Report On GOP State Committee Meeting

(Great to meet you last night, Angelic One. – promoted by Cool Cal)

Believe it or not, the GOP State Committee had other important items on its agenda last night (1-27-09) besides the election of a new chair.

Outgoing chair Peter Torkildsen was lauded by many in attendance. He was given several parting gifts. In his closing remarks, Torkildsen pointed with pride to the GOP technological foundation created under his watch, his ability through aggressive fundraising to leave the GOP on a “sound financial basis,” & the state party’s contribution through his stewardship of working with Beacon Hill Republicans to file four separate ethics complaints against Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi which helped to force DiMasi to resign his position. Torkildsen received several standing ovations in his honor before the night was over.

National GOP committee persons Jody Dow & Ron Kaufman revealed that they weren’t unified in their respective preference over the candidates running for chair of the Republican National Committee. Dow announced her support for Michael Steele while Kaufman stated his preference for Michael Duncan. Dow cited in particular Steele’s strong communication skills as an asset for the GOP at a time when the party has been effectively shut out from power. (Note: the audience seemed to be sympathetic to this argument based on its response to Dow’s speech.) Kaufman praised all the candidates in contention but argued that Duncan had the best skills to raise money & wisely spend it (which, in Kaufman’s eyes, was the most important skill to have if the GOP is to have any chance at making a comeback in the next election cycle).

A state committeeman made a motion (which was seconded) to request the membership in attendance take a snap straw poll on the National GOP Committee’s chairman race in order for Dow & Kaufman to get a sense as to which candidate was preferred by a majority of state committee persons. The was little discussion on the matter & motion to take a snap straw poll failed by an overwhelming majority of the vote.

Springfield & Worcester were cited as the two locations in contention to host the next Republican State Convention in 2010. The sub-committee handling the siting details hope to soon settle on one city.

During the Standing Committees report, State Committeeman Issac Mass announced that the state party would be in the process of developing ideas for issues worthy of becoming initiative petitions backed by the state GOP. The deadline for submitting ideas would be February 7, 2009. It was Mass’ hope that the GOP State Committee would settle on one or two proposed ballot questions by its April meeting.

He cited as qualifiers for the initiative petitions that they had to 1) help to undermine the power of Massachusetts incumbency; 2) leverage said petition as a way to assist GOP candidates within the same election cycle; 3) help to build coalitions with other groups who support said ballot question(s); & 4) avoid needless conflicts with well-financed special interest groups. Failure to meet these qualifiers would result in an idea’s dismissal.

Mass offered several ideas for the committee’s consideration: independent redistricting, term limits, the elimination of the excise tax, rolling back the state tax to 5%, rolling back the state’s corporate income tax, multi-ballot access, & expanding the cap on political contributions. He encouraged those in attendance to contact him – – on their thoughts on these & other ideas that might be great ballot questions.

Besides the election of a new chair, the agenda item that generated heated discussions was the ratification of the Hamden District’s GOP caucus for state committeewoman. Like the observations on the election of the party’s new chair, this agenda item will enjoy its own diary. Otherwise, the state committee meeting adjourned in an atmosphere of positive energy & many people lingered to talk long after the meeting was over.

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