I am a Republican who is very concerned with the current direction of the local Republican party. The Bannock County Republican Party is divided, and it cannot function correctly under this current divisive environment. The establishment Republicans who control the local Republican Party passed a set of bylaws in a Central Republican Committee meeting a while back. These bylaws have created huge problems that have brought the local Republican Party to its knees. These bylaws require the Republican Party to have an unreasonably large amount of people at each meeting or they won’t have enough people to have a quorum. Consequently, we can rarely get enough precinct committeemen at the meetings to have a quorum. If we don’t have a quorum, we cannot get anything done because they cannot conduct business without a quorum. The Republicans have not been able to consistently get a quorum in a very long time. These bylaws have crippled our party.
These self-destructive bylaws were designed to target and purge conservative voices in the local Republican Party. These bylaws are not just hurting conservative Republicans — they are hurting the entire party. Everybody is affected negatively by these bylaws.
The local Republican Party cannot function properly with these bylaws. So how did we get here? The establishment Republicans in the Bannock County GOP hate the conservative tea party movement that is happening within the GOP. The tea party is not a political party. The tea party is a movement within the Republican Party that promotes constitutional principles inside of the Republican Party. I guess the establishment Republicans have a problem with constitutional Republicans shaking things up. The tea party was winning in the room at almost every Bannock County Republican Central Committee meeting. The tea party wasn’t winning because they had the majority. The tea party was winning because they were the only ones actively showing up to the central committee meeting every month. The establishment and moderate Republicans were not actively attending the meeting each month.
The establishment Republicans didn’t like that the tea party was having victories each month, so they crafted a pretty stupid plan to deal with it. They decided to raise the quorum limit to an unrealistically high number to prevent the tea party from winning in the room. The tea party cannot have victories if there is no quorum. The problem with this is that nobody in the Republican Party can have a victory without a quorum because they are unable to conduct business. The party is unable to move forward because of this. The Bannock County Republicans shot themselves in the foot with this one. These bylaw changes have done nothing but divide the Republican Party even further. It has also neutered the local Republican Party’s effectiveness and has promoted laziness. Rather than cracking the whip and telling people to attend the meeting they were elected to attend, the Bannock County GOP decided to raise the quorum limit so they wouldn’t have to worry about tea party victories. This has not solved the problem with precinct committeemen being too lazy to attend their meetings. These bylaw changes have actually made the attendance problem even worse.
It appears the establishment has finally realized that the party was hurt by their previous bylaw changes. So what are they proposing now to solve the problem? They are proposing new bylaw changes that give the chairman and his unelected Executive Committee the power to pull out $1,000 each month so they can move the Republican Party forward without a quorum.
Their proposal for Article VI Sec. 2 of the bylaws reads, “The County Chairman is authorized to spend up to $1,000.00 each month with the approval of a majority of the Executive Committee.”
I believe this is the wrong way to go. The chairman and his Executive Committee should not be authorized to spend $1,000 a month without the approval of a quorum. A quorum is made up of our democratically elected precinct committeemen. Our precinct committeemen are our elected representatives. The people elected our precinct committeemen to represent us in the Republican Party. The local Republican Party will no longer be a representative government if we continue to go down this path. It will be a sad day for freedom when the Republican Party is no longer represented by the American people. That is what will happen if we continue to minimize the powers of our democratically elected precinct committeemen.
Our federal government is slowly becoming a judicial dictatorship and an executive dictatorship. Almost all of the power rests solely in the executive branch and the judicial branch because Congress has made itself irrelevant by ceding too much of its power to the executive and judicial branches of government.
I fear the same thing is happening with the new bylaw proposals establishment Republicans are pushing. The proposals are designed to allow the chairman to conduct business without a quorum. This makes a quorum unnecessary because a quorum is no longer needed to conduct business.
Our precinct committeemen represent their precincts in a quorum. A quorum is where they have a vote. If our duly elected precinct committeemen vote to cede their power to the chairman by making quorums unnecessary, they will be rendering themselves irrelevant just like Congress has. How does one represent his precinct without a vote? I understand that the Republican Central Committee wants to do this because they can’t get enough people at the meeting to have a quorum. I personally think it would be more sensible to lower the quorum requirement so we can actually have one rather than making a one unnecessary by allowing the chairman to spend $1,000 each month without the approval of a quorum. I want my precinct committeeman to have a vote and a real voice in the Republican Party. I call for lowering the quorum requirement, not making it to where having a quorum is no longer needed.
I encourage everyone to contact their precinct committeeman and find out where they stand on this issue. Let them know where you personally stand on this issue.
Ben Gregersen of Pocatello is a student at Idaho State University and is the acting chairman of the Bannock County Republican Liberty Caucus. He is also the host of “The Ben Gregersen Show,” which airs on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in Pocatello.
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