I attended the Texas GOP Chairman debate last week with Chairman James Dickey and Col. Allen West, hosted by the Collin County Young Republicans. The graphic gives away the punchline, but read on to see why.
I listened very carefully to each question, and to the answers that each candidate gave. I had already endorsed James Dickey, and voted for him two years ago, but hadn't heard the two men speak side-by-side in depth about the role and the issues facing Texas. I always try to be open to having my mind changed with convincing arguments and evidence, so I paid close attention.
Throughout the evening, two things I already knew increasingly struck me much more deeply:
Col. West is a very inspirational speaker. He's motivational and can make you really feel the significance of what he’s saying
James Dickey has been doing the hard work of putting our ideas into action for a very long time, and has concrete strategic and tactical direction, which he's consistently demonstrated for the past 2 ½ years as Chairman
With each answer, Col. West spoke rightly of strong ideals, and what Texas must look like moving forward, while James Dickey related specifically how he has been moving those ideals forward. A great example is that Col. West spoke about the need to build a "farm team" at the city council and school board level, as these are the people who are going to one day walk the halls of the Capitol in Austin, and in Congress.
James Dickey also shared that philosophy, but in contrast, spoke in concrete terms of how he's already been building the farm team since assuming the role of RPT Chairman, working to win key seats in local elections in Houston, Travis County, and right here in Plano.
James Dickey has walked the walk—quite literally. Just last year, he made the trip up to Plano from Austin not only to speak to the Collin County GOP, but to personally blockwalk for me and my friend and colleague, Lily Bao. He did that well before he had a challenger. He did it because he’s always rolled up his sleeves and done the hard work—as a Precinct Chair, a County Chair, and as RPT Chairman.
The role of RPT Chairman is an executive role, different from many. It requires strong organizational acumen to maintain and grow a vibrant, capable volunteer network. It requires building coalitions among often highly vocal opposing factions. It requires fundraising with people who want to know what they’re getting for their money, and expect results. It requires navigating the complex minefield of getting candidates elected, in very different districts and dynamics, who will overall advance the RPT platform.
Most importantly, it requires someone who both listens to the grassroots and represents our will, and James spoke specifically about this. His job—the job of the Chairman—is to represent the will of the Republican Party of Texas grassroots, as expressed through the State Republican Executive Committee, and by thousands of grassroots Republican Texans every two years at the RPT Convention. James has been doing that for the past 2 ½ years in numerous ways around the state, all the while increasing transparency and ease-of-participation to make sure that WE—the grassroots—have the strongest voice possible in Texas.
Through the entire debate, my resolve to support James Dickey grew. Everything for which I had originally endorsed him was only reinforced.
I will continue to support James Dickey as RPT Chairman, and would love for Col. West, for whom I have enormous respect, to work hand-in-hand with James and the RPT through the battles in the coming years to rally the troops across the state, make Texas blaze brightly as the beacon of Liberty in America and the world, and tell the proponents of tyranny and progressivism: Come and Take It (no, that line can never be overused).