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Republicans kick up their boots in Ft. Worth

Wilco Pct. 160 Chairman Rick Birkman, Wilco Sgt. at Arms Emeritus Dean Higginbotham and State Rep. candidate Tony Dale visit after the caucus.
Wilco Pct. 160 Chairman Rick Birkman, Wilco Sgt. at Arms Emeritus Dean Higginbotham and State Rep. candidate Tony Dale visit after the caucus.
L. Birkman

The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) held a very successful state convention from Thursday, June 7th through Saturday, June 9th at the Ft. Worth Convention Center in the downtown area of the city. Thousands of Republican activists attended,many of them clad in red, white and blue garb and wearing numerous stickers for various conservative causes and clubs. Over 175 delegates and alternates from Williamson County were there, many staying at the delegation's headquarters hotel, the Ft. Worth TownePlace Suites. Statewide and national figures addressed attendees throughout the long weekend, including a very nice "goodbye for now" speech from outgoing US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who thanked the crowd for their support over her long years in public office. Senator Hutchison will leave office at the end of this year, and both of the Republican candidates, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, vying to take her place were at the convention as well. Our own State Republican Executive Committeeman, Hal Talton, was chairman of the RPT Convention Committee and did a wonderful job. This may have led to our senatorial district being seated in the very front section of the floor of the arena, giving us front row seats to all the action, including the speeches, introduction of state senators and candidates, state house members and candidates and the floor debates.

The Williamson County delegates also met in senatorial and congressional caucus meetings throughout the weekend. A number of locally elected officials were in attendance including State Representatives Larry Gonzales and Dr. Charles Schwertner, the Republican candidate for State Senator, District 5; County Commissioners Cynthia Long, Valerie Covey, and I; as well as County Attorney Jana Duty; Constable Rick Coffman; County Clerk Nancy Rister; Justice of the Peace Edna Staudt; Cedar Park City Councilmember Donald Tracy; Leander City Councilmember Michell Cantwell and of course, Williamson County GOP Chairman Bill Fairbrother. A number of candidates were also there, such as Cedar Park City Mayor Pro Tem Tony Dale, who is the Republican candidate for State Representative, District 136 and one of the recent winners of the Republican Primary, Betsey Lambeth, who will take over as one of our district judges next January. Mr. Dale was unanimously elected as chairman of the congressional caucus, which oversaw numerous elections for various party positions, such as national committeeman and national committewoman. US Army Lt. Col. (ret.) Borah Van Dormolen of Salado was re-elected a national committeewoman and Dr. Robin Armstrong was elected national committeeman. During our state senatorial caucus, Megan Higginbotham, a member of the Young Republicans and recently campaign manager for District Judge-Elect Betsey Lambeth, of Williamson County and Russell Martinez of Walker County were elected as our new state executive committee members.

The party platform and rules were adopted with much discussion and points of clarification during two general sessions of the convention. Chairman Steve Munisteri, who was re-elected along with Melinda Fredricks as vice-chairman, did a great job leading the large crowd through the sometime arcane Robert's Rules of Order. One of the most debated topics was the change to the party platform regarding illegal immigration, which some viewed as softening of the platform and others viewed as moving from rhetoric to a roadmap to solve the problem. The delegates adopted "The Texas Solution" as follows:

"Because of decades-long failure of the federal government to secure our borders and address the immigration issue, there are now upwards of 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States today, each of whom entered and remain here under different circumstances. Mass deportation of these individuals would neither be equitable nor practical; while blanket amnesty, as occurred with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, would only encourage future violations of the law. We seek common ground to develop and advance a conservative, market- and law-based approach to our nation’s immigration issues..."

Much more details are available at

All in all it was very successful convention. Kudos to Chairman Munisteri, Hal Talton, Bill Fairbrother and all the others who worked to make it a success. It was my sixth convention to attend and the best so far!


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