Montgomery County 48 Member Central Committee
This past week the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee met to elect county officers for the coming year. On Saturday at a state Republican Party Convention is being held in Ellicott City. At every state convention I get receive concerned, solicitous questions from members from other counties about the size of Montgomery County’s Central Committee.
“How can such a large central committee work?”
Two years ago, Montgomery County’s Republican Central Committee has changed its size, increasing from 19 members to 48 members. The change was made in order to increase the opportunities for Montgomery County’s grass roots Republicans to more actively participate in the party’s affairs.
This change was made possible because in early May 2010 Governor O’Malley signed legislation allowing both the Montgomery County Republican and Democratic parties to adjust their Central Committees sizes. As a result of the new law, the size of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee is no longer set by the state’s election law. Instead, the Central Committees are allowed to set their size consistent with the requirements of their state party by-laws.
The state Republican Party’s rules allow a maximum of two central committee members for every resident member to the Maryland House of Delegates from a county. Because Montgomery County has 24 delegates, our Central Committee number can become 48. We elect five members from each legislative district and eight members at large.
Our committee size reflects a significant departure from the approach of other counties, such as Howard County’ Central Committee which has 9 members or Anne Arundel which has 13. I do not presume to tell them how to organize themselves, however I do believe our approach has advantages for us.
After two years, I strongly believe, and I think most of our members agree with me that our new approach works well.
First, more members has meant been we have been able a broader cross-section of conservative and Republican activists are actively included in our party’s operations. The notion that our Central Committee only makes room for the “party insiders” rings hollow in Montgomery County when so many are included.
Second, with 48 members, we have been able to drawn upon the specialize talents of a wider range of people. Working through our committee structure, teams of members have tackled specific needs of the party. Some members have been elected to by their peers to join our Executive Committee, currently 24 members. Other members have, instead, have concentrated on specific committees, such as Communications, Technology, Finance and Precinct Organization. Still others have been especially involved in the legislative district precinct organization.
Interestingly our biggest membership “retention” problem has been member leaving to move out of state. Five out of the past seven vacancies have resulted from members resigning because they were moving out of Maryland. In their place we have been able to attract Republican activists. In fact, in most cases the new members were already supporting the party in one of a number of capacities.
We have more to do, just as Republicans across the country. In Montgomery County, our Central Committee is better positioned to do so by having 48 members, rather than 19.
Montgomery County Republican Chairman