Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

What a great year your local Republican Party has had in 2017. We continue to make progress on a number of fronts and I am very proud to be your chairman! It seems the older I get, the faster the years seem to roll by. It’s probably just me, so I shouldn’t mention it.

I am grateful, however, for the support I’m seeing within our ranks. Attendance at all our events is way up. From our luncheons at the Beacon Club to the Lincoln Tribute Dinner, Kalamazoo Republicans are turning out in numbers.

We’ve been averaging more that 40 people at our luncheons this year – 56 here in December when the new president of WMU – Dr. Edward Montgomery – spoke on Dec. 7. I don’t think Ron and Ruth Wiser could squeeze anymore people into their home at Dec. 6th’s Christmas Fundraiser. There were more than 100 RSVPs and I think about the same number actually showed up for all the fun at their gorgeously decorated home. Just last week we had a Christmas Dinner at the Beacon Club and 60 people came to enjoy a great dinner and some good conversation, including four statewide candidates who traveled to Kalamazoo for the event.

Kalamazoo is making a name for itself within the state of Michigan, but it is a tough road to travel. Our county is made up of 53 percent Democrats and 47 percent Republicans, yet we hold four of the five legislative seats in the county. That is saying a lot. I am so proud of our legislative team with State Sen. Margaret O’Brien, State Reps. Brandt Iden, David Maturen and Beth Griffin. These individuals put themselves on the line each and every day in Lansing to help make Michigan a better place – and then come home to this area to attend meetings, interact with constituents and campaign like no one else to ensure Kalamazoo’s Republican stronghold.

Speaking of campaigns, this coming year will be an important one as State Sen. O’Brien will seek re-election to her 20th District senate seat. This is an important seat that saw more than $1 million raised locally and $4 million-plus from other resources within our state. That is an unbelievable amount. It may be a similar situation in 2018 as the Democrats target her seat once again.

State Rep. Iden will likely face another tough race for a contested seat in the 61st district. Brandt has been a hard-working and resilient candidate and will need our support in this term. I know Beth Griffin and Dave Maturen will also work hard in their districts as well.

And, finally, I can’t close this discussion without mentioning that our Board of Commissioners is controlled by the Democrats, 6-5. We need to flip one seat for the control to transfer back to the Republicans after a two-term drought.

Please continue to support the KGOP and our local candidates. If you cannot contribute financially, then volunteer to staff the office or go door-to-door. All and any help may be what puts us over the top in 2018!