Congratulations to the New RPT Chair James Dickey!

Texas Republicans now have a new Chairman.  At Saturday’s State Republican Executive Committee meeting James Dickey, former Travis County Republican Chairman, was elected as our new Chair.  Two great candidates stepped up to run for Chair following Tom Mechler’s resignation two weeks ago.  Both Rick Figueroa and James Dickey ran fast and full campaigns with very little notice.  Texas Election Code doesn’t give the Parties much wiggle room on how we fill a vacancy, and the process required is a quick one.   The competition was intense.  In fact, the final vote was as close as numerically possible:  Rick Figueroa had 31 votes, and James Dickey had 32 votes.

I want to thank our out-going Chairman Tom Mechler for his service and efforts on our behalf with the State Party.  We didn’t get a chance to honor him at the meeting on Saturday, so I would like to take a moment to do that here: Chairman Mechler worked tirelessly on engagement efforts, fundraising, speaking to Republican and other groups while accomplishing all that is required by law to run both a Primary and a General Election. Few of us will ever know the personal cost in time, treasure and  the commitment crucial to running the Republican Party of Texas. We certainly can appreciate those who do the work so that we can have good candidates, an honest election, encourage good legislation, and a sound party financially.

We also had to fill the vacancy created by the unexpected death of Senate District 10’s Committeewoman, Merri Easterly.  Merri served with honor and faithfulness on both the SREC and on the Texas Federation of Republican Women’s Board of Directors.  The SREC passed a lovely Resolution in her honor, and State Senator Konni Burton provided a Flag to her family that had been flown over the Capitol on the day of her memorial service.

Two ladies were willing to serve SD10 in her place:  Jen Hall and Susan Wright.  Susan Wright was elected to serve at Saturday’s meeting.

When a new Chair is elected, he has the ability to keep or appoint new Party Officers.  Many of us were caught off guard when our new Chairman immediately, upon his election, announced his replacements for all but two of those 11 positions.  Later in the afternoon, Chairman Dickey gave a sincere apology for how he handled that and spent some time explaining what had happened. The two Officers that remain are:  Thomas Gleason as Finance Chair and Nelda Eppes as Sergeant at Arms.  The new appointees include:  Larry Hicks, Treasurer, Holly Alt, Parliamentarian and Chris Howe, Assistant Parliamentarian, Chris Gober General Counsel, Trey Trainer as Assistant General Counsel, Jeremy Storey as Chaplain and Wayne Thorburn as Historian.  He also asked one of the former appointees to the Officials Committee to resign and appointed Jason Ross to that position.  I found the article at this Link to be a good explanation of Saturday’s events if you would like more details.

I wish all our newly appointed Party Officers great success.  I also would like to thank the outgoing Officers for their years of hard work and dedicated service to our party—bringing their amazing talents and training and serving us at their own expense.  We have no idea the impact they have made and we wish them well. Please join me in praying for our new officers and Chair as they take the reins and direct our State Party.

Chairman Dickey shared this pledge: 1. To return RPT cash balance to at least $1,000,000 by the end of 2017. 2. To strongly support the Texas GOP Platform with members of the Texas Legislature. 3.To offer complete transparency with the SREC including delivering a weekly private email with that week’s work and accomplishments. 4. To expand committees to increase opportunities for participation. 5. To visit every Senate District within the first year.

We had reports from the current (now past) officers.  General Counsel Patrick O’Daniel and Associate General Counsel Eric Opiela reported on the good legislation that passed that will be helpful to our Party’s (and any Party’s) work.  HB 1735 will simplify County Party finance reports. Also in that bill is a stronger statute that will curb nursing home voter fraud and other needed changes in the Election Code. Treasurer Tom Washington reported that cash on hand was $666,582.50.  That is, as usual, after all bills have been paid to zero.  The fundraising has been slack since Chairman Mechler announced his resignation, as donors generally want to wait and see who the new leader will be, and that has been the case this quarter.  We will be needing to step up and help our Party continue to be strong financially.  More about that later (see the Grassroots Club and CRC portions below).

National Committeeman Robin Armstrong reported on his visit to the White House as part of President Trump’s healthcare experts group.  He shared that the American Healthcare Act does a lot of needed Medicaid reform.  Dr. Armstrong also reported on the three special elections that are going on around the nation and our prospects for the 2018 elections.  50 US House seats are competitive right now and the Democrats are energized, thinking they can take back that House.  It is up to us to work and donate to make sure that doesn’t happen.  The US Senate is in a better position with fewer Republican seats up for election.  There will also be 38 Governor seats on the ballot in November 2018.

Republican National Committeeman Armstrong also shared that he has been busy helping with Black Engagement around Texas, as well as attending to his RNC duties and meetings.  We also heard from one of our RPT Auxiliary groups: Reginald Clyde spoke about the work and growth of the MLK Association in the Houston area.

Republican National Committeewoman Toni Ann Dasheil reported that the RNC outraised the Democrats in the first quarter of this year, and many of those donors were new to the Party.  As a matter of fact, there was a 398% increase in new donors over previous years.

We spent some time examining a new electonic voting system that may be used for future SREC meeting, speeding up our required Roll Call Vote process.

We have appointed a new committee to bring a recommendation for this new technology to our next meeting.  We changed a Rule to allow for up to four more members of the Candidate Resource Committee (CRC), so that more areas of the state could be covered by the makeup of that Committee.  This Committee is comprised of both SREC and non-SREC members from around the state that are enthusiastic about raising money and donating those funds to down-ballot local races. This is a very worthy cause.  You may click  here to donate.   Tip:  put SD8 when it asks for your Senate District.  I’m proud to have donated $1000 a year to the Candidate Resource Committee out of my own pocket for each of the 7 years I have served on the SREC. (By the way, all SREC members have a gentleman’s agreement to raise or donate at least $1000 a year, but not all of us do so.)  I’m proud to have exceeded that amount most of the years I’ve served, thanks to the generous donors and elected officials of SD8.  Together we keep Texas Red all the way down to the county level.

Speaking of down-ballot races, did you know that the Texas Democratic Party spent a great deal of resources recruiting, funding and endorsing local candidates across the state in “non-partisan” races through their “Project LIFT”? The group “Indivisible”  also intervened in local elections around Texas. The SREC passed a Resolution calling for the Republican Party of Texas to support local Republican candidates as well.  The Resolution directs the leadership and the staff of the RPT to research opposition initiatives, promptly develop and implement strategies, and commit appropriate resource to assist county Republican Parties and candidates in “non-partisan” races.  This is designed to go into effect only when the Democrats have backed a specific candidate against a known Republican candidate (not for when two or more Republicans are in a local race).  The Resolution further called for the RPT to challenge any activity that is in violation of Texas Election Law, including local races.

