Dear SREC Members & County Chairs,
This past week was a difficult one for our nation as we mourned the loss of so many innocent lives in Las Vegas. Such tragedies remind us that our time here is short and that we must do our best to make it count. While keeping those affected in our prayers, this week was spent laying more of our foundation for success in engagement and ultimately for our success in keeping Texas red.
Many of you were privileged to serve on the SREC with Jean McIver. Dearly loved, she spent four terms on the SREC, working tirelessly and faithfully. Last week, her husband Don passed away after a long struggle. His life’s work was amazing, and his passing is mourned by many. I ask you to join me in prayer for Jean and her family that they will find comfort in this time of separation from him.
Last Friday evening the Advancement Committee held a meeting via telephone. They discussed the process by which they can receive new ideas from Republicans anywhere in Texas and voted to set up a Google form with automation enhancements. They approved a process for vetting ideas and voted to move forward on developing welcome packets for convention delegates. If you are on Slack, you are free to join the #Advancement channel to communicate unofficially with them (committee business will still be conducted during meetings with the required notice). If you are not on Slack, I encourage you to join the conversation to help our team increase productivity! Contact Rachel Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.
On Saturday in Gilmer (more on that event later) I was able to see SREC member Dennis Cable (SD 1). Thank you to Sue Evenwel (SD 1) for helping with efforts to make that trip a success.
I would like to remind you that our Officials Committee meeting will be held October 17th at 6:30 PM. The agenda includes our brokerage contract as well as various convention-related contracts.
Two major fundraising events are scheduled this month. On Oct. 24th, Senator John Cornyn will be our special guest for an RPT fundraiser in Washington, D.C. Just 3 days later, Congressmen Hensarling and Sessions will be our honored guests at a fundraiser luncheon in Dallas. We’re working on additional events in Austin and other locations and look forward to announcing the details of those soon.
I’m pleased to report some successes from my calls and meetings with those who are interested in supporting the party. Last week we received gifts from three new first-time donors. Also, a former legislator has returned to support our work with his first new donation in years. I am very grateful for the generosity of these individuals.
At an event in Gilmer (see more on that below) I was able to see many elected officials! The guest listed included Congressman Louie Gohmert, Justice John Devine, Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Cole Hefner, Gregg County Justice of the Peace Tim Bryan, Justice Greg Neeley (12th District Court of Appeals), Judge Sharon Keller (Texas Court of Criminal Appeals), Judge Michelle Slaughter (405th District Court), Judge LeeAnn Rafferty (123rd Judicial Court) Upshur County officeholders (Judge Dean Fowler, County Commissioners Mike Spencer and Frank Berka, Sheriff Larry Webb, County Clerk Karen Bunn, Clerk Terri Ross, Constable Larry Sewell, JP’s Rhonda Welch and Lyle Potter), Gregg County JP Tim Bryan, Wood County Sheriff Tom Castloo, and Harrison County Commissioner William Hatfield.
I reached out to Lt. Governor Patrick and Speaker Straus to let them know we appreciate the legislature passing 3 legislative priority items and to request that the remaining items to be studied as interim charges. The five remaining priorities include Constitutional Carry, Abolition of Abortion, Replacement of Property Tax with an alternative other than an income tax, Comprehensive School Choice using tax exemptions or credits, Protection of Religious Liberty. Besides these, we would certainly welcome any additional items of study related to our shared principles or individual planks in our platform.
I spoke at a panel on the future of the GOP in Texas for American Association of Political Consultants, highlighting the bright future this party has in our state as well as the challenges we expect to face.
Houston Chronicle: Republican discontent continues despite the party’s dominance in Texas
Bianca Gracia, our Hispanic Engagement Director, was invited to visit the White House this past week! We are thrilled that she had the opportunity to join other leaders to discuss Hispanic engagement initiatives. I am grateful for the importance that President Trump is placing on this critical issue.
Our team now consists of 11 full-time headquarters staff, in addition to others who work in the field, remotely, or asconsultants. I’m proud of our staff, and it’s important to me to make sure everyone is well aligned with the rest of the team and our shared objectives. To that end, I have begun implementing regular one-on-one meetings with the staff members.
