The Art of Disagreement: A Rebuttal from the Baltimore Area YRs to Charlene Cowan

Editor’s Note: Below is a guest submission written by Melanie Harris and the Executive Board of the Baltimore Area Young Republicans in response to Charlene Cowan’s piece on the Charm City Young Republicans posted on Thursday.

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Charlene Cowan, of the Baltimore City Republican Central Committee, spun a circular tale of opinion and speculation, regarding a collective political decision produced from the Executive Board of the Baltimore Area Young Republicans. Below please find our response.

No matter where one is in life, it is to be expected that at one point or another, one will come across a situation, person, or a group of people with which they disagree. This can be in politics, at work, at school, within families- any time where one is introduced to others, a potential for conflict can arise. It is how one handles such conflict that is the true spirit of that person’s character.

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I’ll briefly address the blog posted to Red Maryland, yielding my name in the title. The Baltimore Area Young Republicans ( found conflict in our state and chapter bylaws with another local club beginning in the area. We had verbally and in written form addressed this conflict with Charm City’s new board, without success. In accordance with options available from our national organization, the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF), we followed the professional format of filing a dispute. This is an unbiased option available to every club in the national organization, allowing each side to choose an equal number of people from the organization to advocate for their side’s view to the other side. An odd person is chosen to hear both sides and make the final decision. Our board has an equal chance of winning as theirs does, which means that our board has an equal chance of losing as theirs. The dispute was filed with the same verbiage as any that would be filed with the YRNF, and was sent following a collective decision to do so by the BAYRs Executive Board. Our professional standard is to make decisions together.

Unfortunately, a mischaracterization of events, actions, and people involved has overlooked these important facts, as well as others. I have been corresponding with the co-chairmen of the Charm City club over the past few weeks in an attempt to figure a solution that would please both parties. Should this occur, their club has been made aware in writing that our club will pull the dispute. The tone has been respectful, and I am optimistic that our two groups can find a way to work together.

This is my last month as Chair of the Baltimore Area Young Republicans. I owe a lot to this club, and it would not be right to hand over a problem to my successor. Working with the dynamic board and members of the club has made it better over time and has made me better. I have learned so much during my tenure as Chair, and don’t take for granted the many blessings that came with having to rise to fulfill the responsibilities of this position.

In spite of Ms. Cowan’s arguably libelous statements, my sole intention is to grow membership in the Republican party in the city, county, state, and country. My overall desire is to continue to build the Maryland Young Republicans and further make our wonderful organization known through hard work and unwavering leadership. Leadership means not allowing distractions from your goals in the presence of those that disagree, moreover untenably. Catching flies is an art. I will continue to serve the party and volunteer for candidates and causes I believe in to achieve my goals of helping turn Maryland red.

Past relationships aside, I want nothing but success for all of my fellow Young Republicans, both personally and professionally. I look forward to what we’ll create as the future of the Republican Party, and to seeing who my friends in the YRs become in the upcoming decades.

Thank you to Red Maryland for giving me an opportunity to respond. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Melanie Harris

This post has been reviewed and approved by the Executive Board of the Baltimore Area Young Republicans prior to submission.

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