Greetings from Borah Van Dormolen, National Committeewoman, Texas.
I've just returned from the Western Republican Leadership Conference 2011 which began with CNN sponsored Presidential Debate on Tuesday, October 18th.
Participating as a spectator for the Presidential debate was absolutely exciting. The staging, the lights, the behind the scene perspective was a great experience. Other Texans attending that I am aware of: State Senators Jane Nelson & Joan Huffman and Vicky Vickers from Williamson County. We all had great seats and were thrilled when Governor Perry came off stage to greet us and take time for photos.
The crowd did not react favorably to the personal attacks and I was very surprised that Gov Perry's comments about creating jobs thru energy independence did not get a bigger more positive reaction. The debates are clearly difficult on every candidate as they tried to vie for time to explain their agenda, the differences between each other identified and sound bites against the current administration.
The following day the Western Republican Leadership conference began with numerous GOP speakers, workshops focused on grassroots activities, communications thru social media, political organizations focused on electing GOP candidates and receptions with GOP political leadership and candidates. The Western region is comprised of 16 states and territories. Nevada is a crucial battleground state and the conference was a clear indication that Republicans and Republican leaning coalitions were coming together to ensure Victory in 2012.
Wednesday started with comments from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus followed by Governor Perry.
Chairman Priebus provided an enthusiastic update on the progress the RNC is making toward the Victory plans for 2012 as well as a solid message on why President Obama must be a one term President. Governor Perry with Anita and Sidney Perry sitting in the crowd delivered his very focused message and plan to get America back to work. He elaborated his discussion on his interest in the flat tax, job creation through energy independence and getting Washington out of our personal lives. He was very well received and his likeability factor was phenomenal. Immediately following his remarks, was a reception in his honor.
Sen. Nelson & Huffman – Vicky Vickers and the Texas Gals
Governor Perry cordially worked the room and included every one of us in his speech to the crowd attending his reception. We were honored to be there as his "Texas Gals". Anita and Sidney had to depart early, as Anita was the key note speaker for a Nevada Federation of Republican Women's meeting being held across the street from the Venetian.
Immediately following the reception Vicky and I departed for the scheduled Women's Tea. Amy Tarkanian, Nevada State Chair, opened the event with welcoming remarks and was followed by Sharon Day, RNC Co-Chair introducing Mrs. Romney who spoke about her family and what a great husband Mitt is. Sue Lynch, President of the National Federation of Republican followed with fiery and enthusiastic comments about the need to make President Obama a one term President and firing Harry Reid as Majority Leader in the Senate. State Senator Barbara Cegavske (NV) introduced Maggie's List, a Political Action Committee for women running for Federal Office. Numerous women signed up on the spot and departed wearing a Maggie's List pin. I sit on the Executive Committee for Maggie's list and was extremely pleased with the enthusiastic support. (www.maggieslist.org.) I was also able to visit with Kay Butchko, a Texan currently residing in Nevada.
Amy Tarkanian – Kay Butchko with Borah
Vicky Vickers and I then filled in the rest of the afternoon with workshops from GOPAC presenters and an address by Herman Cain.
We completed our day at the Welcome Reception featuring U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei (NV) and Sharon Day, Co-Chair, Republican National Committee at the Garden of the Gods Pool, at Caesar's Palace.
Chilling out at the pool – Sen. Barb Cegavske – Co-Chair Sharon Day, RNC
Thursday was a day full of great speakers starting with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Gov. Sandoval and other senior Nevada Republicans are working very hard to organize an advanced voter-turnout operation capable of reclaiming the Silver State from Pres, Obama in 2012. My observation: if the turnout of Nevada Republicans to the WRLC is any indication, the Republicans are demonstrating the momentum to exceed the democrats with enthusiasm and voter turnout.
Gov. Sandoval was followed by numerous panel discussions on:
- Energy's Influence on the Economy & National Security, with Marty Durbin, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, American Petroleum Institute; Barry Worthington, Executive Director, United States Energy Association; David Monsma, Executive Director, Energy & Environment Program Sam Ori, Director of Policy, Securing America’s Future Energy.
- Achieving Prosperity Within the Latino Community: A Conversation About Business, Education, & Freedom, with Rosario Marin, Former Treasurer of the United States; Daniel Garza, The Libre Initiative; Jose Cuevas, Small Business Owner & Presiding Officer of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
- NRCC’s U.S. House Race Overview, with Guy Harrison, Executive Director, NRCC; Jeff Burton, Deputy Executive Director, NRCC; Mike Shields, Political Director, NRCC.
- Social Media Matters in the 2012 Election, with Katie Harbath, Facebook; Adam Sharp, Twitter; Jordan Raynor, Engage DC; Niall McSheffary, Elementz Interactive, Moderator: Rob Saliterman, Google.
The day concluded with Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny Citizens United movie screening. The movie is 90 minutes honoring the life and leadership of Ronald Reagan. The movie and corresponding book is available from Citizens United. The hosts of the movie our Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
The last day, Friday the 21st, started with a phone call from Senator Cornyn's staff reporting that he would not be appearing due to the late night vote in the Senate. We mused over the fact that Majority Leader Harry Reid probably didn't want Senator Cornyn appearing in his state.
The day began with former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who is now a candidate for U.S. Senator. She was followed by former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. Both individuals talked about the necessity of a strong Republican Party which offers better ideas and a change in direction for this country. The best presentation of the conference in my opinion was the panel discussion: We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment, But What Kind? with Sen. Mike Lee (UT) and Rep. David Schweikert (AZ). Moderator: Alex Cortes, Let Freedom Ring. They were very frank with their discussion of the hurdles and obstruction to any real budget balancing because of the Democrats in the Senate. With the end message of "if we do not win the Senate nothing will be done".
The day began to wind down with a reception for Gov. Lingle that afternoon. I was honored to join my friend Miriam Hellreich, National Committeewoman, Hawaii as host for this event. The day concluded with a Reagan Centennial Celebration Dinner with Keynote speaker Gov. Haley Barbour (MS).
Gov. Linda Lingle, Hawaii – Gov. Haley Barbour, Mississippi
Texas is a member of the Republican National Committee, Southern region. The Southern Republican Leadership Conference is January 19 – 22, 2012, in Charleston, South Carolina. To register and obtain more information log on to SRLC2012.org. This conference will also include empowering workshops, socials and camaraderie with Southern Republicans and a Presidential Town Hall meeting to include a straw poll.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Borah Van Dormolen
National Committeewoman, TX