County leadership completed the re-activation of the District Executive Committees this weekend. District Executive Committees began to reactivate four months ago when the 4th Congressional District on February 12, 2013 at the Fort Dodge Public Library. This weekend, the 1st District Executive Committee met at Kaplan University in Cedar Falls and became the final Iowa Congressional District to re-activate. This meeting convened on Saturday, June 15, at 10:45 AM. Blackhawk County Chairman Scott Adkins served as Acting Chair and Blackhawk County District Executive Committee Member Chelle Adkins served as Acting Secretary. Much of the organization for this meeting was led by Chelle Adkins, who selected the meeting location because it was free of charge and suitable due to size. The meeting lasted 1 hour 55 minutes and included the election of officers, approval of the proposed rules, as well as discussing consistent statewide rules and working with other districts in the state.
“Our greatest benefit and ultimate goal in putting together our District Executive Committee is to help Republicans get elected,” said Marshall County Chair Pete Rogers. “We took the first step by fulfilling the State Party requirements. It’s a State Party requirement to exist.” Rogers, a native of Marshalltown, was unanimously elected permanent Chair of the 1st District Executive Committee. He led the meeting with much poise as he has been active in politics for decades. “At a minimum, this will help county organizations fulfill their needs and be more effective. We want to define best standards and practices and help each other meet our potential. At a maximum, there really is no maximum. As we get going, there is no limit as to what can be accomplished. This organizational step is a great step overall.”
The race for Co-Chair was more competitive as three candidates were nominated. Dubuque County District Executive Committee member Will Johnson was nominated by Dubuque Chair Rick Holman. Benton Chair Tim Busch was nominated by Linn County Chair Cindy Golding. Linn County District Executive Committee member Jim Conklin was nominated by fellow Linn County District Executive Committee member Joni Scotter. This election was won by Busch, a native of Atkins.
“The 1st District Executive Committee set up the organization for future accomplishments today, and we met each other,” spoke Busch. “We want to establish common ground with each other and minimize our differences. We want to maximize our commonalities. Working together is the basis for our success.” Mr. Busch currently hosts the Benton County Facebook page as well as the Iowa 1st District Republicans Facebook page and has developed a Benton County Republican Central Committee Yahoo Group.
I am personally pleased the 1st District organized and completed the four month grassroots process of organization and re-activation that has occurred across the state. As Co-Chair of the most populated county in the state of Iowa, I understand the challenges that go along with my specific county organization. I also look forward to communicating more with surrounding counties to learn what works in other counties and to better glean institutional knowledge from other county leaders. Indeed, the re-activation of all four District Executive Committees is very important to me as this will help us reach our common goal. Also, as an active officer of the recently re-activated 3rd District Executive Committee, I have learned much about the challenges faced by those in my neighboring counties. This is due, in part, to meeting and speaking with leaders of other counties more often and getting to know them more closely than I had in the past. Several from the already formed District Executive Committees also came as visitors to help give their support to the members of the 1st District. I believe these other individuals also feel honored to be involved because they recognize the significance of the resource that our own newly organized D.E.C.’s provide to our various counties.
District Executive Committees have traditionally provided a vital ingredient to the success of the Republican Party in Iowa. Their important role is detailed in the RPI Constitution. Traditionally, the Republican Party is built as a grass roots Party that was always strong because it had a firm foundation and was built from the ground up. Unfortunately, the District Executive Committees were deactivated within recent years, and that vacuum was filled by powerful groups that dominated the leadership selection process by preventing Republican County leaders from talking to each other and promoting leadership from the grassroots. We want to protect the grassroots and include more people to the Republican Party.
“We elected some great leadership this morning,” said Jim Conklin. “This organization will provide better communication and better support for county central committees. We are in place to serve all twenty counties in 1st District.” Conklin narrowly defeated Benton County Co-Chair Bethany Gates in the race for Secretary.
The leadership of all four D.E.C.’s intend to be in close communication with each other throughout the summer. Republicans in Iowa have gained a powerful resource to build in terms of organization. All the continued efforts of county activists should provide candidates and county organizations with another tool to utilize in accomplishing significant victories in the 2014 election cycle.
About the Author
Mr. Arnold is a long time constitutional conservative. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Iowa. Over the last few years he has been involved in numerous political campaigns, most recently serving as campaign manager for an Iowa House candidate and serving as a city chair for Tom Latham. He is self-employed, running a small business in Ankeny, Iowa where he resides with his wife.
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