Report on the OK GOP Credentials Committee March 28

Because of recent rumors, I decided to attend the Porter DavisCredientials Committee meeting to ascertain the truth for myself. If the GOP is to maintain faith with the people, it is essential that the rules are followed transparently and efficiently.

In the case of credentials, votes on all elections for rules, officers, platform and resolutions depend upon getting an accurate count of qualified delegates.

In previous conventions, problems and confusion in registration and credentialing have left a feeling of suspicion and distrust in many. If we are to unify the GOP, in addition to diligently and fearlessly pursing our principles, we need to restore faith in the process itself. What I observed today indicates that Chairman Weston and others in positions of leadership and responsibility want to do just that.

The stated goal, echoed by many, was to have a more efficiently run, more transparent convention. No one who has attended recent conventions would want it any other way. Many of us have invited new people to conventions, only to have them mark that off their list of things to do forever. We obviously can’t grow the party and get people involved if something as important as a convention is a mess.

So what about that April 7 registration deadline?

That is the date the staff wants to get as many registrations in as possible so that the convention can start on time and run efficiently, and not be unduly delayed by a traffic jam at registration. That’s a reasonable request, that I would certainly suggest you register on line by the deadline. I will.

If you don’t pre-register, you can still show up by 9 am at the convention April 11 and register. If your name is on the list submitted by your county chairman, you fill out the forms, pay your fee, and get your delegate badge. If your name is not on the list, get your county chairman and take it to the Credentials Committee. Bring your photo ID or equivalent to prove you are the person registered. Sounds sensible to me.

One other reason to pre-register is in case you are late arriving. Provision has been made for updating the credentials report at least once, adding anyone who registers on site that was not preregistered. That’s if you have a flat tire, etc., getting there. Theoretically, if I understand the process, a person could show up and check in, or even register, just prior to a credentials update before a vote. Although this provision is in the spirit of accomodating those who come late, it could raise some questions at the event.

What about counting and recording those votes?

The procedure for voting seems reasonable and transparent. It involves mulitple checks and reports. While no system is foolproof, this one looks like it should work well. If someone was determined to cheat the system, it would most likly be at the County Chair level. Only personal integrity will prevent someone from voting the ballots of someone who has left the convention and passed then on, in violation of the rules.

On a reassuring note, it appears that ex-State Chair and current State Auditor, Gary Jones, will be nominated as Convention Chair. As an elected, statewide official, and auditor at that, his reputation can be helped or hurt by how he conducts the convention. I expect him to perform that role such that all agree he did an excellent job that is beyond reproach.

A minor rules change is needed.

Though not part of the official credentials business, many of the relevant rules were reviewed and discussed. There was consensus that the Rules Committee should re-visit Rule IV on Election of Party Officials, Section C concerning runoffs. As currently written, in the case of a run-off election, there is no provision for additional time for the remaining candidates to address the convention, unless they are tied.

Since we have three strong candidates running for State Chair, it is highly likely that we will have a runoff. It would only make sense to allow the remaining two to address the convention for at least 90 seconds more to make their case to those who voted for the eliminated candidate. Hopefully the Rules Committee, when it reconvenes, will agree with the consensus of those at today’s meeting and amend this part of the rules.

[I’ve always found it odd that we have time to listen to run on political speeches at conventions, only to rush the time available to hear more from our candidates about their plans if elected.]

Be there!

I urge everyone who was elected a delegate to the State Convention to attend. This is a crtitical time for our nation and our state. We need to elect officers who will do what needs to be done at this time — to build the grassroots into a strong enough political force to elect, and hold accountable, representatives at the state and local levels who will consistently apply our foundational principles to public policy.

Remember: 50 % + 1 vote wins any election. Make a difference at this important time. Register early. Study the candidate’s platforms and plans. Show up. And vote. I will.

Report on the 2015 OK County GOP Convention

I’ve had a week to reflect on the 2015 OK County Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Convention held March 7 at OCCC. Having barely lost my race for Vice Chair, I wanted to get past the sting of defeat and gather perspective. On the whole, I’m optimistic the county party can become the dynamic grassroots force it was 50 years ago when Al Snipes put the GOP on the Oklahoma political map.

1. What we are doing is NOT working! The elephant in the living room (but not in the convention hall) is that too few people believe participation in the GOP is worth it. Over half the precincts (54%) had NO representation, and most of the others were under-represented. About 350 attended precinct meetings in January and were delegates. After adding about 80 more people, only 262 people were actually credentialed, for 257 precincts. Most people hate politics as usual, and don’t see that their participation can make a difference. Little that happened Saturday would change their minds.

2. The convention was poorly promoted. After the precinct meetings January 27, I saw nothing from the county party promoting the convention. Maybe half the listed delegates I called were unaware, or unsure, of the date and location. The Lincoln-Reagan dinner scheduled for two days before had such an abysmal sign up that it was postponed until May 7.

