Friday Convention Recap
June 8, 2012
Delegates then met in Senate District Caucus for the second time, this time for the purpose of electing members to the State Republican Executive Committee and also to vote on the positions of State Party Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Steve Munisteri and Melinda Fredricks were re-elected by all 31 state senate districts and the delegates also elected 24 new members to the State Republican Executive Committee.
Friday's first general session convened with a prayer by George Washington impersonator Mark Collins. State Representative Dan Branch led the Pledge of Allegiance and State Representative Jason Isaac led the Pledge to the Texas flag. The National Anthem was performed by Tori Martin.
Harris County Judge and Victory 2012 Chairman Ed Emmett addressed the convention with rallying remarks about the Party's organization and momentum moving forward into November before introducing U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Senator Hutchison spoke at length about her many years of involvement with the Republican Party of Texas going all the way back to when she was first elected as a State Representative from the Houston area. She thanked the Republicans for the opportunity to serve Texas in the U.S. Senate and discussed the need for all Republicans to unite and support Mitt Romney in the upcoming November election.
Upon conclusion of Senator Hutchison's remarks, Senator John Cornyn was introduced through a special video featuring new lyrics to "Walk The Line" - "John Cornyn's mine, he'll do just fine." Senator Cornyn then spoke to the convention about the threats from the Obama Administration and what is at stake in this election. He laid out a compelling argument against the threats of the Administration's war on the economy and businesses and discussed the strategic plan for GOP victory in 2012.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst then took the stage and spoke about the "Texas Economic Miracle" that has propelled our state to the forefront of economic strength and job creation. He reminded delegates that the success of Texas is due to the values and principles of its citizens, and the belief of the power of faith, family and freedom. He thanked delegates for the opportunity to fight on a daily basis for the American dream and alongside the conservative warriors who are working to send Barack Obama back to Chicago.
Following the conclusion of the Lt. Governor's remarks, Chairman Munisteri took the stage and the convention heard reports from the permanent credentials committee, the permanent rules report, the permanent organization Committee and the State Nominations Committee. The convention then adjourned for a lunch break, during which time the Texas Federation of Republican Women held their luncheon across the street in a salute to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and numerous volunteers from around Texas who have helped make TFRW clubs a success in the past two years.
In the afternoon session, State Comptroller Susan Combs took the stage to discuss Texas' successful economy and painted a stark contrast with the failing plans of Washington D.C. Combs went on to give detail about the overspending in Washington and the boondoggles of Obama's spending on projects like Solyndra. She also spoke at great length about the importance of GOP victory in November and reclaiming the U.S. Senate and the White House from the Democrats.
Following Susan Combs, the State Senators and candidates for State Senate were announced and appeared on stage to greet the convention. Following the State Senators appearance, it was the turn of Texas House members and candidates to appear before the convention, and who were introduced by Speaker of the House Joe Straus. These appearances were followed by remarks by four candidates for Republican National Committeeman - these were Dr. Robin Armstrong, Weston Martinez, Robert McDonald and Curt Nelson. Following these speeches, the convention then heard remarks from Borah Van Dormolen, running unopposed for National Committeewoman.
There were several significant rules changes proposed and as a result there was significant debate on a number of rules changes, the most significant of which was a rule change moving up the selection of a permanent convention chairman at future conventions. National Committeeman and RNC General Counsel Bill Crocker chaired the Permanent Rules Committee which was composed of 31 elected members from individual senatorial districts.
On Friday afternoon, the Convention recessed in time for delegates to attend the Convention Gala Banquet on Friday evening - featuring keynote speeches from former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, current U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Texas' own U.S. Senator John Cornyn. The banquet was very well attended with over 1,100 tickets sold, and all of the attendees were treated to some fabulous speeches and the opportunity to meet these national Republican leaders in person.
All Gala Event speakers video's are located on the Friday Night Gala Event page here.
Upon the conclusion of the banquet, the delegates reconvened in the arena to finish the business of the rules and platform debates. At each state Republican convention, a new platform is adopted. There is a misconception that state conventions amend prior adopted platforms, when in reality, under Party rules - the prior platform expires at the beginning of the new state convention and theoretically - an entirely new platform is adopted. The platform is rewritten every two years under a process delineated in the Party Rules. A copy of the Party Rules may be found here.
In summary, the rules call for each Senatorial District to elect a member to serve on the Platform Committee. Thus, the Platform Committee is composed of representatives chosen by the grassroots and not appointed by party leadership. The only exception to this is the Chairman of the Committee who is appointed by the State Chairman.
Chairman Munisteri appointed Tom Mechler, the current Party Treasurer and a former SREC member, as Platform Committee chairman. Chairman Munisteri met briefly with the Platform Committee prior to the commencement of their work and simply instructed them to write a platform in conformance with the will of the majority of the grassroots. He purposely did not offer any opinions on the platform's content or instruct them how to write the platform, so it would be truly reflective of the will of the delegates. The Committee then heard testimony from anyone who wished to appear before the Committee who met over three days prior to the beginning of the convention. The Committee then drafted a proposed 269-plank platform, which was voted on and passed by majority of the 31 grassroots activists elected by their respective caucuses. That platform was then presented to the entire convention by the Platform Committee chairman Tom Mechler. After the proposed platform was presented, Chairman Munisteri opened the floor for debate. The platform passed overwhelmingly, and the entire platform debate can be viewed by using these videos.
The RPT has received literally hundreds of emails, letters and cards complimenting the Party for the fair way in which the platform debate was conducted. Unfortunately as is often the case, there was one blog that listed some incorrect information which has been repeated through some email chains. This blog incorrectly stated that only voice votes were taken, when in fact, a division of the house by a show of hands was taken on significant votes, alleged that the platform debate occurred after an unscheduled recess, when in fact, the recess was scheduled, approved by the SREC, and ratified by a vote of the entire convention, alleged that thousands of non-delegates voted, when in fact, the number of registered guests only totaled in the hundreds and the RPT did have two dozen uniformed officers, dozens of sergeants at arms, and 31 district caucus chairmen ensuring that only properly credentialed delegates or alternates seated as delegates voted, etc. Fortunately, the entire convention was videotaped and every Republican has the opportunity to view the tape and to ascertain for themselves how the convention was conducted and the procedures that were followed.