Reflections on Kansas GOP Convention, 2013
A first for me, the recent KS GOP convention. I must admit I was curious to see what draws people from all over Kansas, year after year to meet in district groups and workshops then finally to vote for new party leadership in a re-organization meeting that mirrors the previous two at county level and district levels. Seriously a lot of Roberts Rules going on!
Having experienced all three reorganizations now, I can see the organizational flow chart personified; the dry bones of rules and regulations becomes alive at the respective county fair grounds, the State House and then this year in a hotel in Hutchinson.
I did try to take notes when the notables spoke. Lynn Jenkins gave a sobering assessment of reality in Washington at the onset of Obama’s second term. Because the Democrats never stop and we are a decade behind, we must change that by starting the kick off to the 2014 election cycle NOW. She stressed that Obama has one goal—to get the House back under Nancy Pelosi. If he can do that, he will do anything he wants. She admitted right now the mood is somber in Washington. The Kansas federal delegation know they are standing in the gap between the people and more “bad stuff”.
Mike Pompeo said to his chagrin that one of the first things Congress did was “spend 60 billion in a blink for relief on New Year’s Day. With that amount we could run Kansas for 10 years.”
In contrast, Ron Estes reported that Kansas’ fiscal house is in order. Compared to the $876.05 the state had in the general fund on July 1, 2010 (first day of the fiscal year 2011) to the current approximate $332 million accumulating in the state general fund, one can conclude that Kansas is moving in the direction of prosperity under Governor Brownback. (Despite the continual mischaracterization in the local media.)
He also talked about a legal effort underway to return billions the federal government is holding illegally—property of Kansans.
Speaking about the many issues that we face, and the need to win the messaging war, Representative Steve Fitzgerald said, “They are not going to define us, we are going to define them. That is what marines do.” His hold- the-line comments drew several standing ovations.
There was an under-current consensus throughout the convention that the battle lines are being drawn at the state level. States rights reasserted in a climate of federal overreach. Words like nullification and usurpation and state’s sovereignty were part of the atmosphere.
Kelly Arnold, in his first letter as the Kansas Republican Party Chairman, expressed the optimism we all felt and why:
“In closing, I’d like to note that contrary to the media’s portrayal, we are obviously not the party of old men,. Of the 4 congressional district Party Chairs, three of them are women, and one is African American. And did you know Kansas has the youngest legislative delegation in the nation?
We are the party of doing and not talking. With the leadership of Governor Sam Brownback, we are doing what we said we would do and are producing demonstrable results. The nation is watching. We must continue to lead in tax, education, and judicial reform in defending our 2nd Amendment and other rights against federal encroachment, and in reforming our government to be more effective and efficient.”
I left the convention sharpened to a point. And the point is what is happening in my home state. Kansas has a window with the right Governor and many good and godly people in key places of leadership for just a time as this. To get it right here and lead the country by example is our challenge, despite the outright entrenched evil in every system. God is greater but we like David need to prepare in the ordinary hours to do battle in the moments that shape history– of our state and our nation.