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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Kent County Republican Committee - November 2010 County Convention

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:05:55 PM EST
    Tags: Kent County Republicans, Executive Committee, County Convention, Tea Party of West Michigan, Independence Caucus of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford Women (all tags)

    From the Official Call:

    There shall be a meeting of the duly elected Precinct Delegates and the At-Large Delegates to the County Convention at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 22, 2010, at the Western Michigan University Conference Center in Grand Rapids.  The purpose of this meeting shall be to elect members of the County Republican Executive Committee.  Only Precinct Delegates elected at the August 3, 2010, Primary Election, the most recent Republican nominees for County and State Legislative Offices, and Precinct Delegates seated on a permanent basis at the August 2010 County Convention will be considered eligible to vote at this convention.

    My report on the convention follows the break.

    My first impression of the Grand Hall of the WMU Conference Center was that the space had been very well organized.  Signs were up, both in the lobby and in the main room, advertising as to which County Commission District was to caucus where during the "break out" portion of the county convention.  The credentialing process was very straightforward and efficient, with Executive Director Mandy Bolter, Political Director Justin Swan, and Communications Director Jacky Reigler comparing names against the Precinct Delegate list and issuing credentials accordingly (take note, MIGOP).  Over the table in the lobby for coffee and cookies were four posters showing various aspects of what I guessed was the chosen site for the new Kent GOP Headquarters.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and used Christie's jacket and mine to hold our seats in the District 12 caucus area, and then went back out to join her in taking the time to touch base with people that we hadn't seen in a few weeks.

    Because we were so busy talking to each other, the Executive Committee Meeting that preceded the convention didn't get started on time, which annoyed Joanne Voorhees (KCRC Chair) a little bit, as she is generally known for her punctuality.

    Joanne mentioned that this, the final regular executive committee meeting of the year (the only scheduled "meeting" in December is the Christmas Party which will be held on the 15th), was going to be run a little differently from the normal.  She announced that she was going to be stepping down as the county chair, and shared the credit with the rest of her board for Kent GOP's success in this year's campaigns.  Running this, the third largest county party organization in the entire United States, is never a one-person show; it requires a team effort, and the board of officers had worked together as a just such a team.  Joanne then discussed the expiring lease on the current County Party Headquarters and the need to relocate, after which she turned the floor over to Chris Beckering, the Vice-Chair of Kent GOP.

    Chris Beckering had also been serving as the chair of the Building Committee, which had been searching for the past two years for a building that would meet the projected future requirements of the Kent County Republicans.  The existing lease was expiring in February, and the current location had been evaluated as inadequate for the needs of KCRC going forward into 2012 and beyond.  The plan of the Building Committee was to purchase a location if at all possible, but to be wise stewards of the party's finances regardless (even if a lease was ultimately necessary).  After distilling the input from the broader Kent GOP membership and doing a very comprehensive countywide location search, a request for proposal had been sent out to the county brokerage community about six weeks ago.  Of the 42 responses received, the Building Committee had met and narrowed down the field to 12, after which they had toured each site in detail.

    Chris then showed each of the four posters that had been in the lobby earlier (a neighborhood map, an artist's elevation rendering, a site plan, and a floor plan), as he discussed the location that is now under contract for purchase.  The building is southwest of the I-196/US-131 junction in downtown Grand Rapids, easily accessible from any major street in the city, within walking distance of downtown, and on the Rapid Transit Line.  The purchase price was expected to be about $200 K, and the total renovations costs were expected to be about $250 K, so the overall fundraising target had been set at $500 K.  While this property is under contract for purchase, this is not yet a done deal; there is some due diligence measures in progress, and barring any significant problems the closing is expected to happen around January 1st, 2011.

    At this point, the Executive Committee meeting was adjourned.  We were informed that we had about fifteen minutes to socialize before the County Convention was called to order.  During the break, I noticed Sarah Ledford, candidate for MIGOP Youth Chair, working the room.  I also worked the room myself on behalf of Tina Dupont.  Tina was a nominee for KCRC Secretary, but she was facing a challenge, so I talked to various precinct delegates who I knew would be running for district chair to sway their votes if it was at all possible to do so.

