Dear Delegates to the RPV State Convention,
I do not understand why the Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has allowed the structure of the RPV to atrophy the way it has or why he is resistance to change. One of the “Pretty Good Rules” that I learned over the course of my career in the U.S. Marine Corps and the CIA was that if you do not like change, you are going to love irrelevance. This resistance to change is a main reason why the RPV finds itself in a political cul-de-sac. We go round and round the traffic circle while the Democrats race ahead and turn our beloved state into another California.
In any dynamic environment, be it culture, politics, business, or warfare, an organization must constantly evaluate what is working and how to correct what is not. Principles are sacrosanct, but we must be relentlessly pragmatic about organizational structure and how to achieve goals. After a decade of defeats, we in the RPV must look at every level of our operations. The first place to scrub is the State Central Committee (SCC). It is the hub for all RPV activities. If SCC is not functioning well, nothing else is going to work.
I have endured endless hours of SCC meetings on Party Plan amendments, appeals, etc. In all that time, we have never discussed winning elections – our sole reason for being. To me, that’s completely backwards. The only thing SCC should be discussing is winning elections. Every topic needs to be measured against that goal. If it is not, process wins over substance – and that is bad.
Two groups have proposed Party Plan Amendments (PPA’s) which revolve largely around shrinking or expanding the membership of SCC. The Republican Change Committee wants to make SCC more nimble by reducing its size and tying all seats directly to the grassroots of the PRV. Grow Our Party has also proposed an amendment, which adds more seats to SCC. However, it is not clear exactly what problem they are trying to solve or how adding more of their members to SCC will help us win elections. I am chagrined that our planned unassembled convention format does not permit us to debate these PPA’s; we need to hear the pros and cons. But at least the topic has been broached – finally.
For my part, I am completely indifferent about the size of the SCC. To me, the only relevant unit of measure is whether it helps us win as many elections as possible. What works, keep. What we can do better, change. The SCC has a lot of very smart people. If elected Chairman, regardless of what happens with the PPA’s, I will appoint an ad hoc committee to scrub SCC and tell us what we can do better and I will put their recommendations to a debate and a vote at the first SCC meeting after August 15.
For my part, if elected Chairman, I do have three actions that I want SCC to take. First, I want a financial oversight committee. We had one and, after almost a year, it is finally being re-constituted. That absolutely needs to be a standing sub-committee. Second, I want a standing sub-committee to oversee election operations. We must write a campaign plan for the November 2021 State elections and begin to implement it furiously right now. Third, I want a sub-committee for media operations. It needs to be dedicated to publishing RPV statements, getting interviews on mass media, and lighting up social media networks with our message.
When I was on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, one of the Marine Corps Commandants that I served under was Gen. A. M. Gray. Some reporter asked him about inter-service rivalries. He responded that, in his 45 years, he had never seen a crowded battlefield; there was always plenty of fight to go around for everybody. I look at our SCC the same way. I want State Central to be optimal and inclusive. But it is not an honorific. If I am elected Chair, I plan to work very closely with SCC. But, make no mistake – we have an existential fight coming in this November. To those who are not already doing so, if you want to be on State Central and I am Chairman, be prepared to grab an oar and start pulling like there is no tomorrow.
There’s gonna’ be plenty of fight to go around.
Chairman, Lancaster County Republican Party
Candidate, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia
Mike Schoelwer for RPV Chair
Emailed to Delegates on July 6, 2020