This past weekend was the Liberty County Precinct and County conventions. This year was a record attendance for our County as well as a full slate of state delegates and many alternates sent to the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) State Convention in May.
Out of 48 delegates present at the conventions, 5 were RLC of Texas CD36 members, and 1 was a former member.
There was unfortunately some controversy as well. The current Chairman, Mr. Ken Coleman, released a statement on the Liberty County GOP website:
What follows are some highlights of what happened, from my perspective as I was present for the entire convention.
Many grassroots members came on Saturday and the Resolutions/Platform committee was packed, as is often the case. Most of the discussions of shaping the future of the Republican Party happen in that committee. No current RLC of CD36 members were on the Resolutions committee, although one former RLC member was on the committee. The approximate size of the committee was 15. The Organization Committee, on which 3 RLC members sat including myself, recommended that the Permanent Convention Chairman nomination to be presented to the voting body be Ryan Daniel, the new chairman elect whose term begins officially in June. The motion to nominate Ryan Daniel the Permanent Convention Chairman was made by a current precinct chair, not an RLC member. The approximate size of the Organization Committee was 10.
For those unfamiliar with parliamentary process, the Republican Party always begins its meetings in "temporary" status with temporary officers. One of the main goals of a convention is to use a process of committees, nominations, and voting to select "permanent" officers for the duration of that convention. In this way the delegates can express their will in a fair, predictable manner, so all voices have a hearing and none are pushed to the side. It is sometimes the case that officers who start in temporary status are replaced in permanent status. The reasons for this can be numerous but it's important to understand this is part of the official Republican Party of Texas rules and is vital the fairness of the process.
This nomination, of the chairman elect rather than the chairman, was not well received by several of the voting body, including the chairman himself Mr. Ken Coleman. From the floor a second nomination was made for current chairman Ken Coleman, and Mr. Coleman opened the floor for discussion. Several rose to speak in favor of Mr. Coleman for the permanent position and accusations of "disrespect" were hurled about, some out of order. Some accused the body of attempting to completely replace the chairman’s office midstream, a complete falsehood as Mr. Coleman still presides today as the chairman of the Liberty County Republican party.
I was on the Organization Committee which recommended Mr. Daniel as the permanent chairman of the convention and voted for Mr. Daniel in committee and on the floor. Mr. Daniel was nominated because he is the chairman elect. It is not uncommon for the incoming chairman to be elected as the permanent chairman by the body, for obvious reasons. It's important to get the new chairman involved in running the party as soon as possible and is a great way to show solidarity with the changing of the guard. I rose to explain this and to communicate no disrespect was intended, but merely an opportunity to show respect and trust of our new chairman elect.
It is no secret that the RLC of CD36 has had run-ins with the current chairman, Mr. Coleman, and some precinct chairs before. Often in politics, when principles and methods differ, many choose to take things personally. We do consider Mr. Ryan Daniel to be a fair man who values the RPT process and will stick to his principles, even when he disagrees with us--and we do disagree on many things. This weekend was a testament that the delegate body's trust in Mr. Daniel as a person was not misplaced. He did a fine job. The contrast between his handling of the controversy over the weekend with that of the current chairman and some of those who voted for him, is quite telling and speaks to character of those involved.
While the RLC is flattered that the chairman--or his friends--believe the RLC "hijacked" the convention, we here at the RLC of CD36 are confused as to how we accomplished this feat with only 5 delegates present out of 48 total. We also believe the Tea Party Republican members who were present would take offense to being left out of the "hijacking", since they had a strong presence in this convention--more so than the RLC--and seemed to unanimously vote for Mr. Daniel’s nomination as permanent chairman of the convention. There’s also the problem of multiple sitting precinct chairman who voted for Mr. Daniel as well as one of the current Vice Chairman, Klint Bush. None of these people are RLC members and have much disagreement with us, but who remain fair in the manner in which they conduct themselves.
It should be noted that many who voted for Mr. Coleman's nomination did NOT leave the convention and were quite perplexed and amazed at the apparent "walk-out" that ensued when Mr. Daniel won by a vote of 28 "for" and 7 or so for Mr. Coleman. (An official count could not be obtained because Mr. Coleman stopped counting when it was obvious Mr. Daniel had won.) After the "walk-out", about 8 people had left. Additionally, some delegates left later in the day due to having other business to attend which had nothing to do with the controversy. Someone from my precinct--a first timer to the county conventions--demanded to know why such a disgraceful display of behavior was exhibited by those who left [walk-out] because they lost a vote. He was perplexed as to why they would show such utter disregard for the voting body's decision and choose to leave instead of continuing to fight for their beliefs.
A 10 minute recess was moved and approved and it was determined that the temporary Resolutions Committee chairman, Mr. Paul Newton, was one of those who had left. The statement on the Liberty County GOP website says the following:
“Several resolutions were passed at the County Convention this past weekend. Unfortunately, all of the resolutions passed (including those supporting marijuana) were passed by the hijacked convention run by the RLC folks and not by conservative Liberty County Republicans.”
This is quite perplexing as well. Mr. Newton, who runs the Liberty County GOP website, had presided over the very Resolutions Committee which had approved all the resolutions received from the precincts. However, no current RLC members were on the temporary Resolutions committee. We at the RLC of CD36 are, again flattered, but confused as to how we accomplished this “hijacking” feat given we had zero delegates on the temporary committee which approved all the resolutions received, including the so-called "supporting marijuana" resolution.
About that resolution.
The "supporting marijuana" resolution, whose actual title was "Resolution Regarding Criminal Justice" is far from a radical view. This view reflects that of many staunch conservatives, not only the staunch but also those who are at complete odds with what the RLC's position on this issue has been for many years. None other than sitting state Representative John Otto has expressed his support for this perspective, namely that an individual should not be criminally prosecuted for possessing negligible amounts of marijuana. The RLC of CD36 agrees with Representative John Otto on this issue and we doubt highly that Mr. Coleman would use the language "not a conservative Republican" when talking about Representative Otto.
No Mr. Chairman, the RLC did not "hijack" anything. What occurred was the will of the voting body, which was quite a diverse and unusually large group for Liberty County during your term as Chairman. Most people would call this a "democratic process". The RPT process was used effectively. In the past, you have advocated for that very process. We think you were correct when you did so and hope you still believe in that process.
We think the misrepresentation of the facts by the honorable chairman--or whoever authored his media statement--is troublesome. Further, it is unbecoming of sitting precinct chairs when faced with losing a vote to stamp their feet and simply walk out. It is disrespectful to the process, the voting body, and especially disrespectful to those on the executive committee who stayed.
Liberty County does not have Kings. We have elected representatives. Representation must be just that: representative of the people who voted.
Mr. Daniel, I am sorry for the disrespect you were shown. I hope you receive a public apology for it. You conducted yourself with dignity and I look forward to a future of working together for the good of our county and our state.
For Liberty. For Texas,
Chairman, RLC of Texas in CD36