Chairman’s Blog – January 2015
By Scott McGraw, KGOP Chairman
This has been a very busy holiday season this year. Personally, besides celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with the usual chaos that accompanies all our family gatherings, it has been rather hectic as I assumed the duties of the Republican Party chairman for Kalamazoo County. I want to thank Dave Worthams, our outgoing party chairman, for his efforts over the past two years as we successfully posted victories with many key races in the county. Dave has been a great friend to the party and a tireless worker for the Kalamazoo GOP.
As we wind down from the holidays, I feel our party a lot to be thankful for this season. As a party, we must unify together around our common basic principles and work toward electing Republicans to carry these principles to the townships, county, state and national offices to make a difference. Working together, we can be stronger than ever as a party and strengthen our leaders.
The biggest achievement during the election cycle was electing Margaret O’Brien to the new senate seat in Kalamazoo County, despite a tough Democratic opponent and a sly move on the part of a former member to change parties at the last minute. And, although it was an incredibly close race and recount, Margaret is our new state senator. Congratulations to Fred Upton for his victory despite millions of dollars spent by the Dems to defeat him. I also would like to congratulate Aric Nesbitt, Dave Maturen and Brandt Iden for their state rep victories in November. Dave and Brandt will be learning a lot over the next few months as they travel to Lansing to assume their seats at the Capitol.
We also saw a large turnover of county commission seats this year as several commissioners sought higher office and a few retired. Although we lost one seat and the majority, the Republicans have five strong commissioners to face the coming two years to help our county stay financially strong and solvent.
I would like to also thank John Zull for his 14 years of service to the county commission as he steps down from the District 11 seat. John, who also served 14 years on the Portage City Council, was a teacher for 37 years at Portage Northern. The citizens of Kalamazoo County benefitted from John’s desire to serve the public and his wisdom influenced the county’s leadership in a positive way. And thanks to Phil Stinchcomb for his service to the commission for the past four years. John and Phil will both be missed and I wish them luck in the future.
There’s a lot of work to do in Kalamazoo for the Republican Party in the next two years. The Republicans are the minority on the county commission. We have lost several key county offices that have traditionally been Republican; namely the prosecutor’s office and the sheriff’s office. These will be priorities for me as your chairman.
I want to see our focus go toward recruiting qualified candidates, training them to run effective campaigns and supporting them to be successful in their races. This is in our bylaws and this is our primary purpose as an organization. As we enter 2015, I am excited about the opportunities we have as a local party. Our members are dedicated and committed to making this year a great one for Kalamazoo Republicans. Please feel free to give me a call at (269) 323-0067 or email me with any ideas to make this a better organization.