Former House Speaker Tom Delay, fresh from a long-awaited victory in the criminal case against him, was a surprise speaker at the regularly scheduled 3rd quarter meeting of the Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee Monday Sept 23, at Houston Baptist University. Delay spoke with calm, confident passion of his faith, the challenges of his many political opponents over the years, and the groups of “prayer warriors” who had supported him in prayer visions and symbolic stances of faith at various times. He called for similar prayer and effort to reaffirm Christian faith in all areas of public life and service.
The operating rules of recognized political parties are established by state statute. The Executive Committee consists of the duly elected or appointed precinct chairpersons for each voting precinct in Harris County. Altogether, about 450 precincts could be represented, and 220 is required for a quorum. More than 250 were present, not counting the precinct chairs (including this author) who took the oath of office during the meeting.
Most precinct chairpersons are enthusiastic party supporters willing to devote the time and effort necessary to assure administrative functions, debate policy, and grow the party at the local level. Generally, they serve as election judges or alternate judges and recruit clerks to help run the local election booths. They are also frequently the volunteers who assist state and local candidates.
Naturally, with so many activists in one location, Executive Committee meetings are an ideal time for networking, informal “meet and greet” sessions, and souvenir photos.
I attended the meeting as one of several candidates previously interviewed by the Vacancy Committee to serve as chairpersons for my precinct 541 for the balance of the unexpired term. Our local chairperson had moved out of the precinct shortly after I moved to my new location.
Enthusiasm and confidence of the local grassroots members was unmistakable. Also noteworthy were groups such as TFRO, Texans for Republican Outreach, a group of African American Republicans led by Bill Calhoun working to recruit conservative African Americans. Simla organizations are reaching out to Latino Americans.
Meeting proceedings and deliberations are not public. However, minutes of the meetings and complete statements of resolutions are posted on the Harris County GOP website.