This was the first year for the new Legislative Committee, headed up by Vice Chair Amy Clark.  This committee followed closely our Legislative Priorities bills in the Texas Legislature and worked hard on behalf of our Platform.  We had three out of our eight priorities enacted in their entirety:   Border Security, Sanctuary Cities, and Article V Convention.  There were eight bills that passed that related in part or in total to our Priorities.  The Legislative Committee drafted a letter encouraging the Governor to include all the remaining Legislative Priorities in any called Special Session of the Legislature and thanked him for signing into law the ones that had already passed.  SREC members were invited to sign that letter if they wished.

The Party Organization Committee has been working hard.  They have completed the update to the Republican Candidate Resource Manual, but that will not be available yet because there are 10 pending Election Laws that are awaiting the Governor’s signature or Veto.  When the fate of those laws is decided, the new manual will be available through an SREC member or your County Party.  I do encourage every Republican Candidate to ask for this informative document.

The Grassroots Club’s current membership has fallen to 954 members statewide. Many of our SD8 memberships have expired.  Please check to see if you are still getting charged on your credit card, or if it has been a year since you last donated your $99.  The Grassroots Committee is gearing up to now include three levels of giving.  Bronze will be $8.25 a month or $99 a year with all the current perks.  Silver will be $12.50 a month or $150 a year, with some new additional perks.  Gold will be $25 a month or $300 a year with even more perks.  Be watching the Grassroots Club website  for these opportunities coming very soon.

The Mighty Texas Strike Force is still active and making a difference.  From June 11-20 Texans will be traveling to Georgia to work the Congressional District 6 runoff race.  Click here  if you would like more information on joining that team.

Only one year from now we will be meeting in San Antonio for our Texas Republican Convention. We’ll have our Primary on March 6.  Our Precinct Conventions will be held on that same day or during that week.  Any Republican voter may show up and attend as a Delegate to their Precinct Convention meeting.  Following next will be the Senatorial District Conventions, then on to the State Convention.  At the State Convention the full Delegation will elect a Chair and Vice Chair of the State Party and each Senate District will elect their Committeeman and Committeewoman. It is hard to believe that my final term on the State Republican Executive Committee is half way over already.  There is so much more we can do together in the days ahead.  Let’s get busy.

Texas GOP Chair Resigns

As many of you have heard, Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler has stepped down as chair, effective immediately, as of Saturday.  He named personal reasons in his letter of resignation (including the extensive amount of time away from his home in Amarillo as his motivation to take this step).  We are grateful to him for his service, and to his family for their sacrifice of time, talent and resources that have been extended to our Party during his time as Chairman.

Added to this, our precious SREC Senate District 10 Committeewoman Merri Easterly went home to be with the Lord on Friday evening.  Merri was very active in the Republican Party and in the Texas Federation of Republican Women, and she will be greatly missed.  She was a faithful SREC member and served alongside of me on the Resolutions Committee.  My heart is heavy as I will miss her friendship.

The “Call” for our next State Republican Executive Committee meeting now includes the agenda items of electing both a replacement for the Chair and for the SD10 Committeewoman position.   Both of these replacements will be serving temporarily until the full Convention elects a Chair at our Texas GOP Convention and the SD10 folks elect their own replacement for Merri in San Antonio next June.

The SREC will meet in Austin on June 2nd for Committee meetings, and on June 3rd for the full SREC meeting and these two elections.

As of now, I have heard of three names being considered for Chairman, and many other names have been mentioned to me as possible candidates.  Only a candidate that has an SREC member to nominate him (or her) may be considered on that day. Since Amy Clark is our Vice Chairman, and according to Texas Election Code if the Vice Chair is female, then the Chair must be a male, this narrows down the possible candidates a bit.  By the way, since some of you have asked:  NO, I do not want to be Chair.

I’d love and welcome your input on this, but only if you do your own personal vetting on the candidates for either of these positions.  Please do not forward me what others say— but I am truly interested in first-hand accounts and experiences and knowledge of candidates.  I am doing the same:  personally vetting each interested candidate that contacts me.

Meanwhile, I would ask for you to pray for our Party and for those that are running for the two positions.  Pray for wisdom for those of us who will be making the choices on your behalf.

As always, thank you for the honor of serving you and the opportunity to share this information with you.

Campaign School Opportunity and other News

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The Texas Republican Party leadership had a webinar tonight and I wanted to give you a quick update.

The Texas GOP will be hosting a Campaign Management School in Austin July 19-21.  Click here for more information and the application required to attend.  The Campaign Management School will teach you all you need to know about running a successful campaign in Texas.  Space is limited, so apply right away if you wish to attend.

The Texas Secretary of State has released the dates for the 2018 Primary Election, believe it or not.   We never get any rest, do we?  Here are the high points:

              September 12, 2017: Precinct Chair filing for office begins

              November 11 through December 11, 2017:  Candidate Filing for office

              January 1 through February 23, 2018:  Ballot by Mail Application submission allowed

              February 5, 2018:  Deadline to Register to Vote

              February 20 through March 2, 2018:  Early Voting

              Tuesday, March 6, 2018:  Primary Election Day

Interesting news from the Party: 

Minority and Youth engagement is a top priority right now and there is a lot going on in these communities.  If you know someone that would like to volunteer to help with this effort, you’ll find the information on the bottom of the opening page of the Texas GOP Website.

We have had 5 Texas Elected Officials switch to the Republican Party since January. 

We had Senator John Cornyn join our call and he updated us on Washington DC news.  He talked about the progress in pealing back the Obama overreaching regulations in Washington since President Trump took office.  Senator Cornyn also talked about the President’s enforcement of the “Red Line” that President Obama drew but didn’t enforce in Syria  and other hot spots around the world.  He talked about how the economy is growing and that they working to fix the broken tax code. He was enthusiastic about how outstanding a job President Trump has done with his appointments, especially the newest Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his pick of Vice President Mike Pence.  He also mentioned that the US House is working on the “Repeal and Replace” market-based version of Obamacare, and he thinks they are making progress on this very complicated issue. 

Our next SREC meeting will be June 2-3 in Austin, and if the Legislature gets their work done without a Special Session, we’ll have an update about their work then.  So far it doesn’t seem like many of the Texas GOP’s eight Legislative Priorities are getting through the Texas House (the Texas Senate has done a great job on these).  Don’t forget to tell our outstanding Republican elected officials how much you appreciate their standing up for our conservative values and Bills.  They hear a lot from the other side.  Let’s let them hear from us, too.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you on the State Republican Executive Committee.  I appreciate you allowing me to share my updates with you.

Four Days in Austin with the SREC

On Wednesday & Thursday last week I was in Austin to meet with Legislators and state official staffers as the State Republican Executive Committee Legislative Committee hosted our Legislative day. 

