October 16, 2017
Dear SREC Members & County Chairs,
The Republican Party of Texas is already preparing for victory in 2018, and my activities this past week are a reflection of that preparation. From kicking off the Campaign Management School in order to train new candidates, to meeting with an RNC Field Finance Director for coaching on fundraising techniques, to visiting with several of you regarding our minority outreach strategy, there has not been a dull moment. I’m honored to lead the largest solidly Republican state in the nation and am committed to keeping our great state on track for victorious elections.
It was a pleasure to speak with JT Edwards and Tanya Robertson of SD 11 regarding minority engagement. They shared with me some great ideas and I will be following up with on those to be sure our engagement strategy is strong and well-implemented.
I saw Vergel Cruz (SD 15) in Houston when I spoke at the Northwest Houston Pachyderm Club, of which he is president. Many of the club’s members are precinct chairs or are active as grassroots volunteers within their local party structure. I’m pictured below with Vergel and club officers.
I saw Terri DuBose (SD 19) in Austin at the Campaign Management School, and Naomi Narvaiz (SD 21) and Linda Kinney (SD 25) in Hays County Thursday evening — more on that later.
Tomorrow evening, the Officials Committee will meet by telephone to discuss and vote on several convention-related contracts as well as a brokerage contract. The purpose of the brokerage contract is to obtain specific information on the options for relocating RPT headquarters in order for us to be able to make an informed decision about the potential savings and tradeoffs around that.
I met with prospective new donors this week in both Houston and Austin. Several specifically commented on the increased efforts to communicate the platform and expressed a desire to support that work. Others are enthusiastic over our close-working relationship with Governor Abbott’s campaign team.
I am preparing for two major fundraising events next week. Tuesday, Oct. 24, I’ll be in Washington, D.C. for a reception with Senator John Cornyn benefitting the RPT. On Friday, Oct. 27, Congressmen Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling will be honored guests at a luncheon in Dallas also benefitting the Party. I’m grateful that our elected officials are showing their support for the Party by attending these events that are important to our success.
On Wednesday, the Campaign Management School participants were treated to a special appearance by State Senator Dawn Buckingham. Not only did they get to hear from someone who has successfully done what they all aspire to do — win campaigns — but they also were able to see her excitement for maintaining and gaining Republican seats in the midterm elections through her role as Victory Chair. I’m grateful for her efforts that are allowing us to invest early in Republican election work. The Campaign Management School participants are pictured below with Senator Buckingham.
In Houston, I was able to meet Rep. Jim Murphy and hear about the challenges his district in particular faces as a result of Harvey flood destruction and displacement. I also met Rep. Phil King, who shared some of his priorities in preparation for the next session.
Most encouraging was the numerous county, district and appeals court judges, city council members, school board members, county commissioners, county judges I have been able to meet in all these travels who are already working hard to earn the support of their voters. It is a privilege to help provide organizational support for officeholders and candidates of the caliber that the Republican Party of Texas and our county parties are able to attract.
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Last week, I shared with you an update on staff work in several of our departments. This week I’d like to highlight a few more.
Jennifer Stoner, Accounting Director, and John Alvey, Accountant work very hard to keep all of our finances in order and to be sure we are complying with all applicable laws. They process expense reports, ensure that our bills are paid, and send reports to our Treasurer, Larry Hicks, for accountability and oversight. They also work with Marissa Vredeveld so that she has the information she needs for fundraising work. Jennifer also bears the responsibility for the Human Resources functions for the RPT. It is a relief to know these critical areas are under the watchful eye of such diligent, experienced and talented people.
Rachel Malone, Operations Director, organized the Campaign Management School last week in which 31 of Texas’ finest campaign staff and consultants volunteered their time to teach new candidates and campaign managers how to run successful campaigns. RPT hosts this 3-day school every other year in Austin and many successful officeholders began their careers by attending CMS. Rachel also oversees scheduling, manages events and appointments, and is coordinating a project to be able to thank legislators for their support of platform items during 85th Regular session. Rachel is pictured, left, with our Vice-Chairman Amy Clark.
Again this week, we were reminded of how positive it is to have the RNC’s continued help and support. Lauren Bosler, RNC Regional Field Finance Director, flew to Austin for 2 days to work with our team on best practices for fundraising. Her advice was immensely helpful to Marissa Vredeveld, our Finance Coordinator, whose role is to drive fundraising efforts, as well as to Rachel Malone and Kyle Whatley as they also provide support for fundraising. She also met with me and provided valuable insight on making the most of the time that I spend connecting with those who are interested in financially supporting the party. Lauren will continue to work with us to refine our finance plan and help us be as efficient and effective as possible.
It’s always a wonderful day when I get to meet with the grassroots of Texas, and last week provided many opportunities!
