Notes from SCRC

(County Convention, 6th District News below the fold)

As promised, I have something to write about. Well, it may not be of interest to the Virginia Blogosphere at large, but there are some tidbits that play into outside races, and in the interest of picking back up local political coverage, here it is. This was the first meeting in nearly seven years that I did not have to speak at, and I must say: I certainly understand the tedium that can build in the cheap seats now.

First up were various reports from Chairman Mike Monahan and the other officers of the committee. Not much there, other than the expected kudos for electioneering activities and our victories in November. Of note–the Committee will be hosting its Annual Lincoln Day Dinner two Fridays from now, March 26th, at 6:15 p.m. at the Yellow Barn Complex at Shenandoah Caverns. Congressman Goodlatte, Delegate Gilbert, and Senator Obenshain will all be there–however, we’ll also be hearing from Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, as well as RPV Chairman Pat Mullins. I suspect we’ll also be seeing our candidates for Congressional District Chairman. Tickets start at $20 and details are available here. (Full disclosure: I am both a sponsor of the dinner and also purchased ad space to promote this modest venture of mine)

We also heard from Clay Sutton, the new district coordinator for Congressman Bob Goodlatte. He’s a 2009 graduate of James Madison University (right in our backyard) and a native of the area, so its good to have some local contact in the office. He informed us that Congressman Goodlatte is indeed seeking renomination and passed around petitions to get Bob on the June primary ballot. There will not be a primary if the Congressman is the only nominee, but the process still needs to take place. If you see a petition, be sure to sign it.

We then had reports from the always vibrant Maud Shell, who thanked everyone for our phenomenal showing at various events throughout the last campaign, as well as from our financial gurus Tresaurer Robin Hoover and and Finance Chair Blake Phillips. We’re in good financial position with just over $5k in the bank, but it was noted that we need to take full advantage to build our coffers for 2011, when we’ll essentially need to run campaigns for our Constitutional Officers and Supervisors with little support from the state party, both in terms of resources and cash.

Perhaps the biggest (and most important) part of the meeting was the report from the Bylaws Committee, tendered by Vito Gentile. Our party plan can only be changed at the biennial organizing convention (something that itself I have suggested for review by the Committee). Generally speaking there is happiness with the document (though again, I think it could use some substantial rearrangement, but everything is there that legally needs to be there), but the State Central Committee has passed several changes to the state party plan, which guides the structure of each district and unit committee, neccesitating some alterations to our document. Some of these changes were of a nature that we need not take action, as the state plan is the final end all and be all of several different mechanisms. I am currently pushing that the applicable sections of the state plan (Articles 6 and 7) be printed as an appendix to our own party plan as clarification for members who may not have ready access to this document (though it should be pointed out that it is always available here at, but again, this would not be an official change to the party plan but rather a housekeeping measure. The four changes that have been proposed are: automatic removal of members in the event of their publicly supporting a candidate opposing the Republican nominee in the general election; allowing electronic email to serve as written notice for meetings; clairification regarding who can be a Delegate to a convention; and allowing 1/3rds of the Executive Committee to call a meeting. Since some of these changes have rather wide reaching implications, I will write a more substantive post on them later this evening.

We then heard from electoral board member Bev Fleming, who noted that as the prevailing party in the last Gubernatorial election we have picked up a member, while the Dems have lost one. New electronic poll books are on the way, although they will not be in place for the upcoming town elections. Additionally, election officials are desperately needed for the GOP in Columbia Furnace, although the EB is authorized to insert officials from other precincts if needed.

We then heard from Al Mitchell, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Tim Carter, Sheriff. Both underscored ongoing troubles related to the budget process, with Mitchell noting that under outgoing Governor Kaine’s budget his office stands to lose a prosecutor as well as its secretary. Chairman David Ferguson of the Board of Supervisors made the same case as well–in good news, however, he noted that several members of the Board have already come out strongly against raising taxes. Several members were curious about when we’ll see the new tax rate, with Supervisor Ferguson suggesting that it should be within the next thirty days, when both the full impact of the state budget is known and the real estate reassesment process should be complete. I trust the members at their word and will only add that citizen activists should be on the watch during the coming finalization of the tax rate. Suffice it to say, though, that as a businessman Dave Ferguson seems to “get” both the impact of decreased revenues as well as the harsh economic effects of a tax hike during these troubling economic times. Chairman Ferguson also cleared the air regarding the Free Press’s recent reporting cost overruns on two county construction projects. More on that later.

The final report was tendered by 6th District Regional Vice-Chair Vito Gentile. He announced the Sixth District Convention, to be held on May 21st in Lynchburg. The annual gala will be that evening–with word that there will only be two candidates for Chair, things should wrap up in plenty of time. Note that this convention, as ours, is ONLY to elect party officers, namely three Vice-Chairs and the Chairman. The District Committee has selected a primary as our method to choose our Congressional nominee, which will presumably be Congressman Goodlatte. It should also be noted that Vice-Chair Gentile announced that he will not be a candidate for re-election in Lynchburg.

The only substantial order of business for the evening was the approval of the call for the county convention. It should be noted that, in sharp contrast to many rural localities, Shenandoah County still utilizes a County Convention. Rather than have a mass meeting at which any Republican leaning voter (note: there are no registered Republicans in Virginia–if you want to contest me on this, please show me it on your voter registration card) may attend and vote, individuals interested in being part of process (this time, electing committee officials and delegates to the Sixth District Convention) must first be elected as Delegates by a precinct mass meeting, to be held in each precinct at 7:30 on Thursday, April 8, 2010. One does not have to pre-file to be elected as a delegate–however, I should say that it behooves interested individuals to attend the mass meeting, as something could slip through the cracks. Individuals who are elected as delegates are then the only ones entitled to vote at the convention, which will be held on Friday, April 30th at Central High at 7:30. Candidates for precinct or district office or delegate to the Sixth District Convention do not have to prefile–however, candidates for Unit Chair must pre-file by March 25th. In the interest of full disclosure, I will post the full call in the next few days.

The meeting wrapped up at about 8:45. The meeting passed without any news on the one issue that some are interested in: who will be running for County Chair. Chairman Monahan made no mention of any intention to seek re-election, but again, we still have some time to go on this process. I am, however, hearing some names thrown around, so when news does happen on this front, expect to see it here first.

  1. March 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Craig
    I saw your post thru Google alerts and wanted to confirm that the event is on Friday, March 26th at the Yellow Barn. That is the date I see in our internal calendar and just wanted to make sure. Wishing you an excellent event. From our Family of Attractions at Shenandoah Caverns, we appreciate your attendance at the Yellow Barn.

    • March 13, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      My mistake, I’m so used to it being on Saturday evening that I just typed it without even looking. I’m sure that we’ll have an excellent time once again-you all have definitely made it a good venue for us.

  2. Adam Sharp
    March 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Craig, you’ve got to spread these updates out. It seems to be all or nothing.

    Glad to see you’re still suffering from our mutual addiction!

    • March 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Well, I mean, I would update more frequently on the Committee……but we only meet quarterly. Usually at the very tail end of the quarter. With one weeks notice.

      What are you doing reading about our shenanigans anyways? I’d say go read some Democratic Shen Co blog, but from what I know about the median age of the committee it would seem most of the members probably only use the net to look at pictures of their grandchildren 😉

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