    Once again, we were so busy talking with each other that Joanne did not get the convention called to order on time.  But once she did, she turned the floor over to Bob Schostak, candidate for MIGOP State Chair, so that he could address the assembly.

    Bob Schostak mentioned that he was running for state chair because of his love for the passion of the grassroots volunteers that had made the difference this year.  We had the wind at our backs this year, but 2012 will be different, and we need to elect a state chair that provides us with the best possible chance to put Michigan in the Republican electoral column.  He concluded by stating that he had been endorsed by Governor-elect Snyder and Lieutenant Governor-elect Calley.

    Joanne gave the floor to Brian Calley, in attendance as a guest.  The Lieutenant Governor-elect received a standing ovation as he approached the lectern.

    Brian Calley started by discussing the work that was being done to transition Michigan from the "lost decade" under Governor Granholm.  He is optimistic about the future of this state, because the people spoke up and took charge of their own process.  However, there must be no excuses; reinventing Michigan will involve putting an end to spending that people on the receiving end of that spending have come to believe that they're entitled to.  They are well-organized, and will scream bloody murder when that money is cut off.  The people that stood up and took charge in 2010 must be prepared to support their elected officials when the backlash inevitably comes.  Michigan has the people and the tools . . . now is the time . . . this is our one chance.

    Shana Shroll was recognized as the Temporary Convention Secretary and read the Official Call to Convention.  The temporary convention officers were appointed.  Following this, Joanne Voorhees (Convention Chair) and Shana (Convention Secretary) were nominated and elected to permanent status in their positions, as were the remaining convention officers.  State Representative Tom Pearce (on behalf of County Clerk Mary Hollinrake) performed the oath of office for the convention officers.

    • Convention Parliamentarian - Jim Saalfeld
    • Sergeants at Arms - Jordan Bush, Andrew Emmett
    • Tellers - Mandy Bolter, Erin Sweat
    • Committee on Credentials - Jon Nunn, Chris Beckering
    • Committee on Permanent Organization and Order of Business - Kim Yob, Bob Kinney

    Jon Nunn delivered the Committee on Credentials report of temporary and permanent vacancies.  Then Kim Yob delivered the Permanent Organization and Order of Business Report.

    Sam Moore, candidate for County Chair, advanced for nomination a slate of seven at-large candidates for seats on the Executive Committee.  These people had been particularly selected to represent the various Republican-aligned groups within Kent County, so that each would have a voice on the Executive Committee.  The slate was elected without opposition.

    Before Joanne Voorhees broke us out to caucus, she read the criteria for the District Chairs, who would be members of the Executive Committee.  She admonished us that this was too important for people who would be Members In Name Only . . . it is going to require an all-hands-on-deck mindset to win in 2012.  Then we broke out into our County Caucuses to elect our district chairs.

    I was running for District 12 Chair, and my platform was fairly straightforward:

    • To provide a recognized and respected voice for District 12 on the Executive Committee

    • To provide reliable strategic leadership for the district and the county through the 2012 election

    • To provide a conduit for district-wide fundraising, as well as recruiting and training the additional precinct delegates that we will need to win in 2012

    It was a really nice speech, but it also really wasn't necessary . . . I was running unopposed.  Nevertheless, Harold Mast (County Commissioner-elect for District 12), dutifully recorded the vote results and turned them in to the head table.

    Once we reconvened, Joanne recognized outgoing state representatives Tom Pearce and Kevin Green and retiring county commissioner Art Tanis.  She also recognized the newly elected county commissioners (Dan Koorndyk, Shana Shroll, Jack Bolema, and Harold Mast), state legislators (Ken Yonker, Peter MacGregor, Tom Hooker, and Lisa Lyons), state senator (Dave Hildenbrand), and congressman (Justin Amash).  Bing Goei was also recognized for his efforts as the Republican candidate for the 75th State House District.

