The Washington State Republican party has a set of by-laws that are broken. They give the executive board, which is meant to represent the members of the state committee, the power to undo anything the State Committee does. It also gives the Executive board the power to dissolve any committee the State Committee creates, effectively taking away the power of the State Committee.
Further, the State Chair has the power to dissolve any committee created by the executive board. This has the effect of transferring all authority of the State Committee to the Chair of the Party. This means the County’s Precinct Committee Officers can vote all day long for their Committeeman and Committeewoman to take a message to the State Party, but they will actually have no power to transmit the voice of their county Precinct Committee Officers.
This is all done on day one of the State Committee. Through parliamentary trickery the rules for that first meeting adds the county chairman to the state committee. This is like the Congress of the United States adding all of the State Governors, who then vote for whatever the President wants because they are beholden to the President, rather than to the people of a Congressional District.
In order to put forward a good set of by-laws which protect the will of the rank and file, there must be enough informed Committeemen and Committeewomen on that first day to stop this rule of adding the county chairman. You see, the County Chairs cannot enhance the will of the State Committee with their additional votes. They can, however, swing the vote in the opposite direction of the State Committee on any issue, thereby thwarting the will of the PCOs those committeemen and committeewomen represent. As soon as they are added, they vote for the same by-laws, and the grass-roots are excluded again, for another two years.
HOW is the State Committee Formed?
The State Committee consists of one Committeeman and one Committeewoman from each of Washington’s 39 counties. In order to have enough committeewomen and committeemen to rebuke this rule, we need you to serve. For that reason this paper will explain how easy it is for a committed individual to become the committeeman or committeewoman of their county Republican Party. 41 grass roots, or conservative, or Tea party, or liberty-loving Committeepersons is a majority.
The organization of the Republican Party in the State of Washington consists of Precinct Committee Officers (PCO) who are elected by their precinct. They file with the county courthouse in May and are elected in August when the ballots come out for the primary. Everyone else’s primary is the actual election for PCOs. A Precinct is a portion of the county. A precinct has about 1500 voters. Some counties have 20 precincts, Kitsap has about 200, and King has about 2,000.
The elected PCOs meet in December or January to elect the officers of the County Party and the Leaders of Legislative Districts. Two of the offices they vote on is the State Committeeman (SCM) and State Committeewoman (SCW) who will represent the County at the State Republican party. They elect one man and one woman for these offices. The SCM and SCW will have been elected by a majority of the PCOs
So, one may think that the powerful people in the County Party can pick and choose who will become what position. Actually most County parties are filled with honest people who will not try to manipulate the elections, along with those who are honestly campaigning for the results they wish. Usually, however, offices are filled by the same people year after year because there are not enough people who want to serve. Counterintuitively, the SCM and SCW are often afterthoughts and no one actually wants the position. This comes from the misunderstanding that the Chair of the County Party is the goal of the grass roots, when actually the power of the party lies with the committeeman and committeewoman.
To become the SCM or SCW it is necessary to get the majority of the votes cast by the PCOs at that first County Meeting in December or January. This is far easier than you might think.
Our Party has no control over who runs or is elected as PCO, and most precincts in most counties have no PCO. This means that anyone who files to run in that precinct will be automatically elected. So let us look at the case of a county with 200 precincts such as Kitsap County.
I asked 20 of my friends and acquaintances from within the party or who wish to be a part of the party to file for PCO of their Precinct in May. I especially sought folks in Precincts where there has been no PCO. All 20 of them and I, in my own precinct, were elected. There were a total of seventy PCOs elected. This means that 36 is a majority. I had to convince 16 PCOs to vote for me. Most said “sure, why not”.
In a county with 30 precincts a person could get a candidate to run in every precinct. It is simply a matter of filing with the county auditor during a specific week this May. But let us say only 20 PCOs are elected. In that case a majority is 11. If 7 of those filed because you asked them to, then you only need to convince 4 others to vote for you.
Once you are elected as the Committeeman or Committeewoman from your county, you will attend the first meeting of the Washington State Republican Party in January, where you can cast your vote to end the Top-Down centralized structure by voting for a set of rules that leaves the State Committee as intended; just one SCM and one SCW from each county. This will give the grass-roots the chance to create by-laws that place power where it belongs, at the grass-roots level.
Being a part of it all
Being a SCM/SCW is fun and educational. It will include travel to different parts of the State three times per year. This can cost a couple of hundred dollars, but as vacations go it is money well spent. That is, of course, if you have the money. If you do not, please do not despair. Some counties reimburse for travel and lodging, and sometimes the grass-roots pull together to make sure we all make it to the meeting. Then there is the power of the Proxy. You will be allowed to send someone in your stead. This gives you the opportunity to share this experience with others while giving your pocketbook a break.
Please consider becoming the Committeeman or Committeewoman for your county. If the Republican Party is to survive, the connection to real grass-roots Republicans must be reestablished. You can do it. It is easy to do, fun to do, fun to be a part of the State Committee, and an important step in learning about the Party as well as a chance to do something really important.
For further information you can contact Tony Stephens at (360 )440-2377 or email Tony at TonyStephens4Liberty@Gmail.com
May: File and encourage others to file for PCO
August: get elected as PCO, and help others to do so
December: get nominated and win election as Committeeman or Committeewoman
January: Attend the State Committee Meeting and vote for sound by-laws
For the next two years, be the voice of the PCOs for your County.