Fourth Quarterly SREC Meeting Recap
The State Republican Executive Committee met for its 4th and final quarterly meeting of 2013 on December 6th and 7th. On Friday, December 6th, the various committees met to discuss business that would be brought forward at the general meeting of the full SREC the following day. The Officials Committee met to discuss the current operations of the RPT, including our victory program, financial status, and convention planning. Unfortunately, the Party Organization Committee was unable to meet so its members elected to sit in on the meeting of the Resolutions Committee instead. The Resolutions Committee, chaired by Assistant General Counsel and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Eric Opiela, met to consider over 30 ballot propositions and were able to reduce the number voted on by the SREC down to the six most important questions.
The Grassroots Club Committee, chaired by Candy Noble, met to discuss the current status of the Grassroots Club and possible ways to increase membership. The Rules Committee, chaired by Dennis Paul, discussed various changes to the RPT rules and bylaws that were postponed from the 3rd quarterly SREC meeting.
The Volunteerism Committee met to discuss the volunteerism needs of the state convention as well as what needs to be done in order to be prepared for the amount of work the convention will require. The Auxiliaries and Coalitions Committee met to discuss the upcoming yearly review of the RPT’s Auxiliaries and Coalitions.
Saturday morning kicked off with a reception at the Governor’s mansion which included an opportunity for SREC members to meet with Governor Perry and hear a short speech from him before heading over to the general meeting.
The SREC meeting began with a wonderful prayer service with a very large crowd. Shortly after the prayer service, Chairman Munisteri called the meeting to order which began with an invocation from Pastor Rex Johnson, followed by the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Linda Butts and Marvin Clede, respectively. Pastor Johnson’s daughters Caitlin and Cassidy, as well as his fellow church members Twila LaBar, Leroy Robinson, and Kevin Riley joined SREC member Rhonda Lacy in leading the meeting in singing the national anthem before RPT’s own Organization Director, Cassie Daniel, led the singing of Texas, Our Texas.
After approving the minutes from the September SREC meeting, State Senator Dan Patrick gave a short speech on the status of his campaign for Lieutenant Governor, as well as what he aspires to do if he wins the election. The next speaker, who was also the breakfast sponsor for the meeting, is a candidate for Place 4 on the Criminal Court of Appeals, Kevin Yeary. He spoke about his experience as a judge and his qualifications to serve on the court.
The Rules Committee then gave their report on what they had discussed the day before. Following that report, the SREC voted on and passed the rules changes discussed in the committee. During the past legislative session, the legislature opened the election code to allow state parties to make their own rules regarding party business that was previously regulated by the election code. While most of the election code allows the new rules to be adopted at state convention, some of the rules specifically had to be adopted by the SREC or, because of the convention calendar, temporary rules had to be adopted now by the SREC in order to be in effect for the current election cycle. In summary, the rules changes adopted at this meeting allow each County Executive Committee to set the date for their precinct conventions, clarify what has previously been state law for Senate District and County Conventions to be held on the 3rdSaturday following the primary election and allow for electronic submission of convention minutes, delegate lists and resolutions. In addition, the new rules allow County Executive Committees at their organization meetings to define quorum for filling vacancies. It was imperative that the rules changes be adopted at this past meeting so we could file our new rules with the SOS before the February deadline. Under state law, if we did not meet this deadline the Republican Party would have had all of our candidates disqualified from the November ballot. For a copy of the strike/add version of the most current RPT Rules, please click here.
Before breaking for lunch, the SREC heard from one of the candidates for Governor, Lisa Fritsch. She spoke about her past experiences as well as her time on the campaign trail so far as she seeks the Governor’s office when Governor Perry steps down next year. Following Ms. Fritsch’s speech, the meeting took a short break for lunch which was sponsored by Jani Jo Wood, candidate for Place 4 on the Court of Criminal Appeals.
After lunch the SREC heard from another Court of Criminal Appeals candidate, David Newell, who is running for Place 9. He spoke about his experiences as an appellate prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s office, obtaining his certification in Criminal Law as well as Criminal Appellate Law, and why they make him a qualified candidate for the Court of Criminal Appeals. Candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, J Allen Carnes, then gave a short speech on his qualifications for Agriculture Commissioner and how his past experiences growing up on a farm and working for a produce company in Uvalde helped him decide to run for office.
Next up to speak was a candidate for Texas Comptroller, Debra Medina. She spoke about her recent attempt to run for Governor in 2010 as well as her desire to fight for conservative rights as a seventh generation Texan in the Comptroller’s office. Following her speech the SREC heard from Malachi Boyuls. Malachi spoke about his campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner as well as his experiences serving on the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board, which Governor Perry appointed him to in 2010, and the importance of the Railroad Commission.
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst then had a chance to speak about his campaign for re-election and the importance of continuing the conservative work done in recent years in the State House and Senate and why he wants to continue serving as Lieutenant Governor well past the 2014 elections.
Next on the agenda was voting on the six ballot propositions that the Resolutions Committee had brought forward to the full body, after dwindling them down from a list of more than 30 proposed the day before. These ballot propositions included:
- Texans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer, in public places.
