By DOUG IBENDAHL • June 7, 2012
John Parrott is one of the best and most principled Republican County Chairmen in Illinois. Republicans are lucky to have John looking after their interests as a member of the Platform and Resolutions Committee at the State Convention this weekend. Yesterday John Parrott sent the letter below to the other 17 members of the Platform and Resolutions Committee. It’s a must read. A copy of the Resolution referenced in the letter can be viewed HERE.
If you would like to join John in urging the Platform and Resolutions Committee to pass the Resolution out of committee on Friday so that all delegates may vote on the Resolution on Saturday, here are the email addresses for the members we’ve been able to attain:
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To My Fellow Platform and Resolutions Committee Members:
I would like to ask for your support of the attached Resolution. Like many of you, I have been involved in the Republican Party for many years (24 years in my case), and during that time I have watched Illinois go from Red to Blue.
I took on the established Party years ago here in McLean County, and ran for GOP County Chairman in the first contested race in 28 years. The established players were furious and they tried to tell me these party offices were always “worked out” in private meetings. I challenged the status-quo, and got right to work drafting and adopting a Constitution and By-Laws. With the help of four attorneys working on the language, we produced and passed organizational documents that other county parties utilize today as a template for their own By-Laws.
Today McLean is one of the few counties where most (but not all) of our Precinct Committeeman positions are filled. One year we had 27 contested races for Precinct Committeeman. We hold an Executive Committee meeting each month, as well as a monthly Breakfast or Luncheon – something I started 20 years ago. Before that time, only the Chairman and a few elected folks got together for coffee. Today we typically have 60 to 100 people turn out for our monthly events.
We see healthy energy every election cycle with contested primaries for countywide offices a common occurrence, and sometimes for the State Representative and State Senate races too. Our Party holds a Super Majority on our McLean County Board, and all of our countywide offices are currently held by Republicans.
I share all of this because we have opened up the County Party to competition – and it has been a good thing for our Party and the voters. And I say that as someone who has been challenged twice for my own Precinct Committeeman position over the years. I’m grateful to my fellow Republican voters who allowed me to prevail both times, by margins of 70/30 and 60/40. Another time I was not as fortunate when I lost my bid for reelection as County Chairman. However, I stayed on to serve as the best lieutenant I could be to the new Chairman. Later I ran again for County Chairman and won that time in an uncontested race.
We make our Party stronger by opening up the process and encouraging more participation. We need real and open elections to once again allow all Republican voters to choose who they want to lead their State Central Committee. The top officials of our State Party should be accountable to the Republicans they serve. Maybe some of the incumbents don’t want to work that hard, and so would prefer retaining the current system. Well I say the persons entrusted with the privilege of leading our Grand Old Party at the state level should have to go out and constantly earn the support of their fellow Republicans. I believe that by once again directly electing our top officials, we will see a revival of excitement within our Party statewide.
We have talked about this reform for years. We’ve had our current system for 24 years and it’s just not working. The State Central Committee is unaccountable to Republican voters and the result has predictably been one disappointment after another.
The time for real change is now. I believe it takes real leadership to make positive change within our Party. Our Platform and Resolutions Committee can provide that leadership. Standing together we can make history this weekend and provide a lasting legacy, a better Illinois Republican Party for our children and grandchildren.
You and I have been fighting to build a better Party and a better Illinois. Will you also join me in helping to lead the charge for positive change? Republican voters and volunteers are counting on us. Let’s be leaders on reform by taking this Resolution to the floor of the Convention and working for its passage.
Tuesday night we witnessed the people of Wisconsin standing up and demonstrating how the power of the vote can be utilized for tremendous good. Can we Republicans of Illinois not rise to the same challenge?
Four years ago I was asked not to support restoring direct elections. I told the County Chairman’s Committee at the time that we needed real change, but I went along with delaying the reform because I listened to the promises that things would get better. Four years later, things are not better.
To paraphrase the great Ronald Reagan, you and I have a rendezvous with destiny. Will you join me in giving every Republican voter back their vote and their voice in the Illinois Republican Party?
John W. Parrott, Jr.