October 2, 2017
Dear SREC Members and County Chairs,
The weekend before last, the State Republican Executive Committee met in Austin to conduct its business during the 3rd Quarterly meeting as required in our bylaws. Both days were packed with meaningful discussions and included some touching moments as we honored those who have gone above and beyond in sacrificial service. For those of you who attended — thank you for all of your work to help make the meeting productive.
Upon final adjournment, the SREC had successfully established two new committees and had delivered resolutions on the Alamo, the House Speaker selection process, and preserving historical landmarks. We also moved forward on electronic voting to be used at the next SREC meeting and the SD Caucuses at State Convention, ratified appointments of 4 new county chairs, and approved researching new locations for RPT headquarters. Additionally, in an exciting new development, our Saturday meeting was interpreted for the Deaf both in person and on our livestream.
I would like to thank Comptroller Glenn Hegar (shown left) for sponsoring this SREC meeting. He spoke to us for a few minutes at the Saturday meeting. You can view his remarks HERE.
Ash Wright, spokesman for Land Commissioner George P. Bush, also addressed the body. We appreciate Commissioner Bush’s sponsorship of the joint RPT/TRCCA County Chair training held on September 9th. You can view his remarks HERE.
Below is a summary of the weekend’s events.
Friday, Sept. 22nd Special Meeting of the SREC:
One of my campaign promises was to help and encourage SREC members to serve in the places where they are most interested. Over the summer, all SREC members were given an open, transparent process by which to communicate whether they would like to leave or join a committee. The purpose of this Friday meeting was to ratify changes in committee membership so that all committees could operate at full strength during their Friday committee meetings. Here is a list of those committees as ratified by the SREC.
Our committees met throughout the day to discuss their business and determine what needed to be reported to the body. Please see the reports below for all the motions and reports arising from these meetings.
Volunteer of the Year (VOY) Dinner:
Our party runs on the heart and soul of the amazing and dedicated volunteers who serve across the state, and we accomplish our mission through their tireless and selfless efforts. Although we will never adequately recognize all of these wonderful people, we take time every two years to honor those who have stood out in volunteer service. For the Volunteer of the Year award dinner, each pair of SREC members selected one person within their district to be honored. Star Parker gave the keynote address, and RNC Committeeman Robin Armstrong and RNC Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell recognized many of the efforts of each volunteer in advancing our Republican cause.
Saturday, Sept. 23rd 3rd Quarterly Meeting of the SREC:
Our entire meeting was livestreamed and is archived on YouTube. As you will see below, I am including links to specific places within the livestream so you can watch whichever parts most interest you.
Thank you to our Chaplain Jeremy Story as well as Deon Starnes (SD 30), Chris McDonald (SD 6), Rhonda Lacy (SD 31), and Jack Barcroft (SD 24) for leading our invocation, pledges, and songs. Right is a photo of Rhonda Lacy leading us in singing “Texas, Our Texas”.
Treasurer and Legal Counsel Reports (view livestream HERE)
I sincerely appreciate the time-intensive work of these individuals and the professional services they offer our Party. RPT Treasurer Larry Hicks (shown left) works closely with Jennifer Stoner and John Alvey and our outside compliance staff to ensure the critical financial and reporting functions of the Party are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of professional and personal ethics. RPT General Counsel Chris Gober is a nationally known election law expert and well-respected in Texas and by the White House. Congratulations are in order for RPT Assistant General Counsel Trey Trainor who received an amazing honor recently when President Trump nominated him to a seat on the Federal Election Commission.
RNC Reports (view livestream HERE)
- National Committeeman Robin Armstrong reported from the RNC Executive Committee and discussed the Senate Healthcare bill and the 2018 elections. See his presentation slides here.
- National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell reported on her work on the RNC Budget and Presidential Nominating Process Committees and discussed the 2017 Campaign Management Schools. See her presentation slides here.
Vice Chair Report (view livestream HERE)
RPT Vice Chair Amy Clark (shown left) shared the amazing efforts of so many SREC members on the #RPTServes Harvey relief efforts. We honored Amy in a small way for her heroic work in leading the charge and opening avenues for Republicans all across the state to meet the pressing needs of our neighbors in Southeast Texas.
