Movement conservatives have – after many years of trying, finally taken over the control of the County Republican Committee. The early results are in, and they are very positive for the future of the Committee and the future of the county as a whole.
For those of you who are not familiar with Shenandoah County political history, we were under the rule of a real life Boss Hogg by the name of Warren French. Mr. French took Shenandoah from being a Democratic enclave in the 1950’s and early 60’s to being a bastion of Republicanism by the early 1970’s. Mr. French is to be congratulated for his organizational efforts. However, like most dynasties, the machine became stale. But for years the only way to get elected to any office in Shenandoah County or to be the Committee Chair was to receive the blessing of the powers that ran Shenandoah County. In the late 1980’s a movement was started to try and overthrow the ruling class of Shenandoah County. And for years that machine was formidable. And the cause of big government elitism was the way in Shenandoah. Beating back anyone and everyone who tried to take on the beast. However finally in 2011, cracks in the wall started to form. Independent conservative Amanda Wiseley became the 1st person to win a countywide seat in years against a duly nominated Republican. The cracks were further widened in 2013. However, the County GOP Committee was still in the hands of the Old Guard. Movement conservatives, led by the writer of this blog piece, understood that as long as the previous regime controlled the GOP County Committee, that real change could not be implemented.
We started with the Strasburg Magisterial District in 2014. We took it over and tossed out the old guard and put in our own people, who all understood that the main function of a political party was to work to get candidates elected, not to use the committee as your personal sinecure or resume builder. But even then, we only had 8 members of a 50+ member committee. More changes occurred in 2016, where we nearly won the Chairmanship, but held 40+% of the Committee seats. During the previous Committee term, the movement conservatives – again led by the writer of this blog – took over the majority of the committee seats. While this was a major feat, the fact remained that as long as a member of the Old Guard was the Committee chair – we could not have real change. The previous Chairman did a decent job leading the Committee through some difficult times, and I will personally testify that he is a good man. But change was needed – and change we got. Shenandoah County now has a movement conservative as its Chairman. His name is Randy Gilbert, and like many people, he was inspired to get involved after meeting Ben Carson and learning about Mr. Carson’s life story. Randy got involved with the local committee – and became known as its hardest and more tireless worker. Randy won the chairmanship at the last convention unanimously. And just as important, movement conservatives now have a 67% majority of the Committee seats. Meaning that real change is finally coming to Shenandoah County.
Our first meeting was held earlier this week, and the results are already noticeable. There was no constant tension in the air as Old Guard members would verbally abuse Tea Party members. To the contrary, the mood at the organizational meeting was light and airy and almost festive. There was laughing and a real camaraderie from the membership. The constant whining and carping from the Establishment hacks for years past was nearly non-existent. But most importantly – the Shenandoah County Republican Committee has gone from being a clown car of lazy drama queens who cared nothing about winning elections – provided their perks of big government were given to them. Shenandoah County now has a group of leaders who will inspire the Committee members through hard work, and the members of the new Committee are already responding favorably to the pleas to get involved.
People are wanting to join the Committee for the first time in ages, and wanting to do things like donate time or money or help out in any way they can. Different people are taking on different causes. Karen Kwiatkowski has been a leader on the need to legalize hemp farming in Virginia. Dianne Wyss has held public discussions on the proposed Communications Center for Shenandoah County, which was attended by several dozen interested citizens. Others have stepped forward such as Kevin Rooney, who has always been a tireless worker for the cause of limited government, and Ken Cruise, the former head of the Shenandoah County Constitutional Conservatives. We have young people now wanting to join the County GOP, and one millennial named Kyle Ford who will be working on outreach to our youth. Of the 55-60 people on the new County Committee – 45+ of them are hard workers who are involved in their community and will do anything and everything from organizing volunteers to hosting fundraisers, or maybe just orchestrating a letter writing campaign. Thanks to Josh Wilberger, we have a viable social media presence. New members like John Chroniger and Dan Martin are taking leadership positions. Dennis Beagel (correct spelling) is getting the party to take a look at new positions on issues. Lora Smith did an outstanding job as Convention Secretary and has been rewarded with Committee Secretary. It’s no longer about seniority – it’s about how one performs. We are no longer a party of senior citizens. We now have a massive influx of youth and vigor and new ideas.
No longer will GOP establishment hacks be allowed to circumvent Party rules about supporting non Republican candidates. In years past, if the Committee did not like their nominee, other members often supported non Republican candidates, and usually did so with little retribution from the Party. No more. If a movement conservative is the nominee, then that movement conservative will get the full support of Randy Gilbert and his band of campaign worker warriors.
We are now a functional committee again. Interesting what can occur when an organization sheds itself of dead weight. In this case, the dead weight of an out of touch Establishment which was set on destroying the cause of Republicanism in Shenandoah County. It should be said for the record that credit goes many places.
Matt Tederick and Stephen Kurtz showed us the importance of procedural techniques which helped lead to the takeover of the Committee. 6th District SCC member Doc Troxel attended our meetings and helped us with strategy and organization. Much credit goes to my good friend Scott Sayre, who taught us how to think and work as a team. Think Local and Win Bigger is a mantra that Randy and the rest of the Shenandoah County GOP Freedom Caucus have taken as our own motto – part of why so many of us think so highly of Scott Sayre. But at the end of the day, the majority of the credit goes to our new Chairman himself. Randy has inspired us with his personality to be the best that we can be, and he always appeals to the better angels inside each of us. Randy has reached out to all members of the Committee to make sure they know hard work is appreciated. We all believe that Randy will be the best Unit Chair in the 6th Congressional District. Isn’t it amazing what one hard working good man can do?