The Maryland Republican Party Spring Convention will be next weekend in Bethesda, and one of the key agenda items will be an amendment to the State Party bylaws proposed by Queen Anne’s County Central Committee member and candidate for Register of Wills Kevin Waterman.
The proposal has several key components:
Eliminate the positions of 2nd Vice-Chairman and 3rd Vice-Chairman, and replaces them with four regional Vice-Chairmen;
Establish yearly regional conventions for the four newly created regions;
Reduces the number of State Party Conventions from two to one in odd number years.
These proposals are a much needed change for state party organization. If you have ever attended a State Party Convention, you will know that little gets accomplished during the actual business meetings of the State Party. Often, convention business will get whittled down to reports by the officers (some of which may take as many as 15 minutes a piece depending on who is giving them), debate on some pro-forma resolutions, and that’s pretty much it. The rest of the time during convention weekend is dedicated to an Executive Committee meeting, hospitality suites, and training sessions.
All in all, having two statewide conventions every year is not a valuable use of resources, particularly the time of those Central Committee who have to participate in them. The only reason to have two conventions in a year is that RNC bylaws require the State Party to have a convention to elect Convention Delegates and the National Committeeman and Committeewoman between the Presidential Primary and the National Convention during Presidential Election years.
Going the regional convention route is a much better way to go about things for any number of reasons, but there are two in particular that I think are important:
Resources: Many Central Committee members have to use their time and often times financial resources in order to attend two conventions a year. Regional conventions will likely cut back on the amount of time and money spent by most Central Committee members. Regions will be able to conduct convention business in one day and folks will be able to attend the convention as a day trip instead of over an entire weekend.
Localization: We as Republicans believe that the government that governs best is government that is closest to the people. So why not make sure that our party governs that way too? Regional conventions will reduce the cost and time burden on Republican activists and local citizens who wish to attend party events. The party will have the opportunity to have the same speakers and offer the same training closer to home. In addition, regional conventions will offer the opportunity for like-minded conservatives in these particular regions to forge new working relationships across the region to help with the cross-promotion of events and candidates, and allow innovative new ways of attracting new Republicans to our midst.
Creating four new regional Vice-Chairmen to replace the 2nd- and 3rd Vice-Chairmen is also a way to further localize our party. This way, we will be sure that all regions of the Party are represented on the Executive Board of the State Party and that no one region will be able to dominate party leadership. All regions will make sure that their voice is heard.
Kevin Waterman’s proposal is one worthy of supporting, and I would encourage you to contact your Central Committee member to let them know your opinion on it. Feel free to read the entire proposal (without some recent minor edits), below.