We are blessed in Senate District 8 to have all Republicans representing us so well in the Legislature (and of course in every state-wide office).  It was fun to watch Senator Van Taylor sign some official copies of bills that he is proposing.  Representative Jodie Laubenberg caught me up on some of the Elections Committee bills and Election rules.  Both Representative Jeff Leach and Representative Matt Shaheen took time out of their busy schedules to sit down with me and run through the Texas GOP Legislative Priorities and their progress in the House.  It was nice of Representative Linda Koop to spend time with me (going over bills) when she saw me in the Capitol hallway.  I was sorry to miss a couple of others, but since this was my third visit to Austin this session (and I’m going again in a couple of weeks) they all certainly know where I stand on our issues by now.  By no fault of our local Legislators, most of the 8 Texas GOP Priorities seem to not be making a lot of progress in the Texas House, but the Texas Senate appears to be making an effort to pass those bills at a very good rate.

On Friday, the State Republican Executive Committee met in committees.  As the Chair of Resolutions this was a busy time for me.  We had 9 Resolutions submitted for consideration, and we passed 5 on to the full SREC on Saturday.  These were adopted:

1.       Resolution to Urge Votes on RPT Legislative Priorities—this Resolution asks for Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees to hear the bills pertaining to our Priorities, vote on them, and send them on to the full body for a vote. 

2.       Resolution Dignifying the Humanity of the Unborn—This Resolution asks for Legislation to pass that protects the dignity of unborn children from dismemberment while alive, and for the remains of aborted children receive a proper burial or cremation.  (This Resolution is in addition to the Legislative Priority that calls for an end to Abortion).

3.       A Resolution calling for Election Integrity legislation protecting Mail-in Ballots from fraud.

4.       A Resolution calling for Citizenship Verification legislation for Registered voters. 

5.       A Resolution calling for the end of the EPA overreach in the State of Texas during the transition of power in Washington.

There was a lot on information presented at the Saturday meeting of the SREC.  Here are some highlights:

The Texas GOP had our annual audit, and received a completely clean audit…again!  The firm that conducts our audit expressed just how unusually efficient our Audit is compared to most—everything is in order and ready for them.  Between all the regulations for Federal and State Campaign accounts and the use of certain money only for certain things, the ability to keep all that straight is amazing.  I’m proud to be associated with an organization that does such a complex business in such an exemplary manner.

Speaking of accounts, the Republican Party of Texas has a cash balance on hand of $700,107 with all of our bills paid to zero.  Not bad after all the expenses and expenditures in a Presidential election year.  There was a major fundraiser in Austin last night with our Legislators, so those funds will rise.

The Republican Party of Texas has a new Finance Director, Thomas Gleason of Dallas.  The Finance Director is a volunteer officer for the Party who raises money for us.  Thomas has just gotten started and already has a plan to raise the funds needed to fund the party and expand our Engagement abilities. 

General Counsel Patrick O’Daniel gave an update on the Voter ID suit against the State of Texas.  The Appeals Court gave the Legislature a specific path to correcting what they see as the problems in the bill.  We want to be careful to comply so that we will not be put back under the “Voters Rights Act” in any way.  The recommended remedy is in the form of Senate Bill 5.  It is my understanding that all the Legislators have signed onto that bill. 

Associate General Counsel Eric Opeila reported that under the Obama Administration the state and county parties were overwhelmed with onerous compliance regulations for conducting election mailings and Get Out the Vote efforts.  For instance, if a local party wanted to say “Vote Republican” in a mailing, or even just give the time and place of voting locations, these overreaching regulations required Federal Campaign Funds be used at least in part, since this was a Federal election year. Actually, every two years are Federal Election years since Congressmen run every two years.  Most local parties do not have Federal Accounts, so the Texas GOP had to use our funds to help pay for those efforts and file those forms.  Our General Counsel for the Texas GOP has sent a letter to the FEC asking for a rollback on those regulations (which mainly are an every-expanding use of McCain-Feingold).  Hopefully the new administration is more in tune to the Constitution than the last one and we will have relief from these ridiculous and unconstitutional regulations. 

We filled 3 County Chair vacancies bringing the number of Republican County Chairs to 251 out of 254.

We also filled a vacancy on the SREC.  Elijah Casas is the new SD27 Committeeman.  The former Committeeman won a race for Constable, so is now ineligible to serve on the SREC.

Our own SD8 member Jody Rushton was reappointed to serve on the Candidate Resource Committee.  Thank you, Jody, for helping raise funds to help down ballot races across the state. 

We’ve already had four elected officials in Texas switch from being a Democrat to being a Republican since the election.  A good start to our year. 

National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell has been very busy.  She is working with the “New Leaders on the Rise” which promotes training and recruiting Republicans to run for office, especially in target outreach groups (minorities and young voters). 

Speaking of candidates, the Republican Party of Texas will be hosting a 3-day Campaign School in Austin. Also, one-day Candidate Development and Campaign Management Training schools will be hosted across the state this summer. The dates of these trainings has not been decided so watch the www.Texasgop.org  website for more information. 

The Republican Party of Texas has been busy.  It was exciting to hear all the on-going work on behalf of our Outreach efforts and how our numbers are growing in these groups.  Steven Wong, the Asian-American Engagement Director gave an update on all the work going on around the state reaching out to the Hispanic, Black, and Youth Voters.  At a recent event in Houston 113 showed up as the result of Hispanic outreach.  For many it was their first Republican event. 

We had a very interesting presentation on Millennial Engagement by “The Conservative Millennial” Blogger Allie Stuckey.  Since Allie lives in Dallas I hope to have her up to our area soon to do this presentation for us.  Good information with concrete ideas on reaching the newest generation of voters. 

Speaking of young voters, we heard from Colton Duncan of the Texas Federation of College Republicans (TFCR).  Colton is a Political Science major at Texas State and reported that our TFCR volunteers held 50 Voter Registration drives on College Campuses across Texas and Registered 3000 Republican voters prior to the election.  They also participated in Phone banks and Block walks—reaching thousands of voters. If you know of a school without a College Republican group, a new one can form with as little as 10 members. 

National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell and Vice Chairman Amy Clark have a new 501c4 organization- Right2Speak -that advocates for Republican Women to speak up and be heard.  Their theme is: Engage. Educate. Elevate.  They are encouraging Republican Women to wear turquoise on March 8 and post “We Show Up!” on social media in response to the Democrat “stay home day” that is planned.  Check out www.right2speak.org  for more information.

National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong talked about the Republican National Committee’s newly elected Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, a former Michigan Republican Chair and Vice Chair Bob Paduchik. Both Toni Ann and Robin expressed great confidence that the new leadership will do a good job. Robin was recently elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the RNC, and Toni Anne reelected to the Budget Committee.  There is also a new RNC Finance Chair, Steve Wynn, who owns the chain of hotels and casinos, to help with fundraising.  Dr. Armstrong reported that Republicans now have full control of 25 States’ House, Senate and Governor’s seats.  By Comparison, Democrats only control 5.  There are 33 Republican Governors.  He encouraged us to support and pray for President Trump. As we start looking toward the 2018 Elections, Republicans will be defending only eight US Senate Seats while Democrats will be defending 23 seats– plus two seats held by Independents that caucus with Democrats.  Many of these Senators live in states that voted for President Trump. No rest for us, but great opportunities for excellence.

