Grayson Republicans came together at the Grayson County Republican Convention on Saturday to propose issues and representatives from Grayson to take to the statewide convention in Fort Worth later this year. These actions are a part of the lead up to elections in November.

Grayson Republicans came together at the Grayson County Republican Convention on Saturday to propose issues and representatives from Grayson to take to the statewide convention in Fort Worth later this year. These actions are a part of the lead up to elections in November.


Grayson County Courthouse played host to two Republican conventions on Saturday, as the precinct conventions, which are traditionally held on the night of the primary vote, were held during the morning, with the county-wide convention held in the afternoon. During the precinct convention, party leaders gathered resolutions that party members hope to see added to the party platform, and elected delegates to represent the party on a county-level. In total, 53 delegates represented the 21 precincts at the county convention.


"Texas is leading the way," said Grayson County Party Chair Larry Millson in opening address to the convention. "We will keep Texas red."


Arden Sanders, who came representing precinct 102, said she was attending the convention for the first time to better understand how the party and process works. "It all is pretty neat," she said, commenting on the convention. Despite her enthusiasm, she said she was concerned about the low turnout; she was the only representative for her precinct.


Brent Lawson, who has been precinct chair of precinct 207 since 2010, concurred. He said it marks a place where he and other precinct chairs can work harder to increase awareness of the event and civic participation amongst the voters in the community.


Ray Womack, sergeant at arms for the convention, said the conventions are vital to the Party because they help set the platform the Party will follow in upcoming legislation and in elections. Womack, who has attended over 20 state conventions, said the resolutions that pass through the convention "set up the planks in the (Party) platform".


Following a year of changes in the voting and polling practices in Grayson, which saw the creation of county-wide polling places over traditional precincts, this year’s convention was the first where people could fill out paperwork and nomination forms online. While the changes offered benefits, they did come with their own set of disadvantages. While traditionally, voters would return to the polling place the night of primaries, the elimination of precinct polling led to the decision to hold the precinct conventions along side the larger, county-wide siblings.


This lead to tensions arising in the afternoon convention as the convention was delayed several times while the resolutions committee was bogged down in proposed resolutions, many of which were received that morning from the precinct conventions. The committee had little time to go through the proposed resolutions, remove redundancy and select resolutions that would be recommended to the convention for approval to be sent to the state conference.


After nearly two hours of delays, and the resolutions committee asking for another hour, Clyde Siebman, representing precinct 403, proposed that the convention move forward without any proposed resolutions. Siebman said he felt comfortable in the current party platform as it stands and felt it was best that the convention adjourn. The motion was opposed by Amy Hedtke, who represented precinct 406. Before the motion went forward, the resolutions committee came out of a meeting with its suggestions for approval.


In making the committee’s recommendations Gary Cox, chair of the resolutions committee, suggested that everyone read the party’s platform when considering and making resolution proposals. "It is an excellent platform, and almost everything that was provided is in there one way or another, and it is a very strong platform," said Cox.


The committee addressed 20 resolution proposals at the convention. It suggested approval of seven and rejected 13. The committee rejected a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to add a balanced budget amendment. Cox said the resolution was unrealistic, because it would be impossible to completely erase the country’s debt quickly. He said the constitution has other, easier ways to achieve the goals of the resolution without the need of a constitutional convention. Further, the Republican platform already calls for a balanced budget as one of its goals.


In a similar move, the committee rejected a resolution requesting that marijuana remain illegal. Cox said he fells this was redundant since the drug still remains outlawed in the state.


Similarly, the committee rejected a resolution that proposed using the constitutional convention to set a 10-year sunset provision on laws and programs and the departments that implement them. The sunset provision would limit the lifespan of affected laws and agencies to ten years.


"Essentially that are calling for a 10-year sunset rule on all laws," said Cox.


The committee voted no on the resolution due to practicality and the fact that it is already the job of the legislature to remove unnecessary laws as times and needs change.


The committee also rejected two resolutions requesting investigation of the Benghazi incident on Sept. 11, 2012, and recent IRS scandals, stating that both issues were already being investigated without the need for further resolutions. The committee rejected a measure, on grounds of misinformation, regarding the President’s role in negotiating treaties with foreign countries for the purposes of trade. Cox reiterated that the President’s role is to negotiate treaties, but Congress must approve of the treaties before they are signed into law.


