MassGOP Chairman’s Role as a Public Spokesperson

I received this email, with this subject line, yesterday from State Committeewoman Patricia Jennings.

If there is one thing we all learned from the last election cycle, it’s just how quickly the wrong words spoken to the wrong audience can turn our party and its candidates upside down.  Governor Romney’s 47% remark will stick with many after this election.  One of the important roles of Republican State Committee chairman is that of a public spokesperson.  It is critically important that the person we select as chair understand the impact of their words… and especially the words we choose when speaking with the press.

Yesterday, Massachusetts’ largest labor union seized on a statement made on WRKO radio by Rick Green which referred to “union thugs” supporting the Democratic Party.

We all know the slurs advanced by the Democratic machine to slander our Party; rich, racist, greedy… and we all know that they are false.   But the media is quick to pounce on our words when they aren’t carefully chosen as evidence that those slurs hold some level of truth (which of course, they do not) This can alienate important constituencies that we need to build coalitions with in order to win more elections in Massachusetts.

As most of you know, I represent First Suffolk district.  Here in union-heavy South Boston, Republicans have made inroads among historically Democratic leaning voters.  I don’t have to look very far down my own street in South Boston to see a Boston teacher, a Boston firefighter and a Boston Police officer- all rank and file union members, all of whom voted for and supported Republicans this cycle.   That said, statements about union thugs aren’t going to help us continue to win their support.

We are fortunate to have two personable, smart , and successful people running to Chair the party.  Both have a commitment to the advancement of our party and both have done very important work for the party.  But the role of the Chairperson does require a certain level of experience when dealing with the media.  Kirsten Hughes is the candidate with that level of experience.  She will be able to manage the difficult media situations with the finesse and skill that will keep us on track.  We will be a party that is focused on winning, rather than explaining, backpeddling and defending… or worse even, trying to distance ourselves from statements made by the party Chair.   I don’t need to tell all of you that this next election cycle is critical for our party.  Let’s win!

Patricia Jennings

South Boston

State Committee Member, First Suffolk

For the interest of full disclosure, I have endorsed Kirsten Hughes for MassGOP Chairman.

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