We picked San Antonio for the site of the 2018 Texas Republican Convention at our December meeting, but we are already hard at work deciding where the 2020 Convention will be held.  As of now the two cities that have availability and have submitted proposals are Houston and San Antonio.  

The Grassroots Club membership for Senate District 8 is down a bit.  Check to see if your membership in this vital funding of our party as expired.  If you haven’t yet joined, today is a good day to do so: www.grassrootsclub.com Remember, together we make the Texas GOP strong, and it only takes $8.25 a month.

We did spend a lot of time working on our own SREC Bylaws and Rules. 

An adopted new Rule is one, according to the Texas Election Code, that is only the SREC may decide.  Here is the rule that was adopted:  If someone wants to run for Republican County Chairman in a County with more than 300,000 population, then that individual will need to have at least 10% of the currently filled Precinct Chairs sign a petition to allow them on the ballot.  The Democratic Party has had this rule for a number of years, and we were encouraged to pass this by the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association.  This avoids a Democrat (or a crazy person) from adding their name to our ballot and being elected as a County Chair, as happened in one large Texas County back in March.  Talk to me if you want to hear bizarre that story. 

Next, we took up a Bylaw change (again) on the majority percentage required to make a Bylaw Change. I gave an extensive explanation of this debate which occurred at our last meeting, so if you want to know the details check out that blog post.  The two sides where a choice between a Majority of the Membership or by a 2/3 vote.  To make a long story short, 2/3 won.  We also spent a great deal of time discussing who in attendance at our meetings may photograph, video, or livestream our proceedings.  That is an hour of my life I will not get back.  Here’s the short version. Basically, here’s Richard Hayes’ (our RPT’s Registered Parliamentarian) read on our Rules, and in the end a Majority vote agreed: Rules state that pictures and videos are allowed by Executive Committee members only, and that this right is not transferable to others. Did you know that the SREC meetings are livestreamed?  They can be found each quarter at ustream.tv/channel/republican-party-of-texas and anyone may watch us there, or attend in person.

We also changed our Bylaws to make the Legislative Committee a Permanent Committee. 

This newly formed Legislative Committee has been hard at work following Legislation that pertains to our Legislative Priorities.  They have been hosting webinars at regular intervals.  If you would like to participate, watch for an email from the Texas GOP, or let me know and I will forward the invitation to you when it is scheduled. 

At the Saturday meeting of the SREC we heard from several elected officials including Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick (about the funding of the Railroad Commission), State Representative Dustin Burrows and State Representative Cecil Bell.  Of course, we saw many others as we visited the Capitol.  It was a good four days of work.

On a personal note, thanks to all of you that sent such kind words following my Chairing of the Texas Electoral College back on December 19.  It was an honor to serve the State of Texas and the United State of America as I had the privilege of announcing that President Trump had the needed Electoral College votes.  Indeed, he would not have won without Texas—he would have been two short.  God Bless Texas. 

I also wanted to let you know that I have added an additional responsibility, as in January I was appointed by Governor Greg Abbot to serve on the Texas Juvenile Justice Board.  I am honored to be one of the “Public” members on that board, and am enjoying this vital new place of service.

Thank any of you who read all the way down to here, as I know your time is precious and my words are many.  Thank you for the honor of serving you on the State Republican Executive Committee.

News for Republicans from Austin

Today I will update you on two things:  The latest from the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) meeting in Austin this past weekend and the Electoral College process and news.  I apologize in advance for how long this is, but there is a lot to share.

On Friday the SREC met in Committees. As the Chair of the Resolutions Committee we had a full agenda.  It was our responsibility to recommend to the full SREC up to three Legislative Priorities.  Five Legislative Priorities had already been decided by the full Texas GOP Convention back in May (see those five on the last page of the Platform), and ours were to be in addition to those, as specified in the Party Rules.  I must tell you that we had seventeen wonderful priority ideas submitted to the Committee, and it was hard to pick because they were all worthy of our support, and hopefully will all pass the Legislature.  The three that were recommended, and were passed, with one minor change before the entire SREC were these:

1.       Working to advocate for comprehensive school choice in a manner consistent with the RPT Platform.

2.       We support denial and/or withdrawal of public funds for entities, public and/or private, not in compliance with immigration laws, including sanctuary cities or campuses.

3.       Protect the citizens of Texas from unlawful encroachments on their First Amendment rights, including Constitutional religious liberty and freedom of speech, and as specified in RPT Platform plank 153.

These were issues that Convention delegates and the Texas Republican Primary voters overwhelmingly supported.  The Religious Liberty issue was mentioned in seven different planks, so that one was fairly broad in how it is worded.  We’re hopeful that these, and the other issues that didn’t make the cut, will all pass and be signed into law.

The Resolutions Committee also recommended two Resolutions to the full SREC.  These were “Protecting Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association” and a resolution calling for the State of Texas to “Secure its Electric Grid.”  Both of these Resolutions were passed by the SREC on Saturday. 

Friday evening we were treated to a lovely Christmas Party at a historical home in Austin.  Our host was Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. He shared some of his priorities and concerns for the upcoming Legislative session and also some fun stories from his time working alongside the Trump campaign.

I’m not going to lie to you.  Saturday was a doozy of a meeting, and I’m disappointed to see that there is some misrepresentation of what was done. I’ll fill you in on more of that later in this report, and hopefully those that want to make big splashes by exaggeration (which is way more fun to tell than the truth) will be quieted a bit.

First, though, we had to elect a new SREC Secretary.  Rena Peden has served for several years, and has stepped down.  Former SREC member, Jim Wiggins was elected (without opposition) to serve. 

Ann Marie Birdwell, the Deputy Victory Director for the 2016 election, gave us an update on the Texas Election results.  The Texas Victory effort had 14 paid staffers, 25 field offices, and over 3500 amazing volunteers from across the state.  $1.5 Million was raised for the effort and it really paid off with 1.8 million phone calls made, 100,000 doors knocked on in the 16 targeted race areas, 2.8 million online voter contacts made,  30 Young Professional Events hosted and 100,000 voter contacts made in Spanish. Also, 2,771,230 ads and videos were seen online through Twitter, Facebook and other online sites and 68% were watched through to the end.  The result:  25 Texas Republicans in the US Congress (out of 36), 20 Republicans in the Texas Senate (out of 31), and 95 Republicans in the Texas House (out of 150). Our State Chairman Tom Mechler, Vice Chair Amy Clark, National Committeeman Robin Armstrong and National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell all campaigned in person phone banking and block walking in each of those contested races.   

