My Fellow Texas Republicans,
We are facing unprecedented challenges in our country, our state, and our communities as we respond to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last night, after connecting with our SREC Members, Republican County Chairs, and Senate District Convention Chairs yesterday afternoon for a leadership briefing, I held a statewide conference call to update Texas Republicans on the continuing threat of Coronavirus and its impact on our Senate and District Conventions scheduled for March 21 and our biennial State Convention.
Thank you to Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for updating us last night on President Trump’s work to combat Coronavirus nationally and the steps he and Governor Greg Abbott are taking to protect Texas communities. We are keeping them, and all Texans, in our thoughts and prayers.
I want to share a recap of last night’s call and reiterate our plan of action and offer guidance.
There are three immediate ways to receive critical updates going forward about your local Conventions and about our State Convention:
1. You can receive text message updates by texting the word “CONVENTION” right now to 72000;
2. You can receive email updates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or,
3. You can visit our website at texasgop.org and submit your information on the home page.
As a refresher, the purpose of our biennial State Convention is to elect delegates to our National Convention, elect national and state officers, and adopt our platform, priorities, and rules. The senate district and county conventions play a key role in that process, proposing platform planks and selecting delegates to represent them at the state convention. Obviously, their work must be completed prior to the state convention.
In other words, there is a logical order to our local and state convention process — a process that has been made more difficult given the rapidly escalating restrictions on public gatherings.
The situation has been evolving quickly, as you are well aware, and we have been working hard to provide you with real-time information and communicate a plan of action that will allow us to fulfill our duties and obligations to our party, our delegates, our President, and ultimately, our nation. Especially at moments like these, communication is critical.
The Republican Party of Texas faces an unprecedented challenge in simultaneously accomplishing two conflicting missions:
1. Do our best to protect the health and safety of our people, their families and friends, and our communities.
2. Comply with Texas Election Code, RPT Rules, and the Rules of the Republican National Committee while safeguarding our delegates’ rights to be fully represented within our Party and at the Republican National Convention.
RPT respects and appreciates that our convention process exists to protect the four basic rights of delegates, which are as follows:
1. Every delegate has the right to attend the convention;
2. Every delegate has the right to make motions;
3. Every delegate has the right to speak in debate;
4. Every delegate has the right to cast votes.
Sunday evening, the Centers for Disease Control issued an official recommendation to postpone or cancel meetings with 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks. Assuming it is not extended, this 8-week period ends during the timeframe of our biennial State Convention scheduled for May 11th – 16th.
We took immediate action Sunday night, spoke with President Trump’s team in Texas, our statewide elected officials’ team, our RNC leaders in Texas and Washington and began the process in earnest to move the RPT Convention from May to July.
We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed the George R. Brown Convention Center will host our State Convention from July 13th – 18th. Hotel accommodations will also be available in much the same capacity as they were for May.
It is important to understand the Republican Party of Texas and its rules are intentionally designed to be bottom-up. We are a Party of the grassroots — not a party of top-down authority. While it is our intent to hold the State Convention July 13th -18th in Houston, a vote on these revised dates must take place at the April 4th State Republican Executive Committee Meeting. We anticipate being able to follow that meeting with official communications about hotel bookings and other logistical details.
I know that Coronavirus is affecting different areas of Texas differently. Our urban areas seem to be more affected than some of our rural areas. Nevertheless, the recommendation from the CDC on Sunday and the advice from President Trump yesterday afternoon to limit groups to 10 or less for the next 15 days, directly impact the execution of the Senate District Conventions and County Conventions for March 21st. As a result, we gave our strongest recommendation to our Republican leaders yesterday to adjourn March 21st meetings to convene at another time and place outside the 8-week suspension period. We know some Senate Districts and Counties have been looking at dates in April, which is now within the 8-week suspension period. We strongly encouraged our leaders to look for dates outside the 8-week window.
If you are in an area that is holding a Senate District Convention, please contact your Senate District Convention Chairman for an update on your Convention. If you attend a County Convention, please contact your County Chair. If you live in a large urban area such as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Harris County, or Bexar County, you can contact your County Party Chair for information about your Senate District Convention.
Contact information for your County Chair can be found at this link on the RPT website: https://texasgop.org/county_chairs/
You can also email email@example.com or text the word “CONVENTION” to 72000 to request information about the contact for your county or Senate District Convention and to receive convention update notices.
The RPT and I will continue to provide updates as current events and these historic circumstances demand.
To recap key pieces of information:
- The Republican Party of Texas has a clear plan to handle unprecedented challenges to our Convention process and is working extremely hard to ensure as smooth of a path forward as possible amidst a quickly evolving landscape.
- It is our intent to move the State Convention from May 11th-16th to July 13th-18th in Houston, with the approval from the SREC on April 4th.
- We strongly recommend to County Chairs and Temporary Senate District Convention Chairs that they adjourn the March 21st meetings to a date outside the 8-week CDC suspension window.
- Please text ‘CONVENTION’ TO 72000 to stay up-to-date via text, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our convention update email list or visit texasgop.org to submit your information for updates.
- We will continue communicating with you as details emerge and circumstances require.
I want to thank RPT Staff, our RPT Parliamentarian, Chris Howe, and our RPT General Counsel, Wade Emmert, who have been working around-the-clock to provide solutions for our Republican grassroots leaders throughout Texas and to ensure our Conventions at all levels are held with as much engagement and transparency as possible for our delegates.
I want to thank our Republican leaders – our RNC National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong, our RNC National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell, RPT Vice Chair Alma Jackson, our county chairs, Temporary Senate District Convention Chairs, precinct chairs, and the many dedicated volunteers across our great state – who are working tirelessly to see your rights as delegates come to full fruition at the state and national level with transparency, with adherence to our RPT and RNC rules and, most importantly, in the safest manner possible.
In this time of challenge, we cannot afford to give anything less than the best of ourselves. As President Trump often says, we are in this together. And, as Texans, we know we will persevere together. So let us encourage one another, pray for each other, and take care of each other. Let’s faithfully exercise our rights and execute the business and obligations of our Republican Party. Let us continue to prepare for victory in November. Let us pray for God to grant our leaders wisdom, and us patience and fortitude during this historic time.
God bless you, and may God continue to bless our great state of Texas.
James Dickey, Chairman, Republican Party of Texas