November 19, 2015

Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention

Following the rejection of the so-called "Houston Equal Rights Ordinance" (HERO) by Houston voters on November 3, the city of Dallas adopted a similar ordinance with all the defeated ordinance's flaws on November 10. Jared Woodfill, former Harris County Republican Party chairman and once-and-future candidate for Republican Party of Texas chairman -- and, to his credit, the leader of the effort to overturn HERO -- proposed that various county Republican executive committees adopt a resolution calling for the 2016 Republican Party of Texas convention, scheduled to be held in Dallas, be moved to another city. The Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee took the matter up this past Monday and, after some debate, tabled the resolution indefinitely. To my knowledge, no county has adopted such a resolution, leading Woodfill and other supporters of the move to urge like-minded Republicans to call or write RPT chairman Tom Mechler and the State Republican Executive Committee in order to encourage them to move the convention.

* * * * *

Dear Chairman Mechler, Vice-Chairman Clark and Members of the SREC;

This past Monday night, it was my honor and pleasure to speak at the Harris County Republican Executive Committee meeting in opposition to a resolution urging that the Republican Party of Texas move its convention due to the adoption of a city ordinance that is contrary to the RPT platform. That resolution was tabled by an overwhelming vote of the body, a move I fully supported. In light of a continued campaign to move the convention, I would like to communicate my opposition to such a move to those who are ultimately charged with making the decision.

At the HCRP EC meeting, I offered three reasons for opposing the resolution and moving the convention. These reasons were as follows:

  • The goal of the Republican Party of Texas is the election of Republican candidates to office. Such efforts take money, and the frittering away of somewhere around three-quarters of a million dollars intended for that purpose would be gross negligence by RPT leaders. While supporters of the move claim that their so-called “principled stand” would bring in sufficient money to cover the cost of breaching various contracts associated with the Dallas convention, none of them are prepared to pledge to raise or contribute that sum if their proposal is implemented. Their proposal is therefore financially irresponsible and an abdication of the party’s primary role on the eve of what may be the single most significant election of the twenty-first century.
  • Any move that is made at this time would not guarantee that there is no “bathroom ordinance” in place at the time of the convention in the city where the convention is held. Houston, for example, has a candidate who is committed to re-imposing the HERO ordinance and a second who is open to imposing a modified version of that law. Fort Worth or San Antonio could do the same? What happens when this happens in March or April? Do we make another move, or do we stay put? Nobody is prepared to answer that question.
  • Why limit our criteria solely to transgenders in bathrooms? Why not make sanctuary cities off limits? After all, if we cannot patronize a city that opposes our party platform, we can find a reason to eliminate every city with the needed facilities from consideration. It is therefore disingenuous to declare that the party must move the convention because of this issue.

However, there are additional reasons for rejecting this ill-conceived proposal that others have brought to my attention since Monday evening.

  • The supporters of the “anywhere but Dallas” movement never offer a plan for how we make this move. What city do they want us to move to? Does that city have sufficient convention and hotel space available at the appropriate time? What are the logistics for making that change? Absent answers to these questions, the proposal is nothing but a publicity stunt.
  • This proposal is not about principles or legislation – it is really a thinly-veiled effort at self-promotion by a disgruntled loser in the recent race for state party chair who is seeking to win that position in 2016. He’s flexing his muscles and trying to rally support, not seeking to build the party and ensure it has influence at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next summer. Whatever the relative merits of his candidacy, the party should not be giving in to this demand – and I say that as someone who knows, likes, and respects him.
  • Most importantly, we are under time constraints for holding our state convention due to RNC rules. If we don’t select our delegates within a window defined by those rules, we will have no voice in selecting the Republican candidates for president and vice president next year, nor in writing the Republican Platform. Moving the convention would possibly put us outside that window. Is this city ordinance worth giving up Texas’ voice in this process, especially given the presence of our own junior senator in the presidential race?

Proponents of moving the convention have, of course, spoken in apocalyptic terms about the consequences of not moving the convention. One elected official insists that moving the convention will “unite the Republican Party and the grassroots” – ignoring, of course, that the grassroots rejected the proposal here in Harris County and no county party anywhere in Texas has endorsed this radical idea. This should make it clear that the grassroots – and the precinct chairs that make up the executive committee in each county are the elected representatives of the grassroots of the party – do not support it. The campaign to bring about this change is therefore not a matter of the grassroots making its voice heard. It is nothing but Astroturf.

This is not to say that those seeking the change are bad people. They are not. Nor is it to say that they are wrong in opposing the Dallas ordinance. They were not – but then again, many of us who object to moving the convention were their allies in defeating the HERO ordinance and will be again in opposing its Dallas analog and any other incarnation of that immoral law that may crop up in the future. What I am saying is that they are wrong on this one, and the RPT should stand firm on the location of the 2016 convention while considering the existence of such laws as a disqualifying factor for choosing the location of the convention in future years.

Gregory S. Aydt
Precinct Chair, Harris County Precinct 333

* * * * *

Here is the resolution that was introduced Monday in Harris County, and which Woodfill and company continue to promote.

WHEREAS, the Republican Party has a long history supporting and advancing traditional family values and opposing special privileges for any specific class of people and;

WHEREAS, the LGBT community is aggressively pursuing a radical agenda that includes special privileges at the expense of others including allowing biological males and females to enter the restrooms of the opposite sex and;

WHEREAS, allowing men into women's restrooms and similar facilities poses a real danger to our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters and;

WHEREAS, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance which expanded rights for transgender persons including provisions to allow men into women's restrooms and;

WHEREAS, the voters of Houston overwhelmingly rejected by a 61% to 39% margin Houston's Proposition 1, which would have implemented the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, on November 3, 2015 and;

WHEREAS, the Dallas City Council voted on November 10, 2015, just one week after the defeat of Houston's Proposition 1, to expand protections for transgender persons which would allow men into women's restrooms and;

WHEREAS, the vote by Dallas City Council was an obvious act of contempt for conservative Republican values and the vote of a majority of Houstonians and;

WHEREAS, the Republican Party of Texas has selected the city of Dallas for its 2016 Republican State Convention to be held from May 12-14, 2016 and;

WHEREAS, the city of Dallas should not be rewarded economically for its contempt for traditional values by hosting the Republican State Convention.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls on the Republican Party of Texas to immediately move the 2016 Republican State Convention from the city of Dallas to another Texas city that respects our Republican values and does not allow for persons to enter the restrooms of the opposite sex and;

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for the opposition of any ordinance, statute or law that permits a biological male or female to enter the public restrooms or similar facilities of the opposite sex and;

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for the defeat of any candidate for office who votes for or supports any legislation by law, statute, ordinance or otherwise that makes it lawful for a person to enter the restroom or similar facility of the opposite sex on the grounds of gender identity or expression and;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to media and to the Republican Party of Texas, including all officers and members of the State Republican Executive Committee.

As you can see, it is long on rhetoric while being short on the sort of specifics that we need to have in order to actually implement it successfully and effectively without damaging the Republican Party of Texas. That's why I opposed it Monday, and continue to oppose it now.

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