Chairman’s Message: Building Momentum
By Richard Jurgena
Our county Republican party has had a few changes in leadership this year. Our former Chairman, Michael Higgs, has moved up to become the First Vice Chairman of the Maryland state party. His First Vice Chairman, Katja Bullock, has stepped off the committee to take a position in the Trump White House.
Ann Guthrie Hingston is our new Second Vice Chairman and we join experienced officers Dwight Patel, Mark Uncapher, Joe Gillin and Vince DeCain. Greg Decker continues as our grassroots Organization Chairman. I have asked Amie Hoeber to serve as Finance Chairman and Don Irvine to be our new Communications Chairman.
Our recent 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner marks the recognition of a new wave of excitement among Montgomery County Republicans. That wave started in 2014 with the election of Larry Hogan, a businessman, as Governor of Maryland. It continued to build in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump, another businessman, as President of the United States. More importantly to us in Montgomery County was the passage of term limits for county council, against overwhelming odds, by more than two-thirds of votes cast.
A few months ago, our State Assembly was set to pass laws declaring Maryland a sanctuary state. Your Central Committee said “no,” organized rallies and demonstrations, and with our Asian American colleagues – many immigrants themselves – visited legislators and testified in opposition. The bills, initially thought to be a shoo-in and veto proof, lost support and were withdrawn.
I believe we can keep this momentum going. 2018 is our year to make a dramatic change in our county government and to ensure the re-election of Governor Hogan.
Passage of Term Limits demonstrated that the vast majority of voters realize that the quality of life in our county is in decline because of bad decisions and mismanagement by county officials. We need a county government that listens, that is business friendly, that will improve our roads and our schools, and stop solving all problems by raising taxes. We can elect Republicans in 2018 if we seize the opportunity and build our grassroots organization now.
So what are we going to do? Our Republican central committee is comprised of 48 elected members, representing eight legislative districts and 255 precincts. We have no paid staff. There are no Republican officials in the county to stop the Democrat machine that has controlled our government for so long. So we must step up and be the opposition.
It is a huge job to monitor operations of our county council and our delegation in Annapolis. I have asked each Central Committee member to take a leadership position in their own Legislative District, as either a Chairperson or Regional Chair.
We are recruiting your help to track issues before the County Council, the Board of Education (with a $2.5 billion budget), and the Maryland Assembly. We are focused on issues important to our county: education, transportation, economic development, sanctuary cities, redistricting, among others.
We must get ahead of the curve on these issues. We can’t hear about a piece of legislation only two or three days before a hearing, have sufficient time to do necessary research, and alert volunteers to testify. Most Republicans have day jobs!
I am asking for your help. Many of you are experts or know experts who could help. We are forming committees on issue areas. Leading the charge will be the Legislative District chairs.
Let’s ride this wave together. The hundreds who turned out at our 2017 Lincoln Dinner are the beginning of the big push we need for victory. With your help we can elect Republicans to the County Council, a Republican County Executive, State Republican Senators and Delegates, and Republicans to the three U.S. Congressional seats that represent parts of our county. We must re-elect Governor Hogan to do away with our terribly gerrymandered districts.
I want to thank the members of the Central Committee who have entrusted in me the responsibility for leading the county party. Let’s keep the momentum building!