These last few months I have been in awe of Amy’s energy and determination to serve, her talent, and her heart that’s as big as Texas. From Chairing the Legislative Committee during the fast and furious special session to heading up our #RPTServes efforts after Hurricane Harvey devastated the coast, Amy has made an impact on so many people, many who will never know how she touched their lives. We are all so grateful for her and the impact she has had and continues to have to help so many.
Chairman’s report (view livestream HERE)
I shared with the SREC an overview of my activities and the party’s accomplishments in the 112 days since I was elected Chair. Please view my full report at the livestream above, or read a condensed version here.
- County Chair Appointments: I appointed 4 new County Chairs this quarter which the SREC ratified this past weekend: Trent Smith in Borden County, Debbie Astleford-Nelson in Rains County, Guillermo A. Guzman in Kinney County, and James Stephen “Steve” Busby in Lamb County.
Victory Chair Announcement – Senator Dawn Buckingham (view livestream HERE)
I was thrilled to make the first official announcement to the SREC that State Senator Dawn Buckingham (shown right) will be our Victory Chair for 2018. I have had the pleasure of seeing Senator Buckingham help grow the Republican Party and improve our candidates’ election results for several years. I know first-hand her willingness to put in the time and effort necessary, and we at the Republican Party of Texas look forward to working in close partnership with her to ensure Victory for our candidates and for Texas.
Reports from Auxiliaries
Our auxiliaries are a critical strategic force in accomplishing the party’s mission, and I was proud to hear spokesmen from two of our younger auxiliaries report on the amazing work of their organizations. Please take a moment to listen to the livestream of their reports.
- Texas Young Republican Federation (view livestream HERE)
- Texas Federation of College Republicans (shown on the right) (view livestream HERE)
Special Recognition of TFRW & Theresa Kosmoski (view livestream HERE)
At the recent National Federation of Republican Women National Conference, the Texas Federation of Republican Women won so many awards they literally would not fit in the suitcase and had to be shipped back home! I was proud to recognize them at the SREC meeting for the hard work that helped them win these awards and very glad that TFRW President Theresa Kosmoski (shown left) was present to say a few words to the body on behalf of TFRW.
Standing Committee Reports
- Rules Committee (view livestream HERE): Melinda Fredricks reported that her committee adopted the petition form to use for RPT Rule 8A (the form that must be signed by at least 10% of the county’s Precinct Chairs in order for a candidate to file to run for County Chair in a county with over 300,000 people) and gave notice of an amendment that will be brought to the body at the December meeting to allow the Party Organization committee to meet via teleconference.
- Legislative Affairs Committee (view livestream HERE): Amy Clark delivered the committee’s final report on the outcome of the special session, which you can read HERE. That report includes reference to the factsheets from RPT presented to legislators on the call items (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). The next step in advancing the legislative priorities will be interim hearings. Amy resigned as Chair of this committee, as she has been asked to take a significant role in helping plan the 2018 Convention. She remains a member. Terry Holcomb was appointed Chairman to fill that committee chair vacancy.
- Candidate Resource Committee (view livestream HERE): Steve Atwell and Vergel Cruz reported on their committee’s work to help candidates, current donated amounts available, key pins earned by members, and their intention to have even greater resources available this cycle. Vergel is chairing a work group to review the application process for efficiency and security with the goal of making better determinations about distributing funds in a more timely fashion.
- Officials Committee (view livestream HERE): I reported on the telephone meetings we’ve had during the second quarter, in which the committee approved contracts for convention-related vendors and discussed considering moving the office space since our current downtown location drains a significant amount of funds each month for rent and parking. The body voted to approve the RPT entering into a brokerage agreement to investigate potential cost savings.
