed to support the activities of the Party, the Republican Presidential Nominee and the Republican Nominees for local, state and federal offices.
2. Prepare counties for Precinct meetings
3. Assist Counties in holding County conventions held for the purpose of electing delegates to the
a. District Convention and
4. Make sure fair elections are held for the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP)
5. Assist District Chairmen in holding conventions to elect District Delegates to the Republican National Convention (RNC)
6. Organize a State Convention for the purpose of
a. Electing At-large delegates to the RNC and
b. Electing a National Committeeman and Committeewoman (due to RNC rules, this is the only case the gender rule is in effect for office holders in the OKGOP)
7. Hold Platform meetings for the purpose of approving a state platform to be submitted to the RNC
8. Hold special Executive Committee meetings to interview the applicants and elect a slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention. (This process is necessary because the state is allocated 25 +/- delegates and 25 alternates to the RNC and historically the Party receives over 200 applications.
There are two distinct sets of needs during this cycle. First are the needs and obligations to our Nominee and the Presidential election. The Party must ensure a smooth process for our delegates to the RNC to be nominated and elected. Once we have a nominee, we must work diligently to maintain the “Red State” tradition that we have enjoyed the last four cycles of having every single county go Republican. Beyond that, we also need to ready with infrastructure to help swing states. In 2012 Steve Fair led a group to help Colorado, in 2014, he took a group to help get Bill Cassidy elected to the US Senate. We don’t yet know where we may be needed but Oklahoma Republicans have never shirked from the challenge of taking our conservative values and Oklahoma work ethic on the road for good candidates.
Next is our local obligations. Presidential cycles draw higher voter turnout and in tougher local races that can have a big impact. We have to work with all our nominees up and down the ballot to ensure the best data, technology and volunteer coordination is in place for everyone to succeed.
Whether we are looking nationally or locally the Party must be ready to work together so that we can have a strong, effective, and conservative 2016.
A strong focus on state and national races providing support to all Republican candidates during the primaries and to the successful candidates thereafter.