On Tuesday, July 28, the Sixth District Republican Committee held its first meeting since our new leadership team was elected at our July 11 convention in Lynchburg. We wanted to hold an in-person committee meeting for several reasons: 1) to show our opinion that the Governor’s prohibitions against normal life are both unwarranted and overreaching, 2) because it is easier to convey meaning and intent to someone in person than via electronic means, and 3) we have several new members, and we needed to meet them and get to know them.
We met at the Stonewall Brigade Bandstand in Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. We chose this pleasant, open-air setting because the Governor won’t let us meet at most of the places where we would normally meet. It was a warm, still evening, but we set up a couple of fans that moved enough air to make it a comfortable evening.
Our Republican guests, Staunton City Councilmember Amy Darby and Staunton Mayor Andrea Oakes brought greetings from their city and an open invitation to meet in Staunton whenever possible. Other guests included Ian Parish, area director for US Senate candidate Daniel Gade, and State Party Chairman candidate Michael Schoelwer, who provided the specifics of his plan to make Virginia a Republican state again.
In his remarks to the committee, new district chairman John Massoud focused on working together, without recriminations from the past, to reach specific voter turnout goals in the Sixth that would overwhelmingly re-elect Congressman Ben Cline, and provide the margin of difference to elect Daniel Gade and re-elect President Trump despite the Democrat majorities in certain parts of the state.
Our first major order of business was to elect a Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer for the District Committee. Incumbent Treasurer Donna Moser was the only candidate for Treasurer, so she was re-elected by acclamation. Former Waynesboro chairman Ken Adams and Liberty University graduate student Tommy Kelley ran for Vice Chair. They each gave excellent speeches focused on unifying the committee and winning in November. Tommy made a statement we should all bear in mind. He said he worked well with people on both sides of the Republican aisle, and he hoped that in two years there would be no aisle.
The two candidates for district secretary were incumbent secretary Karen Kwiatkowski and Rockbridge unit secretary Jan Lowry. They also spoke of their hopes for each of us to work together for victory in November.
During a ten-minute period in which committee members asked questions, each of the candidates provided thoughtful answers. The vote was by secret ballot. After the ballots were counted, Tommy Kelley addressed the committee, withdrew from the race and asked the committee to elect Ken Adams as Vice Chair by acclamation. Likewise, Jan Lowry withdrew from the secretary race and asked the committee to elect Karen Kwiatkowski by acclamation. The entire committee agreed to this with applause for all four individuals.
This was only one example of the spirit of cordial cooperation with which the entire meeting was held. However, a tiny group of sore losers from our convention posted a sarcastic meme belittling the results of our meeting. This childishness said more about those who posted than about the Committee. This type of small-mindedness should be condemned by those who see that the real issue in the Sixth is winning by exceptional margins in November.
I gave a report on our preparations for the “unassembled” State Convention vote on August 15. Every state delegate will vote at their designated polling place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Delegates from Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Botetourt, and Rockbridge/Buena Vista/Lexington will vote at the Salem Civic Center along with two units from the 5th District and several units from the 9th. Delegates from Lynchburg, Amherst County, and Bedford County with vote at Tree of Life Church in Campbell County along with about two-thirds of the 5th District’s units. The other ten units (from Augusta County north) will vote at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona. The voting will be walk-up. (Delegates will park in the lot and walk to the voting tables to cast their ballots. Individuals who for health reasons choose not to leave their cars will be accommodated.)
All in all, this was the type of meeting we need to be having every time – focused on a common goal and working toward that goal in harmony with each other.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.