From the diaries by Neil
It is an exciting time for the Republican party, and conservative and libertarian activists, here in Vermont. The Green Mountain State is finally shaking off winter, the skies are clear and the grass has returned. The frozen tundra has receded and life has begun anew. With Spring comes the inevitable return of the political season as well.
Although we face a General Assembly consisting of 96 Dems - 5 Progressives [Yes, they have their own party here] - 46 Republicans, a Senate of 20 Dems - 2 Progressives - 8 Republicans, a Democratic Governor [who appears to be a Dustin Hoffman body double], and a Congressional delegation which brags at least one outright socialist, there is still hope.
This hope was on full display last Wednesday at the the VT GOP Spring dinner. Pat McDonald, Vermont's newly elected GOP Chairwoman - a first for the VT GOP, laid out her vision for our party. Her vision is summarized by the two words that are found on the Seal of Vermont: Freedom and Unity.
It is a wonderful motto with great meaning: We are all individuals, with our own hopes and aspirations, yet we exist within a larger community. Both sides need proper care and watering.
One of my goals over the next year as Chair is to build upon those values. So we’ll be talking about Freedom and Unity and OPPORTUNITY. Freedom and Unity and ACCOUNTABILITY. Freedom and Unity and RESPONSIBILITY. Freedom and Unity and PROSPERITY.
This vision will not execute itself, and our Chairwoman knows this:
To begin charting the Republican Party on a path of sustainable victories and to bring a sense of balance back to Vermont, we must first trust the people. We need to have CONFIDENCE IN VERMONTERS and encourage their involvement and empowerment.
The success of this vision will be dependent on the individual and the party working in conjunction. Freedom and Unity.
Did you know that 46% of registered voters did not vote in the November elections? We need to reach those people, because many of them – if not most of them – will be on our side. If we can connect with those people – through our message and outreach efforts, and also by showing them that against all odds our Republican legislators are fighting for them each and every day – then there is nothing that can stop us. Absolutely nothing.
This is shameful, especially considering we lost the Governor's race by ~3200 votes. This shouldn't, and I believe won't, happen again.
The reason I believe this is not only because of the vision and energy that I see Pat McDonald bringing to the party, but also because of a commitment that came as an off the cuff comment by our keynote speaker at the Spring Dinner - RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. I'll paraphrase as I don't have the text- the RNC will be functional and will not let close races, like VT in 2010, fall short of reaching the finish line.
While the 2012 elections are still more than a year away, it is Spring in Vermont and the VTGOP is working towards achieving our vision. If you are a Vermonter, it is time to stop by your local GOP Committee and get involved.
Much of this plan comes from you, and thoughts you have shared with us. It is about working together, about returning to the fundamental common sense values that built Vermont, about how we manage and stay ahead of issues, and about how we deliver our message in ways that resonate with individual Vermonters.
If we come together now to work towards achieving this vision, then we can meet the long term goals of the VT GOP and make this state a beacon of Freedom and Unity.
And honestly, who doesn't want to achieve these long term goals?
A Republican majority in the Vermont House. A Republican majority in the Vermont Senate. And a Republican in the Governor’s Office, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and all other statewide offices. And let’s not forget our congressional seats!
Aaron B. Gardner
P.S. I would like to join with Pat McDonald in thanking Gov. Peter Shumlin for unifying the VT GOP.
[T]here’s somebody NOT here tonight that deserves a round of applause for bringing us all together this evening, and that’s Governor Peter Shumlin. Because in all my years of public service and being around politics, I don’t think I have EVER seen the Republican Party this unified and this energized. His hyper-partisan agenda has fired up our troops like never before, and we’re going to build upon that energy and ride it all the way to November and beyond. So, thank you Governor Shumlin, for all you have done and continue to do for the Vermont Republican Party!