The old saw claims that a vacation is “2 weeks that are 2 short after which you are 2 tired 2 go home and 2 broke not 2.” My “vacation” lasted just a few days more than three months.
For nearly six years I represented the Sixth Congressional District to the State Central Committee (SCC) of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). SCC members must live in the district they represent. So, when the Virginia Supreme Court handed down their December decision about redistricting, I, along with Lynchburg, Amherst, and the Forest part of Bedford County found ourselves in the Fifth District – not the Sixth. Thus, my vacation began.
I supported my friend and colleague on SCC Susan Lascolette, who was moved from the Seventh District into the Fifth, in her bid to fill the SCC seat that our friend Ed Yensho lost due to redistricting. She won easily.
Then Nancy Rodland, a long-time resident of the Fifth, resigned her SCC seat due to family issues. On April 2nd, the Fifth District Committee elected me by acclamation to take over that seat. Thus, my vacation is over.
Not that I really stopped working during that time. I have been helping the Lynchburg committee interview and vette potential city council candidates, and I helped elect a dynamic new chairman for the Lynchburg Committee, Veronica Bratton. She is a “woman on a mission” to flip City Council red for the first time in over twenty years. She is a born leader, and she has the drive to make it happen.
But an issue came up at the April 2nd meeting that reveals a misunderstanding of how the RPV’s Party Plan (bylaws) views the biannual mass meetings each unit holds in even-numbered years. Not only does the mass meeting elect a new chairman, the attendees at the mass meeting also elect a new local committee. The old committee ceases to exist when the mass meeting is called to order, and a new committee is elected and comes into being when the mass meeting is adjourned. Therefore, it doesn’t matter when you joined your local committee prior to the mass meeting; if you were not elected at the mass meeting you are no longer a member of your local committee.
What happens is this: the local Republican committee that was put in place two year prior has the duty to call a mass meeting to which every Republican in the city or county is invited. That “mass” of Republicans then elects (or reelects) a chairman and also elects individuals to serve on a committee that is tasked with handling all Republican affairs in that city or county – on behalf of all Republicans in that jurisdiction – for the following two years. If you are not elected to that committee in that manner, you are no longer a member.
Others can join the new committee if the members of the new committee choose to add to their numbers, but unless they do so, individuals who were members of the previous committee but who were not reelected at the mass meeting are not members of the NEW committee.
If you find yourself in that situation, the fix is simple. Get elected to the new committee by the new committee under whatever process your local bylaws prescribe.
If you think about it, all of us are on a temporary “vacation” from our local committees for the three hours or so that our biannual mass meetings are in session. But when the meeting is over, vacation is over.
In the same way, many among us have been taking a well-earned vacation from the tremendous efforts we made to elect all three of our state-wide candidates last November. But vacation is over. We have elections coming up this year for many local offices and for every one of our Congressional representatives. Vacation is over.
We must engage volunteers, organize them, train them, and make things start happening NOW for November. The Democrats never took a vacation. Because of that, we are behind. Local committees are not designed so that people can sit around and squabble over policy. Local committees are designed to get the job done themselves and with other Republicans who want and need to be involved, to be given direction, to know what to do for their Commonwealth and their country.
Vacation is over – for all of us.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.