On Monday morning, I addressed the Campaign Management School participants. As they began their intense 3-day training, I provided the framework of what it means to be a Republican candidate — someone who shares Republican principles, stands for them, and serves their constituents.
On Monday evening, I spoke at the Hispanic Republicans of Texas monthly meeting in Sugar Land and was excited to hear from them firsthand about their dedication to working with RPT and their local county parties to grow Hispanic participation in the Republican Party. They appreciated the things the party has been doing and are excited about our commitment to increase and improve our efforts.
On Tuesday, I spoke to two Pachyderm clubs in Houston — Vergel’s club mentioned above, and the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club. These clubs have made themselves helpful venues for candidates needing the required petition signatures and it was positive to see and meet some of the many strong judicial candidates that Harris County will be fielding in the 2018 elections.
Tuesday evening, I joined the United Republicans of Harris County as their guest speaker. I was pleased to have time with Texas Federation of Republican Women President Theresa Kosmoski, Harris County Chair Paul Simpson andRepresentative Jim Murphy at that meeting, as well as to address the group’s questions about our operations in general and the impact of the Harvey flooding on RPT initiatives in Harris County in particular.
Thursday evening, I gave the main address at the Kyle Buda Republican Group in Hays County. I enjoyed our candid discussion of the issues that are currently on their minds and was happy to talk about party process and how the grassroots can make a difference.
On Saturday, I drove to Fredericksburg for two events. First, the Fredericksburg Tea Party hosted a special meet-and-greet reception in my honor (pictured below). This group has been especially active during this past legislative session, traveling to Austin frequently to testify at committee hearings. They had many questions about my vision for the party and how we are working to advance the platform.
Later that evening, I was the keynote speaker at a reunion of those who were part of a Young Republican group in the 1960’s at UT-Austin (pictured below). When they became involved in the party, there was just one lone Republican in the Texas House. Every other seat in the House, all the State Senate, and all the Congressional delegation, was held by a Democrat. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come since that time, and I know we’re indebted to the people in this group for their work. Many of them continued in the Republican Party and the group included those who have served as mayor of Dallas, congressman, ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and federal judge.
Also on Saturday, several team members produced a candidate training school in Beeville. This is the final session of 17 regional one-day trainings held all over Texas as a joint project between TRCCA and RPT. Pictured below are Vice-Chairman Amy Clark, who has spoken at many of these regional trainings, Regional Field Director Jesse Grady, South Texas YR President Amanda Adamez, SREC Members Mike Goldman and Naomi Narvaiz (SD 21), and Bee County Chair Patty Johnson.
It was my pleasure to again spend time with both Fort Bend County Chair Jacey Jetton and Harris County Chair Paul Simpson in my travels to their counties on Monday and Tuesday. Thursday evening, I was also able to have a few moments with Hays County Chair Russell Hayter.
It was great to see two county chairs at the Fredericksburg Tea Party event. I’m pictured below, with Kendall County Chair Scott Kramer and also with Gillespie County Chair Dalton Fromme and his wife, Joy. They discussed with staff and me what the state party is doing that is proving helpful, and how we can continue to assist them in their roles.
**Please note – the RPT Organization Department is having a Special Edition Leadership Webinar this evening at 6:30 p.m. If you haven’t registered yet, you can register at THIS LINK and you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the webinar. The webinar is designed to help County Chairs understand election-related responsibilities with upcoming deadlines. I hope you can join Brandon Moore and Joanna Kitchen as they discuss Party Switchers, County Chair Petitions, Rejected Applications (Precinct Chairs), Candidate Packets, and GOP Data Center. **
I was able to meet with Bill Calhoun (pictured below) on Monday morning at the Campaign Management School. Bill is the president of Texas Federation for Republican Outreach and is passionate about engaging with African-Americans on our shared values. Bill has been tireless in engagement efforts for years and I was glad to learn from him about ways RPT can be more effective in this capacity.
Update from the Field:
The Field team had a record-setting week of voter contact and relationship building across the state on tax reform and other issues. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Bianca Gracia held a variety of roundtables to engage the faith and business communities. Cassie Luevano worked closely with Republican Clubs and county parties to bring the President’s tax reform message to Texans. Jesse Grady was involved with the Campaign Management School in Beeville (Bee County), while Spencer Davis, Kristy Wilkinson, and Stephen Wong led sessions at the RPT’s Austin Campaign Management School. Joel James recruited new interns and volunteers in the greater Dallas area and Mark Irey developed volunteer leads in Houston. Finally, the RPT was invited to participate in the College Republicans’ Fall meeting where over 150 students from around the state participated in trainings. The key message, relevant to us all: there is no better time to be a Texas Republican!
As always, I encourage you to forward this email to those in your districts, or feel free to share information from it on social media. I’d love for all Republicans in Texas to see the great work that our Republican leadership across the state and our team at RPT HQ are doing in order to prepare for victory!