Chairman’s Blog – February 2015
By Scott McGraw, KGOP Chairman

January was certainly a month of new beginnings for the Republican Party of Kalamazoo County. Not only did we install our new officers for the next two years, but we also moved our office to a new location. If you haven’t had a chance to see our new office, please stop by and say, “Hi.” You may be familiar with the location, as it was the campaign office shared by Sen. Margaret O’Brien and State Rep. Brandt Iden during last year’s election. The address is 1911 W. Centre Ave., Ste. A, in Portage. It’s behind the building through the back entrance. Hope to see you there.

Your new officers for the next election cycle (through 2016) are myself as chair, SonJalita Hulbert as vice chair, Chad Dillon as treasure and Allan Bickle as secretary. These people have shown a great dedication to the local party and are committed to improving the RPKC on all levels. Allan has been secretary previously and the rest of us are rookies as office holders. But we are all enthusiastic about our Republican Party and are eager to start the work to help us in the 2016.

If you haven’t been in a while, I would recommend you come to the monthly Republican luncheon that is held the first Thursday of the month. Last month, Dr. Allan Bickle, party secretary and mathematics professor at Grand Valley State University, gave an engaging analysis of the 2014 general election. He deciphered the results and came to the conclusion that the Lorence Wenke effect influenced more voters away from Democrat Sean McCann’s campaign than it away from Republican Margaret O’Brien. It was a fascinating discussion.

Our coming luncheon will be held on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 12 noon at the Beacon Club in Portage. Local economist Brian Long will speak to us about “The West Michigan Economy: A 2015 Update.” Long is a research economist and expert on the local economy. He talks are always so interested and full of information that I find myself re-quoting for weeks following his presentation. The cost for the lunch is $12.

Also on Thursday, Feb. 5, is the Republican Party of Kalamazoo County’s convention. At the convention, our precinct delegates will caucus to select 50 delegates and 50 alternates to the Michigan State Republican Convention, which will be held Feb. 20-21 at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

The state convention will be an active one, as delegates will elect a new state party chair as Bobby Schostak has announced he will step down. Several people have announced their intentions to replace Bobby. One of the more popular candidates – who announced very early – is Ronna Romney McDaniel of Northville. She has been serving as a national committeewoman and is the niece of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, not to mention granddaughter of former Michigan governor George Romney, who was also a presidential contender at one time. There are also a couple others that have declared for party chair, including Kim Shmina, of Fair Haven, and David Wolkinson, of Birmingham. There may be others that declare as we draw closer to the convention. There’s no doubt it will be an exciting time in Lansing in late February.

It’s also an exciting time to be a Republican in Kalamazoo County, which reminds me that we are working on our membership renewals. With the new year, comes a renewed effort to beef up our numbers at the local party level. If you haven’t done so yet, please take the time to send in your dues for this year. A single membership is only $35 and helps the KGOP so much as we move forward in our cause. There are other levels of membership support, as well. Check them out on our website at www.kgop.org. You can actually pay your dues online through Paypal.