Chairman’s Blog – February 2015
By Scott McGraw, KGOP Chairman
We had a hot time in Kalamazoo this past month despite the cold weather that old man winter has delivered us. We started the month by holding our monthly luncheon and our county convention on the same day, Feb. 5th – I hope we don’t do that too often – and ended with a great state convention in Lansing where we selected our leadership for the next two years.
Brian Long gave a great talk at our luncheon on our economy – local, state, national and worldwide. I don’t now how he does it, but he can take you to a lot of places in just 30 minutes! I remember sitting through economics class in college and it wasn’t nearly as interesting as Brian makes it sound during his talks. We also had the pleasure of Norm Hughes coming to the luncheon. Norm was a candidate at the time for state party chair. He laid out his vision of what the party should be doing and made quite an impressive argument.
That night, we had our county convention at the Heritage Christian Reformed Church. It was great to see so many dedicated Republicans come together to support the party in Kalamazoo County. We listened to our elected officials update us on what’s going on in Kalamazoo and Lansing, and then we caucused to select delegates and alternates to go to the state convention, which was held later in the month in Lansing.
On Feb. 20 and 21, thousands of Republicans converged on the Lansing Center to begin the process of moving forward after a successful round of mid-term elections in Michigan. On Friday, we elected a Sixth District Executive Committee and selected officers. Representing Kalamazoo County on that committee for the next two years will be Roger Hensley, Gene Clem, Rose Dame, Lisa White and Chad Dillon. The chair for the district will again be Vic Fitz, while Sonny Gast was elected vice chair. Monica Palmer will be the new secretary and Dick Imgrund will return as treasurer. Also, Kalamazoo County’s two representatives on the state committee were selected: SonJalita Hulbert and Troy Hudson. Our very own Rose Dame, who stepped down as sixth district secretary, was recognized by Chairman Fitz during our caucus for her many years of selfless service to the party. On Saturday, statewide Republicans came together to elect officers for the coming two-year term. Elected as party chair was Ronna Romney McDaniel with Jeff Sakwa as co-chair. David Wolkinson was elected as administrative vice chair, Adi Sathi was elected as coalitions vice chair, Linda Lee Tarver was re-elected as ethnic vice chair, Wendy Day was voted the grassroots vice chair, Kelly Mitchell was elected as outreach vice chair and Michael Banerian was selected as youth vice chair.
I was pleased with seeing so many people come who are concerned about the future of our party. While we have a lot to celebrate as Republicans in this county and this state, we also have areas of concern that need to be addressed by our party. We are happy as Republicans that we have Margaret O’Brien as our state senator. We are happy as Republicans to have Aric Nesbitt, Dave Maturen and Brandt Iden as state representatives. We are happy as Republicans to have Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson representing us at the state level.
But just because we are happy with a lot of candidates representing us, I am also concerned as a Republican with a lot of areas of our society. I am concerned with many areas of local government burdening the citizens with more taxes and less services. I am concerned with the amount of violence in our cities and the lack of our officials to address this. I am concerned with the excessive regulation and egregious use of self-serving policies that our federal government imposes on our citizens.
Let’s look forward to the future to address these concerns and focus on improving our government at all levels to serve the people better.