The committee suggested approval of a resolution, requesting more attention be paid within the party to the inequality of opportunity and civil liberties offered to women. Cox said the resolution was passed because the platform did not address these issues specifically and instead focused on the role of the family. Focusing on the aspect of family, the committee approved a resolution that would require the representation of parents in ex parte hearings with Child Protective Services before the agency may remove a child from a parent when there is not a "clear and present danger" to the child.


The committee rejected a series of resolutions regarding the right of Texas to regulate. The issues that were proposed were the licensing programs in the state of Texas, the sale of raw milk at local farmers markets, the right of the state to regulate firearms. The firearms resolution was written in regards to open carry and limiting the state’s right to regulate the activity, but the committee felt the goal would be better served by a resolution calling for open carry instead.


"The state has a legitimate right to regulate firearms," said Cox.


The committee approved a resolution that would urge lawmakers to ignore United Nations requests for funding on climate change control initiatives. The committee asked for the removal of wording regarding the overstep of power by the Environmental Protection Agency, as the Republican platform calls for the elimination of the EPA.


Likewise, the committee rejected a resolution that would propose that surplus tax dollars be returned to taxpayers, stating that the platform already calls for tax cuts.


The committee received and accepted a proposal for the repeal of the 17th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Doing so would return the U.S. to a system where senators are chosen by the legislatures of the individual states.


The committee rejected two proposals that change the structure of both primary elections, and the U.S. military. In the first proposal, it was suggested that the current military structure system be exchanged for a streamline military with a single command staff. Cox, in his explanation of the rejection, said such systems "work against democracy," and enable military dictatorships. The committee also rejected a proposal that would eliminate the current primary nomination system in exchange for a caucus. Cox seem to fear that this system could be abused by a smaller, but active faction to unfairly gain power.


Making up the last two approved resolutions, the committee forwarded a proposal that would protect the rights of property owners to cultivate private gardens on their land and a proposal that would reject future calls for blanket amnesty.


Discussions became heated when the committee rejected a request for stronger censure punishments for elected officials who go against the party platform. Proposed punishments included a six-year ban from seeking nomination of the Republican Party for public office. In his argument against the proposal, Cox said the party has no legal ability to deny someone the ability to seek office. Cox said it is the job of the legislature to mandate election code. This was reaffirmed by Clyde Siebman, who provided legal expertise on the issue and said state law supersedes any party rule.


Amy Hedtke spoke in opposition to the committees rejection of the resolution, saying the current censure rules have "none of the teeth" of the proposed rules, comparing them to a "weak slap on the wrist." Hedtke cited 10 Supreme Court cases said said support censure rules.


Cox said this could create a dangerous situation where censures are given over a single issue in which a candidate differs from the platform. Steve Reddish, representing precinct 409, said the proposed censure rule seemed like the "airing of laundry" in the public, and that issues with candidates following the party platform should be handled in house.


After the discussion on censure rules, further discussion was called on the issue of raw milk sales. Reddish argued that the definition of commerce that was used during the creation of the constitution involved the large scale transport of goods across state boundaries or out of the country. He argued against state regulation surrounding local sale of raw milk. Cox argued for the regulation, highlighting the possibility of tainted food posed a "legitimate public risk."


Hedtke said she doesn’t recognize the state’s right to regulate milk sales. She said it should be left to personal liability. When put to a vote, the delegates voted to approve the raw milk sale resolution, against the advice of the resolutions committee.


The eight resolutions that were approved by the convention, and the delegates from Grayson county will move forward to the state conference held in Fort Worth on June 5 through 7. Grayson County will be represented by the following delegates: Rob Alexander, Stacy Alexander, Kristen Alexander, Trent Bass, James Berry, Esther Brumit, Sara Buskirk, Susy Carter, Brian Collins, Claude Cowan, Denny Brackeen, Sue Brackeen, Gary Cox, David Frierson, Suzette Frierson, Gayla Hawkins, Amy Hedtke, Connie Huntington, Gary Huntington, Jerome Jacobson, Brent Lawson, Eugene Lund, Flo Lund, Ryan Lux, Angela Magers, Bill Magers, Larry Millson, Donna Moore, Ira Moore, Barb Monk, Bob Monk, Barbara Perez, Steve Reddish, Larry Phillips, Norman Ponder, Alera Reynolds, Harry Reynolds, Paul Richards, Mark Russell, Arden Sanders, David Schaab, Clyde Seibman, Reggie Smith, Jean Sutton, Kaaren Teuber, Ray Womack, Patricia Womack, Barbara Woodroof and George Woodroof.