    Finally, Joanne recognized the county staff and outgoing officers, as well as the Fix Michigan staff:

    • KCRC Chair - Joanne Voorhees
    • KCRC Vice-Chair - Chris Beckering
    • KCRC Secretary - Sam Moore
    • KCRC Treasurer - Jim Saalfeld
    • Kent GOP Executive Director - Mandy Bolter
    • Kent GOP Political Director - Justin Swan
    • Kent GOP Communications Director - Jacky Reigler
    • Fix Michigan Center Field Manager - Jeff Orzechowski
    • Fix Michigan Communications Coordinator - Kevin Heine
    • Fix Michigan Administrative Assistant - Christie Heine

    Jeff Orzechowski received the second standing ovation of the night.

    Jon Nunn then read off the list of district caucus winners.  Each was recognized as their names were announced.

    Prior to adjourning the convention, Joanne advised all newly-elected members of the Executive Committee that, following adjournment, a special session of the Executive Committee would be convened for the purpose of electing the 2011 - 2012 officers.  The convention was then adjourned and the special meeting was called to order.

    Lisa Lyons introduced the slate of committee officers for the 2011 - 2012 campaign for election and approval:

    • County Chair - Sam Moore
    • County Vice-Chair - Shelby Reno
    • County Secretary - Tina Dupont
    • County Treasurer - Jordan Bush

    Sharon Yentsch then nominated Jeanine Herlacher to oppose Tina Dupont for Secretary.

    Sam Moore addressed the meeting:  He did not initially seek the chairmanship, and had in fact rejected the idea when it was initially presented to him.  However, every time the discussion arose as to who would be the best successor to Joanne Voorhees, his name was the only one that was consistently mentioned.  He had led the Kent GOP as Executive Director through the 2004 - 2008 election cycle, and reminded us that we need to be firing on all cylinders if we expect to have a chance of winning in 2012 and 2014.

    Jordan Bush addressed the meeting:  He had been Bing Goei's primary opponent for the Republican nomination for the 75th house district.  He is the current chair of the KCRC Grassroots Committee, and is well respected in both tea party and establishment circles.  He is looking forward to working with the new executive committee and party officers, and echoed Sam's reminder.

    The unopposed candidates (Moore, Reno, and Bush) were then elected by a unanimous voice vote, and the floor was opened for the two candidates for Secretary to speak.

    Tina Dupont addressed the meeting:  She is one of the four founding members of the Tea Party of West Michigan, and the original District 3 Director for the Independence Caucus of Michigan.  Prior to the Obama Tsunami she had not been politically engaged, let alone active.  However, once she realized what was happening, she realized that she couldn't just sit there and do nothing.

    Jeanine Herlacher addressed the meeting:  She had been the Event Chair for the first in-county tea party event in April of 2009, and is currently the president of the local Gerald R. Ford Women.  She had also been one of the primary candidates for the Republican nomination for the 73rd house district (and had finished third in the primary).

    The secret ballot vote for the Secretary ended in a tie.  Several options were discussed for resolving the tie, and Jim Saalfeld (the convention parliamentarian and an executive committee member) suggested that the race be re-run at the January 2011 Executive Committee meeting.  Scott Greenlee (a MIGOP rules committee member and an executive committee member) supported that suggestion with a motion which was immediately seconded.  The question was called, and though not unanimously (there were at least two "nay" votes), the motion carried.

    The meeting then adjourned.


    < Bobby Schostak announces for MI GOP Chair | Maybe The Right Idea, Definitely The Wrong People.. >

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    Good report Kevin (none / 0) (#1)
    by JGillman on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 08:32:03 AM EST
    Glad to see a few names I would associate with Tea Party activism.

    High profile event to be sure..  

    How many total in attendance?

    Thanks Kevin! (none / 0) (#2)
    by maidintheus on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 08:49:45 AM EST
    As usual, thorough and interesting.

    Bob Schostak loves... (none / 0) (#3)
    by maidintheus on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 09:07:18 AM EST
    ...the grass roots? How can one believe that when he'd rather have Gore than Bush as POTUS and he rejected Knollenberg?

    Are people vetted? (none / 0) (#4)
    by maidintheus on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 09:12:41 AM EST
    Do we really want more Liberals in the Republican Party leadership?

    • On that . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 11/24/2010 09:21:14 PM EST (none / 0)
    Display: Sort:


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