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Kent County Republican Committee - January 2011 County Convention
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
From the Official Call:
There shall be a meeting of the duly elected Precinct Delegates and the At-Large Delegates to the County Convention at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2011 at the Western Michigan University Conference Center in Grand Rapids (200 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI - 49503).
The purpose of this meeting shall be to elect Delegates and Alternates to the January 28 & 29, 2011 State Convention to be held at DeVos Place in the City of Grand Rapids. The purpose of the State Convention is to elect district and state party leadership.
Only Precinct Delegates elected at the August 3, 2010 Primary Election, the most recent Republican nominees for County and State legislative offices, and Precinct Delegates seated on a permanent basis at the August 2010 County Convention will be seated and considered eligible to vote at this convention. We will be using an apportionment method based on the 2010 General Election results for the Secretary of State by district.
My report on the convention follows the break.
My first official act as the District Chair for my county commission district had been to send out a reminder letter last Thursday to all of the precinct delegates in my district, essentially a polite personal invitation to come to the convention and perhaps be selected to serve as a convention delegate to the district and state conventions three weeks from now. I followed up by phone over the weekend to get a feel for who would or wouldn't be able to show. I knew that I'd have enough to fill up the voting delegate portion of the caucus form, what I didn't know was whether or not I'd have enough to fill up the slots for alternates.
As in November (and, quite frankly, as usual), Christie and I arrived early so as to have better parking and seating options, and so as to provide us with the maximum available "meet and greet" time before the Executive Committee meeting that would precede the convention. Also as in November, the Grand Hall of the WMU Conference Center had been very well organized. Christie and I had arrived at about 5:45 p.m., ahead of everyone else, but by 6:00 p.m. the rest of the crowd had begun to arrive in sizeable numbers.
The Executive Committee Meeting (Sam Moore's first as Kent GOP Chair) that preceded the convention started about on time, and after the housekeeping items at the head of the agenda, we got right down to the unfinished business from the November meeting. I didn't catch the margin by which the vote was decided, but Tina Dupont was confirmed as the Kent GOP Secretary.
After this, Chairman Moore announced the Executive Committee Meeting Schedule for 2011. Due to the gap between when the lease expires on the current headquarters and when the move-in will be complete at the new headquarters, the February through May meetings will be held at an off-site location. (Exactly where wasn't mentioned, but my guess is that the EC will be informed in advance through normal channels.) He then announced a staff change. Mandy Bolter has accepted a position with State Representative Peter MacGregor (R-73rd), so Justin Swan has been appointed to fill the vacancy at Executive Director.
Chairman Moore also noted that all three county chair positions in the 3rd Congressional District have been filled with under-30 individuals, thus providing evidence of a generational shift in party leadership trends. (I heard a few lighthearted comments from the row behind me wondering whether the 3rd District Chair would provide the necessary adult supervision.) He then announced that, due to his assumption of the party chairmanship and Dupont's election as Secretary, two vacancies had now opened up on the Executive Committee. Nominations to fill those vacancies will be advanced at the February Executive Committee Meeting.
During the public comment period, both Dick Stewart and Frank Murin announced their candidacy for the [two] positions on the GRCC Board of Trustees that will be decided in the May school board elections.
Mr. Stewart is a former professor at Cornerstone University. Due to his experience, he is very familiar with how an education institution is supposed to be run. All three of his next-door neighbors (both sides and across the street) are currently unemployed, and he sees this as an indicator of how the people just cannot afford even local tax increases right now. The voters countywide have rejected the two most recent millage requests by GRCC, and the college seems to be running just fine without the extra money. He will, if elected, continue to oppose tax increase requests by the college.
Mr. Murin is a local business owner and was one of State Representative Tom Hooker's primary opponents last year for the 77th House District. He is a known constitutional conservative, and is appalled that GRCC is using taxpayer dollars to openly promote the LBGT agenda through the arts program. Worse, the two most recent instances of this are also open and direct attacks on Christianity. He will, if elected, oppose this clear misuse of both taxpayer dollars and the arts programs at GRCC.
At this point, the Executive Committee meeting was adjourned. We were informed that we had about a half hour to socialize before the County Convention was called to order. During the break, I congratulated Tina Dupont on her win. I also spoke with Harold Mast, my county commissioner, and we discussed delegate assignments for our district. (We had six people present and five voting slots to fill.)
Chairman Moore called the convention called to order on time, and recognized Shana Shroll as the Temporary Convention Secretary. Shroll read the Official Call to Convention. The temporary convention officers were appointed. Following this, Moore (Convention Chair) and Shana (Convention Secretary) were nominated and elected to permanent status in their positions, as were the remaining convention officers.
Eileen McNeil, who is a very well-known figure within the Kent GOP, was given some time at the lectern to discuss her candidacy for MIGOP Outreach Vice-Chair. She noted that our victories in 2010 had been accomplished with the electoral wind at our backs, but in the 2012 campaign we will have that same wind in our faces. She sees her mission as Outreach Vice-Chair to assist both candidates and grassroots activists articulate the core principles of the Republican Party and effectively get our message out to the general public. In her opinion, the GOP must begin now to actively frame the debate that will bring our great state back to prosperity and restore it to a position of true national leadership.
Sarah Ledford, was then given some time at the lectern to discuss her candidacy for MIGOP Youth Chair. She began by mentioning that she now has the support of Congressman Justin Amash, which now gives her six of the nine republican members of Michigan's congressional delegation. She also now has support from the entire 3rd Congressional District presence on the MIGOP state committees, as well as 9 of the 15 congressional district chairs. She mentioned how she had put together a youth coalition at U-M that infiltrated the student government and student newspaper, and still has a strong on-campus presence. She also discussed her battle plan to win in 2012.
Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land performed the oath of office for the convention officers:
Chairman Moore then read the agenda for the district and state conventions, and stressed the importance of active attendance for those who would be selected as voting delegates. Then we were broken out to caucus by district.
In District 12, we quickly selected who of the six people present would serve as an alternate, recorded the other five as voting delegates, and reported four vacancies for alternates to the convention officers.
Once we reconvened, Judge Jane Markey spoke about the Brian Zahra appointment. She spoke very highly of Judge Zahra and also of Justice Stephen Markman, who will be running for re-election in 2012. She noted that Justice Marilyn Kelly will be age limited and cannot run for re-election in 2012 (the Judgepedia article incorrectly lists her term expiration date). Judge Markey not-so-subtly hinted that she is considering running to fill the Kelly vacancy.
Chairman Moore then mentioned that Kent GOP had closed on their new headquarters building last Thursday (January 6th). The move-in will be in June, and the capital campaign to fund the purchase (right now the building is under a land contract) and renovation starts effective immediately. He then spoke briefly in support of Bobby Schostak for MIGOP State Chair.
Nancy Steckler from the East Kent County Republicans spoke about an event that they're hosting on Tuesday, January 18th: "Redistricting in Michigan" - An Informational Meeting and Discussion. The guest speaker will be Robert LaBrant, SVP of Political Affairs and General Council for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
Joanne Voorhees, immediate past Chair of Kent GOP then announced her candidacy for the Congressional District 3 Chair being vacated by Kim Yob. She gratefully acknowledged Kim's four years of service, and asked for convention delegate support for her candidacy.
Kim Yob then presented the Committee on Credentials report of the district results for voting delegates and alternates. Bob Kinney then recommended that the results be certified.
The convention then adjourned.
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