If your house is not in order, you don’t remedy that by setting it on fire. Cathi Chamberlain in her book “Rules for Deplorables” describes how America First conservatives can use the weapons of the Socialist-Marxist progressive left against them. It is a guide the Republican Party can use to further its core principles. It is not a box of matches for those in the party to set fire to itself or its leadership. Some Republicans in Manatee County are applying Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to do exactly that, and others now fear these “radicals” are mounting an insurrection within the Manatee County Republican Executive Committee (MCREC). In America, they can’t seize power and I don’t think most MCREC members are going to grant it to them.
The Republican Liberty Caucus works within the party to affect change. Sometimes that effort is public but often it more appropriately begins by engaging party leadership. Most of us are MCREC members, some of us are on the board. We are neither chartered nor affiliated with the party, but we are the “conscience of the party” working to attain a government at every level and a party true to its core principles, the pillars of which are limited government, individual rights, and free enterprise. I am not a member of MCREC. I was and may apply in the future to rejoin. I attend most every monthly meeting as a guest. The message, not the messenger I, is the purpose of this article. The message is not understood, however, if I don’t first provide its personal context so I will.
I became a MCREC member weeks after moving to Manatee County and remained one for close to two years before resigning days after the MCREC elections of December 14, 2020. On that day I changed my voter registration to NPA and did not re-register as a Republican until seven weeks later. The way in which the MCREC elections were orchestrated was a straw which broke this camel’s back. I concluded that two years of individual and outside group attempts to influence reform through party leadership was falling on deaf ears largely due to the autocratic “rule” of the former chairwoman with the support of her VC. The letter pasted below was the last vain attempt to at least start a discussion. I wanted to vote in the primaries, attend MCREC meetings, and to be a voting member of the RLC. Can’t do any of those things without being a registered Republican and I am.
To the credit of the current board and relatively newly elected Chair Steve Vernon much of the “reforms” are being tended to. Steve will tell you he and I have had spirited discussion on these dating back over a year. The “Johnny Come Lately” resurrectionists don’t appreciate that nor do they have the patience or people skills to communicate in a way to influence change-it is their way, all the way, or the highway. Their “bullhorn” approach reminds me of the rather unattractive lady who incessantly last week screamed in a Turning Points reporter’s face “MY CHOICE! MY CHOICE!” or the BLM activist who grabbed the microphone from Bernie Sanders. No way to win friends or influence others and is a Saul Alinsky method we often ascribe to the left but not ourselves.
The MCRLC and I can be very direct and public as many know. I can remember when the BOCC began their Covid Tyranny led by Carol Whitmore, Misty Servia, Betsy Benac, and lone Democrat Reggie Bellamy. I was the only Tuesday speaker at the microphone. Happily, that quickly changed, and a chorus joined in freeing myself to work or to stay home. Despite some harsh social media and public comment, I am still able to speak with Carol and Misty face to face. I can do the same with political consultant Anthony Pedicini who I have been both complementary and critical of. Give credit when due and lay blame when deserved just be sure when done publicly you are certain of your information and put purpose ahead of self-promotion.
Speaking of Anthony, I am glad he was in the corner of the Fab/Fantastic 4 and we have now a conservative majority on the BOCC but I give more credit to the conservative coalition of Tea Party Manatee (now Manatee Patriots), Women4Trump, Christian Family Coalition and the Manatee Sarasota Republican Assembly (now the MCRLC) than I do Pedicini and I hope the current board remembers that as a new coalition is coming together to fortify conservative values on both the BOCC and school board.
May 1, 2021
TO: MCREC Board Member
FROM: Manatee County Republican Liberty Caucus
As Republicans, five of whom are members of the Manatee County Republican Executive Committee, we put the following questions before you, a duly elected member of the board. We have provided a copy of this to each board member. A list of 21 questions was submitted in the name of one EC member, Kevin Wright, nearly two years ago. The questions which follow are those which most of the membership, by vote, determined were ones to be submitted on behalf of MCRLC. They are listed in order of priority based on that vote.
We ask that after consideration, that a meeting at a time and place chosen by the board or its chair be agreed upon to informally discuss these questions and whatever other matters the EC Board members may desire or entertain. We desire that our EC Board Chair, Kathy King, and whoever else the board may arrange be present.
- Why isn’t our routine workload and authority not distributed to the grassroots by the county leadership? By grassroots: why aren’t there precinct captains and why aren’t precincts organized by county or school board districts under a leader responsible to the board or a VC of Precincts? Why do we charter Republican Clubs instead of organizing around the grassroots hierarchy just described to hold monthly meetings to get work done?
- Why isn’t the contact information for all EC members made available to all EC members instead of having to go to the Supervisor of Elections to obtain this public information?Why isn’t the detailed treasurers report (quarterly) provided to and readily accessible to all EC members by the party instead of having to obtain it from the Supervisor of Elections?
- Why is there less information available publicly about the Manatee GOP on our web site than that provided by other counties? Why is there not a “members only” tab to permit members to access information they should have that we do not wish to make public? Why don’t we publish a monthly newsletter?
- Why isn’t there discussion and clarity on the process for vetting candidates for partisan and non-partisan elections by Manatee GOP? How, if at all, does Manatee GOP employ the ability to consider primary endorsement as described broadly in the executive committee rules and procedures? (We advocate vetting of candidates but not necessarily endorsement in primary elections)
- Why are we not routinely considering resolutions to make known the sense and will of county Republicans to the public and to the district and state party? Why aren’t our chartered clubs encouraged and expected to submit such resolutions for consideration by the EC membership at large?
- Why isn’t our “generic” Committee Rules and Procedures and County Constitution made accessible by the county party to membership instead of having to find it from sources outside the GOP? When and how is review and revision of these documents occur?
- Why isn’t there a greater effort to team with and pro-actively enlist the efforts of other conservative and GOP organizations rather than denigrate them as “splinter groups” or “pretenders”?
- Why aren’t the board meetings detailed minutes provided routinely to the general membership?
Kevin W. Wright
Chair, Manatee Republican Liberty Caucus
firstname.lastname@example.org (502) 649-0089
Former Precinct 417 Committeeman, MCREC