Some fun Texas Republican Facts:

              Republicans have won the last 10 Presidential Elections in Texas

              Texas has 38 Electoral Votes- 7% of the total number of Electoral Votes

               Nearly 80% of the estimated Texas Voting age population registered to vote this year (15.1 million registered voters)

              Approximately 72% of Texans who voted, voted early this year.

              Among Registered voters, 59% cast a ballot in 2016

               Democrats have not won a statewide election in Texas since 1994—and Republicans have won 129 consecutive statewide races.

               Congressman Will Hurd won his closely contested race by 3,700 votes out of 227,000 cast. ( By contrast, in 2012, the Democrat candidate won that seat by 9,129 out of 192,169 votes cast. Nice progress.)

              Congratulations to Collin County for having the highest percentage turnout of the 10 largest populated Texas Counties, with 67.61% voter turnout. Out of those same counties, Montgomery County gets the bragging rights for the highest percentage for Donald Trump with 73.02%.

The State Republican Executive Committee passed a 2017 base budget that will fund the party for day to day operations, and an additional “Wish List” budget that will fund additional efforts, as fundraising allows.  If you are not a member of the Grassroots Club , please join today.  Together we can keep the party strong and financially secure (and enjoy the perk of avoiding those annoying solicitation calls and mail).   As the Republican Party of Texas has done the past few years, all bills are paid to a zero balance and cash on hand is more than $800,000.  Not bad for just having laid it all on the line to get our candidates elected.

Senator John Cornyn sponsored our lunch on Saturday and also spoke to us.  He said that he had dreaded the thought of a Hillary Presidency, but is excited about the future in Washington now. He said that not only do we have to replace a Supreme Court Justice, but also that there are many Federal Judgeships open in Texas and must be filled (I think he said 13, but I’m not positive about that number). Some of the work he anticipates doing is cleaning up the Justice Department, Repealing and Replacing Obamacare, and reforming our broken tax system. Did you know that half of the Democratic Senators that voted for Obamacare are no longer elected to serve in the Senate?  This is good news, as the new administration has the opportunity to change things in Washington with some new blood. 

We spent a good bit of our day Saturday on a highly debated and difficult topic of the SREC Bylaws and the Rules from the State Convention.  Well-meaning and well-informed people were on both sides of this issue, and I’m saddened that anyone is being vilified as a result of their vote and personally considered understanding of this issue. 

Here is a very simplified version (believe it or not) of the issue:  In the Texas GOP Rule 8c that was passed at our Convention in May, in the paragraph under the heading of “Organizational Meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee” it is stated (just after a sentence about the agenda) that “SREC Bylaws or Rules shall always be amendable by a majority of the entire membership, subject only to adopted notice requirements.”

So, here’s the rub:  Does this sentence apply to the Organizational meeting of the SREC, as the heading suggests, or all meetings of the SREC, as the word “always” suggests? I’ll tell you, I wish that it had been clearer.  It would have helped if the Rules had either said that this was a direction for the SREC to permanently change the Bylaws at that Organizational Meeting, or that it applied to that one meeting only (as has been our past practice), or had just put it under a different heading (one that applied to all SREC meetings).

As a Convention Delegate who read the Rule changes prior to voting at Convention, I understood (and when I watched again that part of the Convention on video), that the change was a direction for the SREC’s first meeting only.  If I had understood that it would apply to all meetings, I would have, as a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians, gone to the microphone to point out how far outside of normal practice this would be for an organization under Robert’s Rules of Order.  The standard for changing a Bylaw is, in every organization of which I have been a part, a 2/3 majority requirement.  It is not up to the Convention attendees to figure out what those on the Rules Committee have in mind when they make a Rule.  It must be clear to the reader of that rule.  The decision made by the entire Convention to pass the Rule was based not on the Committee’s intent (we had no way of knowing that, of course), but instead on the actual written words of the Rules document.  I have always considered the Convention the parent of the SREC, and that we are tasked to do the Convention’s work and will.  In this case, I, as a Convention participant, felt I understood what the Rule’s purpose was and that it applied to that Organizational meeting only. I totally get where those who read it see it differently, and I respect and appreciate their perspective.

After extensive debate and testimony, we had a roll call vote on the issue.  The SREC voted straight down the middle to uphold the Chair’s ruling that the Rule applied to the Organizational Meeting of our body, and a 2/3 vote with previous notice is required for other meetings to enact a Bylaw change. In a split vote, the Chair’s ruling stands. It is my hope that the Rules Committee at the 2018 Convention will handle and clarify this question for future SRECs.  

I’ve seen some very unfortunate, and frankly unbalanced, reports about this issue.  This saddens me, as I understand both sides are well meaning and want what’s best for the Party.  At the end of the day, it is my prayer that we would be about the work that really needs to be done and move on to things that really matter:  Passing Conservative Legislation, Reigning in Government overreach, Protecting the innocent, having Constitutionally aligned Courts, and electing amazing candidates.  I hope that is the reader’s goal too. 

Speaking of electing amazing candidates, the Mighty Texas Task Force is still in need of your help.  We need folks that can go help out this week in Shreveport and Lake Charles Louisiana with the US Senate race runoff. This race will determine if the US Senate will have 51 or 52 Republican Senators.  That election is holding early voting now, with the Election Day on Saturday, December 10.

We did end the day on a good note as we were invited to a reception at the Texas Governor’s mansion hosted by our Governor and Cecilia Abbot. The mansion, decorated for Christmas, was lovely.  The first dog, Pancake, wasn’t allowed to come out and visit, because it was so rainy.  

I want to wrap up my update with some news about the Electoral College.  The Electors, myself included, have been inundated with emails, letters, and in some cases calls, encouraging us to switch our votes.  Most have been cordial, if not delusional. However, at lease one fellow Texas Elector has been threatened and now has her mail screened each week by the FBI.  Let me be clear:  I am resolute.  I signed an affidavit -as did we all- at the Convention that I would vote for the Republican Candidate, and I am a girl of my word.  I’m looking forward to casting my Electoral College vote on December 19 in the Texas House Chamber for Donald Trump.  Doing so will honor the will of the voters of the State of Texas, and I am proud to have this opportunity.  State law calls for the  Electors who are present on December 19 to vote to replace any fellow Electors that do not show up to vote, since there is no official way to resign that position following the election.  It is my understanding that there will be at least one vacancy, and maybe more.  It is my intention to replace Electors (hopefully) with a qualified substitute from the missing Congressional District who will also honor the will of the voters and vote for Donald Trump. Please join me in praying for the safety and wisdom of all the Electors across our Nation.

Thank you for reading this way too long post.  Thank you for the honor of sharing the news from our Party and for allowing me to serve. Merry Christmas!

18 Short Days to reach millions of voters

18 Days until we elect a new President.  Early voting begins on Monday.  Mail-in ballots have already been sent and many have already been returned.  The time we have anticipated for 8 years is here!