3. Many elected officials were AWOL, especially those who are not up for election in 2016. The same goes for ex-elected officials (I counted three ex-legislators, including myself) and ex-party officers.Something is wrong when that many seasoned veterans are uninvolved in this precarious time we live.

4. The predominant themes were unity, diversity, and outreach to new people, especially minorities and young adults. The irony was that we had much more representation in those demographics participating in previous years. There were around 700 people at the 2008 convention, with at least a third under the age of 30. Saturday, I’d guess the average age was around 65, with very few under 30. I saw 1 black, 4 Hispanics and 1 Asian.

5. As usual, there were two apparent factions. The first is proud of the fact that Oklahoma is the “reddest of the red states,” marked by the decisive, growing GOP dominance. “Our party this”, and “our party that” were dominant themes. The other was decidedly more activist/grassroots oriented. Their theme was more about building the grassroots and returning the GOP to its stated foundational principles: limited government, individual liberty, personal moral responsibility, and natural law. As these are brought together in a unified effort, the GOP will be able to change Oklahoma for the better.

6. There has been no massive ideological conversion by the legislature to the OK GOP’s foundational principles. The shift has been accomplished more by the combination of term limits and the revulsion of Oklahomans to Obama and other national Democrats. Opportunistic politicians now register Republican and mouth conservative rhetoric. Fifteen years ago many of them would have been Democrats. Republicans have sponsored all the outrageous bills that the liberty-loving grassroots have been fighting in recent years.

7. The State Chamber of Commerce has become a more aggressive, overt player. Indeed, the only slate to appear originated with a long-time Chamber lobbyist. From their backroom deal that created HB 1017 for Oklahoma’s last major tax increase in 1990, to their support for Common Core and industry subsidies and favors, to their recruitment and heavy funding of candidates, the Chamber has replaced the OEA as the major force in Oklahoma politics. As one example, their new Senator Yen introduced a bill to make all vaccines mandatory, a basic violation of individual liberty.

8. The best measure of the strength of these two factions probably lies in my own race for Vice Chair. My platform was aimed at building up the grassroots as a strong force to hold state and local elected officials accountable. I also promoted unity and outreach, as well as openness, transparency and integrity in the entire process. I got almost 49% of the vote.

9. Oklahoma County has some rising stars. I’ll mention only two, partly because I was preoccupied with my campaign during the speakers. Randy Grau, my State Rep, is polished in every way with a positive energy for reform of basic processes and values. And Estela Hernandez, running for State Vice Chair, energized the crowd with her passion sharing many of the basic themes of the convention. This smart, attractive entrepreneur and mother of three, could have a big impact on the party. I have yet to hear of an opponent.

10. This convention was the least overtly contentious and smoothest run since I began attending again in 2008. The credentialing process ran smoothly, due in part to the small number of delegates. There was no platform fight. Unfortunately, it was close to noon before we got to the main order of business. There has to be a better way.

11. I expect great things from the new County Chair, Daren Ward. He ran on a unity platform and has expressed great support for the solution to many of our problems — building the grassroots through precinct town meetings. He even wants to hold quarterly meetings of the County Committee, composed of the chairs and vice chairs of each precinct. This has not been done in recent history. He appears to have the integrity, determination and skills to make it happen. I will do my best to help him be successful in this effort.

12. Evelyn McCoy, new Vice Chair, brings a lot of experience and skills to the table. As a member of the Executive Committee, I’ve been impressed particularly with the amazing work her team is doing in the Hispanic community. Going far beyond politics, they are serving that part of our community helping people learn English as a second language, as well as helping them navigate the naturalization process. She has some great ideas for reform. I look forward to helping her establish active precinct organizations in the neighborhoods she serves so they can get the representation they need.

13. We have a great opportunity to make Oklahoma County an example for the rest of the state. The GOP has the foundational principles which, if correctly and consistently applied to public policy, can transform Oklahoma into a beacon of freedom and prosperity for the rest of the nation. Our county can help lead the way.

14. The key is to develop the grassroots into a strong political and social force. We can do that by establishing regular, meaningful town meetings in each precinct. I believe so much in their potential to help solve our problems that I launched an independent effort towards this end at the start of the year. Please check it out at OKGrassrootsProject.com. Plans are already under way to start regular precinct town meetings in Precinct 111, which I chair. The plan is to meet monthly, with high quality content for information and training, with livestreaming and video archives. Our goal is to increase participation, GOP membership and adherence to our foundational principles.

15. I want to thank all who attended the convention. Many people served on the rules, credentials and platform committees, as well as registration, security and arrangements. Out-going Vice Chair Cheryl Williams did a great job managing the event. And thanks to those who have volunteered to serve, as well as those who did, but weren’t elected to the offices.

16. Other officers elected are:
• State Committeeman: Ronn Cupp
• State Committeewoman: Sylvia Morales
• District 4 Committeewoman: Valorie J. Filippo
• District 4 Committeeman: Jerome Montgomery
• District 5 Committeeman: Scott Chance
• District 5 Committeeman: Paul Sublett