Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Fair"-well: Steve Fair reflects on National Committeeman term

On Sunday, Steve Fair wrote the following "farewell" op-ed on his blog, concluding four years of service as the Oklahoma Republican Party's National Committeeman.


     Tomorrow. I leave for Cleveland, Ohio to attend my last Republican National Committee meeting as Oklahoma National Committeeman.  When the gavel falls and the GOP convention is adjourned, my four year term will come to an end.  I chose to not seek re-election to the RNC for a number of reasons and I have peace that I made the right decision.  I have served as one of the 56 members of the rules committee the entire four years and have enjoyed working with some of the most dedicated, principled Americans I have ever met.  I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.  My replacement has already been elected and will take office on Friday after the convention.

     On Monday, July 18th, the national convention will convene for the purpose of nominating our candidates for President and Vice President.  This week, the various convention committees are meeting: Rules, Platform, and Credentials.  Each of the 50 states and 6 territories have two representatives on each committee.  I chose not to seek election to the rules committee( the 43 Oklahoma delegates elect the representatives to the committees).  The male member from Oklahoma is State Auditor Gary Jones.  Normally, the meetings are routine and not very controversial, but there is a group on the convention rules committee who want to ‘unbind’ the delegates and allow each delegate to vote their conscience.  As of this writing they haven’t been successful at getting the 28 needed to get it to the convention floor.  Fact is, like Trump or not, he won the race fair and square and stealing the nomination would be a move that could permanently destroy the Republican Party.

     It also appears the platform committee meeting may be headed to a showdown.  Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is the Co-Chair of the Platform committee.  There is a movement to ‘tone down’ the platform stance on same-sex marriage and some of the more conservative in the Party are committed to keeping the current plank in place.  Gun control is another plank under attack.  Most of the members of the platform committee are Party regulars and conservative, so major changes are not likely to happen.

     This will be my fourth convention and what normally happens is the Vice Presidential nominee accepts the nomination and gives their speech on Wednesday night.  The Presidential nominee accepts the nomination on Thursday night, but the word is that Donald Trump wants to speak every night.  Trump has run an unconventional campaign, so expect the convention to be unconventional.

     Stephens County will be well represented in Cleveland.  Hope Sutterfield, the Stephens County GOP Chair, is the youngest female delegate.  Hope was the first delegate elected at the 4th district convention.  Her dad, Richard Sutterfield, is going as an Alternate Delegate.  Stephens County will have more people at the convention than any rural county in the state.  Hope plans to post lots of photos and report from Cleveland.  Watch the Stephens County GOP Facebook page for live updates.

      Oklahoma has 43 delegates and 40 alternates to the convention.  We also have over 100 guests who attend.  Unlike the Democrats, statewide elected officials are not automatic delegates.  In fact, we have only five elected officials-legislative & county- in our delegation.  Gary Jones is the only statewide elected official to be a delegate.  Senators Lankford and Inhofe, and Congressmen Cole and Lucas will attend and interact all week with the delegation.

      To a political junkie, going to a national nominating convention is like going to the Super Bowl for a football fan.  Being one of the 2,472 delegates on the floor when the nominee accepts the nomination is electric.   Throughout the week, I post to my blog a recap of the day’s events, sometimes with photos.  It will provide you a great ‘behind the scenes’ look at the convention.     Donald Trump is an exciting candidate, whose unorthodox style and outsider approach has energized the average American about politics.  He is different, but different isn’t always bad.


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