Tuesday night we had a State-wide Republican Leadership call and I wanted to let you know the latest news and opportunities.

Texans are busy across the state and nation wooing voters for our candidates up and down the ballot.  Our Texas GOP Chair Tom Mechler and Victory Chair Texas Land Commissioner George P Bush called in from the campaign trail, working in Texas Congressman Will Hurd’s district.

National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell updated us on all that the RNC is doing to help Donald Trump and Republican candidates across the Nation to win their elections.  The RNC and Trump campaign have worked well together and she gave us some amazing statistics:  In Pennsylvania alone since the beginning of the year 94,784 Democrats have switched to the Republican Party. Another 46,000+ independent voters have joined the Republican Party.  And more than 200,000 brand new Republican Voters have been registered.

In just the 11 swing states more than 7 million doors have been knocked on!  If it’s quiet around here, it is because so many of our amazing Texas Volunteers have been helping out in those swing states.  In those same swing states 724,480 new Republican voters have been registered.

There is a lot going on here in Texas too.  In our own targeted 11 Congressional and Texas House District races 810,000 calls have been made and 65,000 doors knocked—all since the first of July. These are districts where the number of Republican-to-Democrat voters margin is very slim and we want to keep or gain that seat.

According to news reports 78% of all Texans of voting age are now registered to vote.  That’s 15 million voters.  According to a report by Derek Ryan:

More than a million new voter registrations since the March Primary Election

20,000 more women have registered than men.

One out of Four of the new voters have a Hispanic surname

The average age of new registrants is 36.4, with 43% under the age of 30

This brings me to the part where you can make a difference, because we need to reach out to these new and long-time voters with our message:

This Saturday, October 22 is SUPER SATURDAY BLOCK WALK day around the state.  Dallas is the closest one to us, so come join the fun.  For more information:  https://www.texasgop.org/take-action/

Actually, no need to wait till Saturday.  You can phone bank from home or along with others at the Phone Banks around the state.  If you want to phone bank for Trump:  https://talk.donaldjtrump.com

For those that would like to call Texans around the state for our candidates, then go here: http://bit.ly/MTSFCallsTexas  Vice Chairman Amy Clark is organizing this effort.

Dallas County has a lot of opportunities, and they are spread all over the county:  http://dallasgop.org/events/  For Dallas County Voting information including the early voting and election day voting sites:  http://dallasgop.org/voting-information/

Collin County GOP has targeted several swing precincts and have lists and door-hangers ready to go.  If you would like to help in this effort, call or drop by headquarters:  https://www.collincountygop.org For Collin County Voter information including the Early voting and election day polling locations and ballots:  https://www.collincountygop.org/collin-county-elections/collin-county-early-voting-locations

For those in Denton County, you have work to do also.  http://dentongop.org/volunteer.  Voting information for you may be found: http://www.votedenton.com/upcoming-election-information

The Texas GOP has updated the Ballot Integrity information and I will forward that new Manual to you if you will just email me and ask for it.  Also, for those that are working the polls as a Judge, Clerk, or Poll Watcher or Ballot Board member, the Republican Party of Texas is hosting a Webinar on Ballot Integrity this Thursday, Oct. 20, at 8pm (sorry for the short notice!).  If you would like to participate, shoot me an email and I’ll send you the sign up link.

Each of the Counties in our area are still in need of poll workers, watchers and greeters for November 8.  If you are available, and have the stamina (it is a 14-18 hour day), and want to be a great American by helping out, let your County Party Headquarters know.

Important dates to remember:

Early Voting runs Monday, October 24 through November 4.

The last day to request a ballot by mail is Friday, October 28.

ELECTION DAY Tuesday, November 8

Let’s pray together for our nation. Then let’s get out there and work.  Only 18 days to make a difference.

56 Days left, Ways to help, and RPT News

With only 56 Days till Election Day, the State Republican Executive Committee met in Austin this past weekend with a lot to do.

On Friday we met in committees.  I am honored to be serving as the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee this term.  As a Committee we will be looking at the Resolutions that have been submitted at each of our committee meetings and recommending those that are necessary and prudent to the full SREC for consideration. Of course the Platform speaks well and pretty thoroughly for the Party, so only gaps in that document will be considered.  We will also be charged with recommending up to three Legislative Priorities to be adopted by the SREC at our next meeting.  As we get closer to the next Primary, we will be tasked with coming up with some Ballot Initiatives to recommend.  For those wanting to present a Resolution, we approved the use of a Template to help with formatting and wording.  Since we were not yet an official committee on Friday (the Committees were not ratified until Saturday’s full SREC meeting) we did not recommend any Resolutions be passed this time.

On Saturday we met as a full SREC.  We did a lot of house-keeping type business:  Standing Rules, Ratifying the Committees and Officers of the Party.  This sounds like it was quickly done, but it actually took a lot of time.

We also elected our new Officials Committee.  The Officials Committee makes decisions on behalf of the SREC between our Regular meetings and handles sensitive information such as contracts.  I ran, and was elected to serve on that body, which is composed of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Texas, 5 SREC members who are elected, two SREC members appointed by our Chairman,  the officers of the Party (who are non-voting members of the Officials Committee) and our National Committeeman and Woman.

At our meeting we also heard from State Representative Stephanie Klick, who is heading up the Ballot Security Task Force and is looking for Attorneys around the state that will be on call to help out during the election.  Let me know if you know of an Attorney that would be willing to serve on an as-needed basis.

We heard from US House District 35 Candidate Susan Narvaiz.  She is running against Lloyd Doggett (a district that runs from Austin to San Antonio).  I was very impressed with her.  At lunch we heard from Stacy Hock from Texans for Education Opportunity.  If you want to know more about their Educational Choice plan for the next Legislative Session, check them out  here.

Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler debated the Democratic Chair Gilberto Hinojosa at a Relator’s Conference in Galveston last week, and was well received.  The goal of the Republican Party is to reach out to people of all walks of life and introduce them to what a Republican really stands for and the opportunities that our policies and principles will afford everyone.  The Democratic party is made up of Unions, Extreme Environmentalists, and Social Extremists.  It is up to us to get out our message:  We understand that minorities do not fit in those Democratic categories, and it is the Republican Party that represents their values and gives everyone opportunities for success.  As RNC Committeeman Robin Armstrong put it “We are the Party that champions the oppressed, starting with Abraham Lincoln till today.  We have real solutions for hurting communities”.

There are four Counties in Texas that currently do not have County Chairs.  Travis County will elect a new Chair at a Precinct Chair Executive Committee, but the other three are open if you know of anyone in Brooks, Ford or Zapata County.  We filled a vacancy in Uvalde County.

