Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

What a year we had in 2016! We saw our local party work together like we never have seen in years and years. I am so proud of the efforts our candidates made and happy that our local Republicans helped and supported those candidates. This was a long and tough campaign. Kalamazoo Republicans should be proud of those efforts and the success we’ve had during this past year.

Our candidates and the local party raised more money that we ever have. This was possible because of all the faithful supporters we have in Kalamazoo County. This is an important aspect to running a campaign and I know many of you don’t like to discuss it. It’s kind of like when a pastor brings up the subject of tithing in church. Money isn’t everything in campaigning, but it is a lot. You must mix the money with hard work. I think our candidates did a very good job working smart and asking for support. It’s never an easy thing to do, but we were successful at it.

The KGOP has been coming together is so many ways over the past year. From our social activities to our trainings, the Kalamazoo Republicans have really responded to working as an entity with a cause.

How wonderful has it been to see so many Republicans throughout the nation come together to elect Donald Trump to the White House! I have never seen anything like it. You could see that there was something building just from the shear amount of visitors coming into the KGOP of ce before the Michigan Presidential Primary in March and it continued all the way up until election day on Nov. 8th. It was shocking to see so many people make their way to our office.

The local office gave out 4,500 Trump-Pence yard signs, most of which were paid for through donations from people who saw what a special movement this was becoming. This really is something that is unheard of: we’ve given out several hundred signs in previous elections, never more than a thousand. To see hundreds and hundreds of visitors each week come to the of ce to get signs to do their part in the election, it was a very special thing to witness.

Now, many of those signs went to people who had signs stole or defaced out of their yards. I was shocked to see the volume of criminal behavior emanating from the other side. I am just proud of the way our side reacted by not retaliating against their candidate’s signs.

 Of course, we still have some challenges in Kalamazoo County. We need to re-double our efforts to gain back control of the county commission, We need to win back either the sheriff’s of ce or the prosecutor’s of ce. And, of course, we’re expecting a big challenge for state senate in 2018.

But the successes of 2016 are encouraging me for the coming challenges for 2018. They say laying the foundation is the most important part of building a structure. I feel we’ve laid a strong foundation over the past two years and are ready to see the structure of a strong organization take shape as we gear up this coming year for the election of the next term in 2018. I am encouraged and excited that the Republican Party will continue to build on our past successes to lead us into the future.