For some of my Boulder friends, this may come as a bit of a shock, but I, Sarah E. Welch, am a Republican. I’m an active one at that. No, I don’t like everything about the party, but I’m still with them–trying to move the party towards something more palatable. This weekend, I participated in the Colorado Congressional District 2 Assembly and the Colorado GOP State Assembly & Convention as a delegate to both. If you’re not familiar with our caucus system here in Colorado, this is it in a nutshell: Folks show up at their local precinct caucuses and elect people to represent them at the next level. For us, that’s our county assembly. There, we elect more people to represent us at congressional district and state. From those assemblies, we elect people to represent us at the national convention. In this system, showing up matters–a lot. This is how things went–and why I’m proud to be a Ron Paul supporter & a member of the Boulder delegations to these assemblies.
Congressional District 2 Assembly
The Congressional District 2 Assembly Chairman made me wish we could have our Boulder County Chairman Joel Champion again. He’s a man of honor who didn’t let his personal politics color the process. (For the record, Joel Champion is a Romney supporter.) Our CD2 Chairman Kaye Ferry is not made of the same stuff. She had two major party fouls:
- Ms. Ferry spoke for the Romney slate while in her role as chair (which she was on).
- While giving balloting instructions, Ms. Ferry said that voting for unpledged delegates was like throwing your vote away.
This might sound insignificant, but due to bad behavior four years ago towards Ron Paul supporters, many Ron Paul delegates were running for national delegate unpledged. So, in effect she was saying not to vote for Ron Paul delegates. She further compounded the problem when she was called on this via a point of order (Robert’s Rules of Order term). She was asked to take back her statement since this type of electioneering was against the assembly rules. She refused. At this point, there was a call for the election of a new chair, which she again refused. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, this is a call that cannot be ignored or refused. The point must be discussed. At this point, the crowd was booing her, and it wasn’t just Ron Paul supporters. By my estimate, two thirds of the crowd was involved.
In addition to her unethical and incorrect behavior at the assembly, she was simply disorganized as a chair. She didn’t remember what needed to be done. In fact, she almost closed the assembly before getting an acclimation vote on one of the non-contested races. She only completed this after one of the delegates offered a point of information on this fact.
I publicly call for Kaye Ferry to step down from this post in order for someone who is able to respect the process to take her place. Furthermore, she should step down from her alternate delegate role to the national convention. She abused her powers as chairman to influence the vote, and the state of Colorado and CD2 deserve better representation.
State GOP Assembly & Convention
This is part business meeting, part pep rally & fundraiser. Before I get to some of the unsavory aspects of the day, I need to give kudos to Chairman Ryan Call. From things I had heard about Chairman Call before the assembly, I was nervous about how the day would proceed, but all outward behavior was polished and ethical from my observations. Now, onto the very, very bad behavior…
When we arrived at the convention and began to make contact with members and supporters of the Ron Paul campaign, we were alerted to something quite alarming. The Romney campaign was circulating fake Ron Paul slates that they had filled with names from their own slate. Note, the real slate has the logos of the Paul & Santorum campaigns, along with the signatures of the state leadership of those campaigns. The fake slate looks much like the real slate but is filled with Romney supporters. The one thing that the Romney camp did not count on is the Paul campaign changing the color of the slate. The slate we used on Friday is white, which is what this fake slate was patterned upon.
It wasn’t just the Paul/Santorum unity slate that was copied, either. The Romney campaign did the same with the Christian Coalition of Colorado slate and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners slate. Unfortunately, I misplaced my copies of the pair of Christian Coalition slates. I’m working to get copies of these slates and will update this post when I get them. Update: I have the Christian Coalition slate & the fake! Thanks to Alyson Boyce Stanton & Todd King for these photos.
I do however have copies of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners slate along with its fake. Thanks to Ken Stanton for giving this fake slate up so that I could include it in my post!
If you want to compare the names on the fake slates with the official Romney slate, I’ve provided this below as well. I wanted to give the Romney campaign the benefit of the doubt on this, but no one else had access to their slate prior to the convention. So, this despicable deed had to have been done by someone that is part of the official Romney campaign.
Father Kemberling’s Invocation
Yesterday, I had a first that I wish I could have avoided my entire life. I booed a man of the cloth. Father Kemberling provided the invocation for the assembly, which was fine. He asked for guidance for us and for God to help us know right from wrong. I had no problem with that. What I did have a problem with was when his invocation quit being an invocation and turned into something much uglier. He started talking about the assault on religion in the country. That was fair territory for a priest. Then, he went somewhere that both stunned and disgusted me. He said that civil unions are socialism. I have no idea how he took this (il)logical leap, but he did. And this is when I booed and sat down, because this was no longer an invocation.
Log Cabin Republicans
Early in the day, I noticed that the Log Cabin Republicans had a table in the hallway in the assembly. If you’re unfamiliar with the Log Cabin Republicans, they are the LGBT organization for Republicans and their straight allies. Yes, they do exist. I was happy to see them represented and made a point to shake their hands and thank them for being there. I didn’t say much more, but I fully support the Log Cabin Republicans and complete equal rights for everyone–regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Republican party’s attack on gay rights is one of my most clear divides with the party. The warm feeling that I had about their participation in the state convention was overshadowed by the bad behavior of many of my fellow delegates later in the day. You see, affiliated organizations were given a chance to address the attendees of the convention. Very shortly after the very brave gentleman from the Log Cabin Republicans began his prepared remarks, the crowd began to boo. It wasn’t just a normal boo. It was vile & hateful. Seeing the man about to break down in front of 7,000 people, I stood and clapped. My husband joined me shortly. Thankfully, the Boulder County delegation was either clapping or remaining respectfully silent as far as I could tell. But still, out of 7,000 people only Rich and I were brave enough to stand. That’s very, very sad to me. I will also point out that it was pretty clear where the Ron Paul sections of the arena were and where the Romney supporters were. You know where those boos were coming from? Romney supporters. For those of you that booed (regardless of who you back), shame on you.
To put my money where my mouth is, I will be joining them & donating $108 to the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans in lieu of the suggested donation amount requested by the Colorado State GOP for their own coffers. I will also be reaching out to the Log Cabin Republicans to offer my time, including standing on stage with them at events like this and telling other Republicans why they too should support gay rights and fully welcome the Log Cabin Republicans into the party.
Behavior & Decorum
During this entire process, starting a few months ago, I’ve seen something different both from the Boulder County Republicans and Ron Paul supporters in contrast with other counties and Romney supporters. At the Boulder County Assembly, Joel Champion asked us to clean up after ourselves so that we could show that the Boulder Republicans didn’t leave a place trashed. We cleaned up after ourselves. At the Congressional District 2 assembly, a group of Boulder County delegates stayed afterwards to clean up our area of trash and debris. We were the only county to do so. At the end of the state assembly, approximately 100 Ron Paul supporters stayed behind to clean up after the convention. We picked up trash and helped the tear down crew put the folding chairs away. You’d be amazed at how quickly our little army swept across the floor. We were not joined by supporters for any other candidate. By the way, the tear down crew thanked us for our help.
Finally, our Boulder County Ron Paul supporters taught some Romney supporters a lesson in decorum. During the candidate speech for Ron Paul, a group of Romney supporters seated behind us very loudly booed and heckled. Two of our delegation turned around and said ‘watch us respect your candidate’. Talk about stunning someone! Guess what? We sat very respectfully when the Romney speech was given, even offering some light but supportive clapping on points we supported. While I don’t think that they all learned something, one of the group came up and apologized afterwards. Beyond the issues and philosophy, this is why I’m proud to be a Boulder County Republican and Ron Paul supporter.