- Resolutions Committee (view livestream HERE): Candy Noble presented her committee’s report recommending two resolutions to the body. The first was regarding the handling of the Alamo grounds by the Texas General Land Office and other private entities. The second instructed Republican House candidates to indicate whether they would support the Republican Speaker candidate chosen by the Republican Caucus. Both resolutions were adopted. Read more & see the actual text of the resolutions HERE. (The SREC also voted later in New Business to take up another resolution. I am working with staff to ensure the directives of all the resolutions are followed.)
- Party Organization Committee (view livestream HERE): Paul Braswell reported that, due to significant changes in election law and the necessary updates not being available from the Secretary of State, the committee is still working on updates to the precinct chair, county chair, and candidate manuals. They hope to have them completed in the near future.
- Auxiliaries & Coalitions Committee (view livestream HERE): JT Edwards reported that TRCCA had applied for auxiliary status, and his committee strongly recommended this to the body. I was pleased that the motion passed unanimously with applause as we welcomed TRCCA once again as an official auxiliary. JT also formed a subcommittee headed by Terry Holcomb to review and streamline Auxiliary and Coalition bylaws; that report is due by the December SREC meeting.
- New Leaders on the Rise (view livestream HERE): Toni Anne Dashiell reported that her committee heard about Strategic Initiatives from Kristy Wilkinson, who is the RNC State Director and our RPT Political Director. This committee works alongside the county chairs in building their Republican foundation.
- Grassroots Club (view livestream HERE): David Halvorson reported on the new tiered levels available in the Grassroots Club:
- Bronze Level Members — $8.25 per month | $99 per year
- Silver Level Members — $12.50 per month | $150 per year
- Gold Level Members — $25 per month | $300 per year
Join the Grassroots Club and share about it at this link.
- Volunteerism Committee (view livestream HERE): Jane Cansino reported on the wonderful Volunteer of the Year Dinner that their committee produced Friday evening for the deserving honorees.
- Convention Arrangements (view livestream HERE): Deon Starnes reported on her new committee’s work preparing for the 2018 State Convention. The SREC voted to approve electronic voting in the SD Caucuses at the 2018 State Convention, pending funding. This is a huge step forward for the party in using technology for more efficient processes!
- Advancement (view livestream HERE): Tanya Robertson reported on the charge given to her new committee: “Make it possible for the Party to benefit from the talents and passions of our many dedicated activists. Do so by developing processes that successfully incorporate as much volunteerism as possible while maintaining the appropriate SREC input and oversight.” Their first action item is to formulate the process by which to vet action items, ideas, and initiatives presented to them. They’ll be meeting by telephone on Friday evening, October 5, at 8:30pm. Guests are invited to register at this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8303757389674160898.
- Convention Site Selection (view livestream HERE): Linda Kinney, Mike McCloskey, and Kyle Whatley met with Visit Austin to hear about plans for expansion of the Austin Convention Center. Because of the high hotel room rates that were quoted by Austin, they have asked Kyle to send RFPs to Ft. Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston for the 2022 convention. They are also are planning a visit to Ft. Worth to see renovations made to their convention center.
- Electronic Voting (view livestream HERE): Paul Braswell reported that his committee was not able to achieve a quorum but did meet by telephone to study electronic voting. The SREC voted to approve up to $2800 for acquisition of electronic voting equipment, and requested the Rules Chair to assign a subcommittee of three Rules Committee members. This subcommittee would be tasked with developing any needed Rules changes to allow preliminary use of the technology at the December SREC meeting and submit them directly in the call for the meeting.
New Business: Resolutions from the floor (view livestream HERE)
When resolutions are introduced from the floor, the body must vote on whether to take them up before any discussion can happen. At this meeting, the body chose to take up one new resolution, titled “Preserving Historical Landmarks.” It passed with a unanimous roll call vote. Read more about that HERE.
I am grateful for the effort and dedication that enabled the SREC to produce significant, tangible accomplishments at this quarterly meeting. Thank you to the committee chairmen for leading your committees; to the RPT staff and volunteers for producing the weekend’s events; and to all of you who care about what the SREC does because you understand the importance of the process. I invite you all to join me again in Austin for the 4th Quarterly meeting on December 1st and 2nd.
Republican Party of Texas