Speaking about County Chairs, there will be a proposed Rule presented at the December SREC meeting that would add a requirement to someone running for a County Republican Chairman spot to have a small percentage of the current Precinct Chairs sign a petition on their behalf.  The Texas Democratic party already has this requirement in place. The recent Travis County Chairman mess –if you missed this, it was a highly entertaining  disaster– is causing us to look at perhaps adopting a similar rule.   More about that after our December meeting.

We spent time hearing from and about the Cities of Houston and San Antonio as the two finalists for the 2018 RPT Convention.  San Antonio won!   We will consider where to hold the 2020 convention at our December meeting. My guess is that Houston will be recommended for that one.  My understanding is that they preferred to be host of a Presidential Election year convention.

We had a Presidential Campaign update from Eric Mahroum and Joshua Jones with the Texas Trump Campaign.  I liked what Eric said:  “Our goal is to never see a Clinton in politics again.”  You may get Trump campaign updates texted to you: just text “Trump” to 88022. Also, if you are available to make phone calls for Trump, go here  to get involved.

There are ways to help both here and around the nation for campaigns up and down the ballot.  Campaign in person with the The Mighty Texas Strike Force  and you can pick where you’d like to help out. Also, Texas GOP Vice Chair Amy Clark is organizing those that want to send postcards and make calls to around the US in support of Trump.  Her theme is “no volunteer left behind”.  If you contact her, she’ll send you all that you need to organize a postcard push   vicechair@texasgop.org .  This would be a fun project to do as a Republican Club at a meeting or as a social.

Both our Collin County and Dallas County Parties have opportunities for volunteering.  The Collin County GOP is holding a Volunteer Fair this Saturday, September 17, 10am-1pm at Cottonwood Creek Church.  This would be a great time and place to get plugged in: http://www.collincountygop.org .  The Dallas County GOP is also looking for Volunteers every day at both at the GOP Headquarters and around the County.  Give them a call or check out their website for more information: http://dallasgop.org

For those that attended the State Convention, the SREC certified the Platform Plank-by-Plank voting results. More than 8500 Delegates participated in this process.  All the Platform planks passed—the lowest one that passed did so with a 70.86% approval (Plank 206 which was “Hemp Cultivation”) and the highest was 98.53% (Plank 5 which was “Preserving American and Texas sovereignty and freedom”).

We have good news on the financial front.  In spite of the Dallas Convention Center hitting us with an enormous unexpected bill for things like electrical plugs and exorbitant audiovisual equipment charges, our State Convention came in $47,143 in the black.  Also, the State Party has $1,012,702 cash on hand as of 9/7/16 with all bills paid to zero.  So proud of that!

National Committee Woman Toni Anne Dashiell reported that the RNC has 1000 paid staffers across the nation that have a ground game that the Trump Campaign is utilizing as no Presidential Candidate has before. This includes 200 staffers in Florida, 49 in Michigan, New Hampshire has 47, Ohio has 112, Virginia has 61, Iowa has 61, North Carolina has 172, Nevada has 55, 99 in Pennsylvania, 59 in Wisconsin, and 47 located in Colorado. They have overseen the knocking on of more than 4.4 million doors, registered 724,488 new voters and trained 5000 other organizers to help carry the load.  By the way, there have been more than 290,000 calls made from Texas since July 1 from Strike Force and Victory Volunteers.  Every single day has opportunities to help out, with an extra special “Super Saturday” on Saturday, September 24.

The Candidate Resource Committee gave their third round of funding to qualified down-ballot candidates.  A thank you goes out to our own SD8 Jody Rushton who is serving on that Committee, and has been responsible for raising a good bit of money for this worthy cause.  Several Dallas County SD8 Candidates have received funds and Collin County Justice of the Peace Chuck Ruckel was also awarded some campaign help.  The CRC has given out more than $138,000 to many down-ballot races across the state.

With only a few days left to walk, call, write, and register, let’s all chip in and help.

Looking forward to (and praying for) November 8. Let’s get this done.

Disappointing news about Voter ID and other news from Austin

90 Days until November 8.  90 Days left to make a world of difference.

The State Republican Executive Committee and the Republican County Chairs from around the state met in Austin for training this weekend and here’s the latest news and opportunities:

By 2019 the state of Texas is projected to be a Minority Majority Voter-aged state.  A good bit of our work in the days ahead will be reaching out to voters of all types, races and ages.

Chairman Tom Mechler met with many pastors from Houston’s Fifth Ward this past week.  He reported that even though the meeting started out with most, if not all of them being Democrats, that by the end they were really listening and seemed open to the Republican vision and shared values.  This sort of outreach and dialogue will be vital to a vibrant and growing party, and we should all be looking for opportunities to do the same.

The Texas State Convention cost $1.4 million this year.  One new major added expense was the Plank-by-Plank voting by each Delegate on the Platform.  A survey of Convention Delegates showed that this Platform approval process was an overwhelming success. Here’s the good news: The convention broke even. This is in spite of the Dallas Convention Center charging us for things like each individual electrical plug per day (this amounted to quite a large expense).  There is a committee looking for our 2018 Convention location and expect a report, and perhaps a recommendation, to come before the SREC at the September meeting.

We heard from Joshua Jones, the Texas State Director for the Trump campaign. By the way, did you know that each state has a Trump Campaign director?  This hasn’t been done by Presidential Campaigns in the past, and it will be interesting to see how it works.  We had more Republican voters in the Primary than we’ve ever had before (by far!), and many of those are new Republican Voters.   We have an opportunity to get those new voters plugged in and back to the booth in November.  He also gave us good news:  Trump yard signs are coming, and the local County parties do not have to pay for them this election cycle.  It’s been a long time since this has been done, and a big advantage for the County Parties.  The past several elections our County Parties have had to have our Presidential Candidate signs printed and shipped at their own expense and hope that those that wanted the signs would pitch in and help pay for that expense.

Joshua Jones also said that the Trump campaign is focusing on 17 true battleground states.  Texas is sending volunteers to help out in many of them.  If you have not yet signed up to be a Mighty Texas Strike Force member, today is a good day to do it: www.texasgop.org/strikeforce Strike Force members will be traveling to 15 states and around Texas.  There are even opportunities to do strike force work from home by calling and mailing.

By the way, Donald Trump will be looking for 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes needed to win the Presidency.  As a member of the Electoral College this time, I sure do want to be one of those that gets to cast my vote for Trump!  But first we need to win Texas, since all our Electoral College votes go to the winner of our November 8 state-wide vote.

We also heard from Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush who is serving as our Texas Victory 2016 Chairman.  I noticed that what he said at our meeting made national news since he encouraged everyone to vote for Trump. There are 14 staff members around the state working to organize and mobilize our volunteer and voters.  The goal of Victory 2016 is to win our Republican ticket from President all the way down the ballot and to protect the Congressional and eight key Texas House races that have been targeted by the opposition.  One of the major races that we are focused on is the Congressman Will Hurd race.  This district is huge, reaching all the way from El Paso to the San Antonio area.  Republican turnout is key to winning any race, but especially in this tight swing district.