As a result, this past week I visited with 5 of the team members. Brandon Moore, Organization Director, is preparing for filing season (Nov. 11-Dec. 11), which will be an intense and demanding month. Marissa Vredeveld, Finance Director, is streamlining processes for me to call and meet with donors; she’s also coordinating on major fundraising events in Washington, DC, Dallas, Midland, and Austin. Jessica Colon, Senior Advisor for Special Projects, is focused on helping with our fundraising efforts, and John Drogin, Senior Political Advisor, has been working closely with our website developer as we continue to revise and upgrade the site.
Jamie Bennett, Press Secretary, met with me to go over his comprehensive communications plan which outlines increased volume and quality of emails, social media, and other communications from the party. In order to reach his objectives he need additional volunteer contributors; please let us know if you or someone you know would like to assist the Comms team!
This past week we reached out to Nevada Republican Party leadership to express our shock and grief over the innocent victims whose lives were taken and to ask how we could help. Diana Orrock, RNC Committeewoman from Nevada, let us know some practical ways that we as Texans can offer assistance. Most of all, there were requests for blood donations and licensed counselors. If you know of anyone in Nevada who could help in either of these ways, please spread the word.
For the past several months, 1-day regional campaign schools have been conducted all across Texas as a joint project of TRCCA, Abbott University, and RPT. This week, our flagship 3-day intense school is being held here in Austin. Thirty presenters — some of Texas’ finest consultants and campaign staff — are lending their expertise to the thirty students who have traveled from the farthest corners of the state. I am so grateful that these presenters are willing to share their insight and expertise, and I am also sincerely thankful for those who are willing to serve as campaign managers and candidates. They are a critical part of our mission to promote a conservative philosophy of government, something we certainly can’t do without securing Republican wins.
At the end of September, I visited the Burnet County Republican Club hosted by Mary Jane Avery. It was a pleasure to meet Republicans from my neighboring county and to bring the keynote address for the evening. I spoke about what we’ve accomplished so far and my goals and vision for the coming months.
The weekend before last, the Republican Party of Texas was invited to promote our legislative priority of constitutional carry at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in the DFW area. Rachel Malone, Read King, Joel James, the Dallas County GOP, and local volunteers set up a booth and visited with conference attendees all weekend.
Last Saturday I had the privilege of visiting the town of Gilmer, TX for a huge celebration of the Republican principles we hold so dear. East Texans 4 Liberty invited me to speak at their fundraiser along with Senator Bryan Hughes and Lt. Col. Allen West. The long drive was completely worth seeing the wonderful people who work hard every day in East Texas.
Many county chairs attended the event in Gilmer and I loved getting to visit with all of them! Included were Tracy Vincent (Gregg County), Tammy Blair (Cherokee County), Janna Castloo (Wood County), Debra Hatfield (Harrison County), Deborah Ramsey (Morris County), Eileen Collins (Cass County), and Vernon Eastepp (Red River). They are pictured (left) with Lt. Col. Allen West and me.
Many important election-related deadlines are coming up for county chairmen. In order to help you carry out your responsibilities, Brandon Moore and Joanna Kitchen have scheduled a Special Edition Leadership Call for October 16th at 6:30 p.m. Please watch for your invitation this week.
Update from the Field:
Hispanic Engagement Director Bianca Gracia had a very busy week. In addition to her time at the White House, she has been working with the RNC along with her local activists and community leaders planning 10 Hispanic round tables centered around the discussion of Tax Reform.
The Political Team hit all of our goals again and had a wonderful week in the field despite some weather that reduced our ability to go door-to-door. We’ve continued to see great responses from the community on President Trump’s plan for Tax Reform. Below are just a few highlights you might have seen on social media this last week.
We are already excited about seeing strong Republican wins in 2018, but we take nothing for granted.
We are working hard to invest early in races because we know that the strength of our organization is only as solid as our foundation. Our field staff is out every day of the week knocking doors. We are reaching out to new voters to show them that the Republican party shares their values, and connecting with those who already identify as Republicans to encourage them to turn out and vote. The Campaign Management School is equipping people from all over the state to run effective campaigns.
Every day is another opportunity to advance our principles, and I am honored to work with all of you to achieve that goal.