For half a century, one name has been synonymous with Republican politics in Texas, Dr. Wally Wilkerson. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Wilkerson serving as the Montgomery County Republican Chairman.
Hundreds of people joined the Montgomery County Republican Party, along with special guests Senator John Cornyn and Cecilia Abbott, last week at an event honoring his 50thanniversary. There were even special video tributes recorded and shown at the event fromU.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Attorney General Greg Abbott, State Senator Brandon Creighton, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus.
Not only is Dr. Wilkerson the longest serving county chairman in Texas history, there is no record of any county chairman in the entire United States that has served for 50 years. As everyone familiar with Dr. Wilkerson’s history as Montgomery County Chairman knows, he entered the political landscape at a time when Texas wasn’t considered a Republican stronghold, and because of his lifelong dedication to the Republican cause, a Democrat has not won a seat in his county since 1994 and Texas has never looked so red.
According to a recent article on Wally in the Houston Chronicle:
In explaining the secret of his success, Wilkerson said: “Politics is the art of the possible. Always remain optimistic, lest you become desperate and ineffective.”
His success came only after 14 years of defeat after crushing defeat, until the first Republican victory came in a modest win for a justice of the peace candidate. Democratic officials were not always receptive to the new upstart Republicans during those early years.
That became apparent the first year Wilkerson was elected as county GOP chairman in 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson was running against the Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, and Wilkerson decided to do something rare: Hold a Republican primary.(Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle story detailing Wally’s tenure as Chairman)
Republican Party of Texas Chairman, Steve Munisteri, offered the following statement on Dr. Wilkerson’s 50th anniversary: “I would like to congratulate Wally on achieving a truly amazing milestone. I know firsthand that the job of Party Chairman is a challenging one. It is rare for a County Chairman to last ten years, let alone 50. Dr. Wilkerson has been an instrumental leader for the Republican Party of Texas and helped shepherd in the modern era of the Republican Party. We are all truly grateful to him.”
Dr. Wilkerson is a shining example of a public servant that goes above and beyond the call of his duties and put the needs of his community above his own. The rest of us can only strive to reach the heights Wally has reached during his tenure and we will always remember his accomplishments. Happy 50thanniversary Wally.