During our training we heard about all the mechanics of the State Party, the intricacies and regulations in dealing with Party finances and the duties of the various Committees within the SREC.  I won’t bore you with those details, but I will tell you that the Chairman has asked me to serve as the Chair of the Resolutions Committee for this term. Committee assignments were presented, but approval was postponed until our September meeting pending some adjustments to the lists.

Now to some disappointing news.  Our Texas Voter ID law was stuck down and an agreement was reached in the lower court (A Federal Court with a Judge that is an Obama Appointee) in Corpus Christi.   These new rules may not be altered, even if our Legislature has a remedy, without that specific Judge’s approval.  Persons listed on the voter rolls may,  after signing a “Voter’s Declaration of Reasonable Impediment or Difficulty” to having an ID, use a Utility bill, birth certificate, paycheck, and even and ID that has been expired up to 4 years, as their  ID to vote a Regular (not Provisional) ballot.  For those that work Elections, be watching for those new rules as we train for November.

There is still a plan by the Attorney General to appeal the Texas Voter ID case to the Supreme Court.  This is just another reason we need to elect Trump to be our next President.  The integrity of our elections is at risk by Courts that do not uphold the laws.  By the way, the difference in turnout in Harris County with and without Voter ID laws was 50,000 voters.  I am concerned that if someone stole my mail, that they might use it to early vote in my place. Once a regular ballot is cast, there is no way to pull it out from all the other ballots.  I’m planning on voting early in the Early Voting cycle to prevent this from happening, and encourage others to do the same.

The Candidate Resource Committee met all day on Friday and considered funding many down-ballot candidates from around the state. They have $126,000 to disperse, plus some outstanding pledges they hope will come in to fund more down-ballot candidates.  These County-level candidates are some of the most important races around Texas and even a small amount can make a big difference to assure victory.

Vice Chairman Amy Clark shared some fun news. A surprise, but a blessing, is heading for their family in December—they are expecting a little boy.  (Amy and her husband already have two daughters). Amy did a presentation about sharing our message and vision in a clear and positive manner.  We want voters to long for the outcome that our Principles and Platform promise as they go to the polls.  Getting sidetracked by the media is non-productive.  Stay on message, and keep it positive.  Arguments can be destructive, but constructive debate is healthy. She challenged us to figure out on a personal level why it is important to bother to vote, and look clearly at what happens if we don’t.  Communicate that passion to others.  What will America look like as you imagine the future?  Will our borders be safe and secure? Will our men and women in the military be supported and provided with the needed training, equipment and manpower?  What will happen with States Rights? What will happen on the Supreme Court?  It is up to us to motivate others to vote for our Freedom-loving Candidates.

There will be at least 20 “Unite to Win” trainings around the state. I’d like to invite you to come to the Saturday, September 10 training at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho Rd, Richardson, 10am-3pm.

The next official meeting of the SREC will be in Austin on September 9-10.  Any Republican is welcome to come sit in, or you may watch the Saturday session on live-streaming from the comfort of your own home.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.  Let’s pray for our country, our state and our local elected officials and candidates.  Then let’s get out there and work like crazy.

Dates you’ll want to put on your calendar… and Texas GOP news

Did you know that there are just 103 days till Election Day? We need to make each day count.

The SREC and County Chairmen participated in a Texas GOP leadership call on Monday. Chairman Tom Mechler reminded us that our most important job is to get our candidates elected from the top of the ticket to the bottom. In the next 103 days there will be many opportunities for us all to help get that job done.

I’m hesitant to tell you about the first guest on the Leadership Call, lest you shoot the messenger. I know most of us feel strongly about him, for good or for bad, following the convention: A very subdued (at least that is how he sounded to me) Senator Ted Cruz joined us on the call for a few minutes. In addressing his remarks at the convention he said that they were “not heard or perceived in a way that I had intended.” Senator Cruz went on to say that his intention was to unify the party through standing behind shared values and a focus on freedom that would bring us together. He said he hoped for unity, and that we need to win this Election. Later in the call he mentioned (after a question about Obamacare) that this is a critical difference between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and that we need to win the White House, the Senate and the House. (Personal note: let’s put this behind us and focus on winning. We have too much to do to get stuck in this mud of this. Our Nation depends on us!)

Now on to how you can make a difference:

We now have twelve “Texas Victory 2016” staff members in place around the state. They are organizing block walks and phone banks and all the other work that makes for a successful election. Here’s a link to some of opportunities: http://www.texasgop.org/take-action

Strike Force Texas is fanning Republicans out across the state and nation to bring home Victories. If you haven’t already volunteered, or would like to see the options of where Strike Forces groups are going, check out here is the link: http://www.texasgop.org/strikeforce These trips are at your own expense, but there are opportunities as close as Dallas County, so don’t let costs deter you from helping out.

There will be at least 19 “Unite to Win” trainings held around the state. The ones closest to us are Denton County on August 27 and Dallas on September 10. These Trainings are open to anyone who wants to make a difference and get Republicans Elected.

If you are not already a Precinct Chair, now is a good time to check and see if you can fill a spot for your neighborhood. Call your County Party to volunteer (Collin County GOP: 972-540-5985, Dallas County GOP:214-369-9555) . If you are currently a Precinct Chair now is the time to renew your GOP Data access–the GOP’s database of all voters. This can be done through your County Party or email me and I will request it in for you (include the email address you used for your past access). If you have never had access to this resource, there is paperwork to fill out and send in through your County Party or SREC member.
The new Rules that govern our Party that were passed at the Texas GOP Convention and posted on the website were found to have some mistakes. The good news is that the mistakes were discovered, the Rules portion from the convention floor was carefully viewed and reviewed, and the Rules now posted on the Texas GOP website have been fixed and updated.

Some very important dates we will want to put on our calendars now:

Presidential Debates should provide more entertainment that any in history. Get your popcorn ready. The dates for those are: September 26, October 9, and October 19.

Only one Vice Presidential Debate will be held: October 4. This one should prove to be a bit more ….calm.

The last day to Register to vote will be Tuesday, October 11 (organize your Voter Registration Drives now!)

Early Voting will run from October 24- November 4.

Election Day (NEW President Day!): November 8

The State Republican Executive Committee and County Chairs will hold training in Austin on August 6. The second official meeting of the newly elected SREC will be held that day to confirm the appointments of new County Chairs and the Committee Chairs for the SREC. The SREC will meet again on September 8-9 to conduct the full business of the State Party. Look for your next updates from me following those meetings.

I am looking forward to working alongside of you in the next 103 days. I’m honored to share with you these updates, and to serve you on the State Republican Executive Committee

My take on the Texas GOP 2016 Convention

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. For Collin County Voting Locations, dates and times click here: http://www.collincountytx.gov/elections/election_information/Pages/election_day.aspx
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.