- Texans should support Second Amendment liberties by expanding locations where concealed handgun license-holders may legally carry.
- Texans should abolish the state franchise tax, also known as the margins tax, to encourage business growth.
- Texas recipients of taxpayer-funded public assistance should be subject to random drug testing as a condition of receiving benefits.
- All elected officials and their staff should be subject to the same laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances as their constituents.
- The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, should be repealed.
Following ballot propositions, the SREC voted on adoption of the Supplemental Rules for the election to fill the spot of Committeewoman for SREC SD-16. The supplemental rules passed and the meeting moved forward with the election. The candidates nominated for the position included Virginia Prodan, Jan Woody, and Liz Case. The first ballot had the closest results in recent memory with each candidate getting roughly 1/3 of the vote. After the second ballot, Liz Case decided to withdraw from the race and after three ballots we had a winner. We are glad to welcome Virginia Prodan as a member of the SREC and we are confident her political experience will serve as a great influence for all SREC members. SREC member and candidate for Railroad Commissioner, Becky Berger, and candidate for U.S. Senate, Chris Mapp, both gave short speeches on the status of their campaigns and why they are seeking office.
The SREC then voted on two proposed bylaws changes. The first bylaws change clarified when the new Chairman/Vice-Chairman of the Party assumes office following their election at the state convention. This bylaws passed unanimously. The second bylaws change regarding the operations of Auxiliaries and Coalitions was not voted on and will instead be discussed further by the Auxiliaries and Coalitions Committee prior to the next SREC meeting in 2014.
Justice Phil Johnson, Candidate for re-election to Place 8 of the Texas Supreme Court, then gave a short speech. He spoke about his experiences serving as an appellate court judge before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005 by Governor Perry.
Chairman Munisteri then gave his officer report to the SREC. He spoke about the status of the RPT including Victory Operations, new staff, and the financial status of the Party. He went into more detail on the new expansions to the Victory program that included the hiring of an additional staffer in the Harris County office, adding a staffer in Dallas to complement our existing operations in Fort Worth, and the hiring of a staffer down in Nueces County, as well as our hopes to open offices in El Paso and The Valley in early 2014. He also took some questions from SREC members regarding his recent trips to Washington D.C. to attend committee meetings for RNC Rules and the national convention. He advised the SREC that there are some big announcements to look forward to coming out of these committees in the near future.
Following the Chairman’s report the SREC heard from Texas Railroad Commission Candidate Wayne Christian. He spoke about his time spent in the Legislature and serving on the Regulated Industries Committee as well as the Energy Committee and how his experiences in the oil and gas industries make him a good candidate for Railroad Commissioner.
Officer reports continued following Representative Christian’s speech and began with a joint presentation from Vice-Chair Melinda Fredericks and National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell. They spoke about the fake “war on women” that the Democrats say Republicans are perpetrating as well as the importance of women in politics and the increasingly large number of women who appear the ballot every election cycle.
National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong was unable to attend the meeting this quarter due to his wife falling ill so we ask that you please say a prayer for them as she continues her recovery.
Treasurer Tom Mechler and Assistant Treasurer Tom Washington then presented a more detailed look into the RPT’s finances. They reported that this year’s revenues remain ahead of last year’s and that the Party continues to be in excellent financial shape. They also reported that the RPT will once again end the year will all bills paid to $0. General Counsel Patrick O’Daniel then reported that all reports were once again filed in time with the FEC and TEC, and the RPT remains a named defendant in one redistricting lawsuit.
Following officer reports were committee reports. Marian Stanko, Chair of the Party Organization Committee gave her report on what they are working on to increase participation in the convention and primary election processes. Leslie Recine, Chairwoman of the Volunteerism Committee gave her report on recruiting volunteers for the state convention and how clubs can get more involved with the state convention.
Next up was the Grassroots Club Committee, Chaired by Candy Noble. She reported that there has been a dropoff in the number of Grassroots Club members in the last few months and passed out some signup cards for SREC members to take back to their districts. The Candidate Resource Committee, chaired by Jane Cansino, then gave their report on how they plan to support candidates following the primary election in March and some of their preparations for the state convention. The final committee to give their report was the Auxiliaries and Coalitions Committee, chaired by Tina Gibson. She spoke about the yearly review of all RPT auxiliaries and bylaws which they will discuss more before the next meeting.
Following officer reports, the SREC heard from Connor Pfeiffer, Chairman of the High School Republicans of Texas. He gave a report on the most recent number of HSRT chapters and announced that he will be stepping down as chairman at the end of December due to his graduation. He announced that he is already looking for good candidates to fill the role of Chairman once he leaves and will help create a plan to continue creating new HSRT chapters after he is gone.
Follwing Connor’s Auxiliary Report, keypins were awarded to the SREC members that have raised more than $1,000 for the state party. Keypins were awarded to SREC members Davida Stike, Dennis Paul, and Neal Katz. No new business was brought before the SREC following keypins and the meeting was adjourned.
The next quarterly meeting of the SREC will be held on March 27th and 28th at RPT headquarters in Austin.