By ANTHONY ANDERSON • November 12, 2012
Last week’s decimation of the Illinois Republican Party was not a big surprise for some of us. For years, the Republican Precinct Project, Republican News Watch, and others have warned about – and worked to correct – the failures of the old-guard Republicans in Illinois.
State GOP Chairman Pat Brady has failed to lead. He and other party officials talk about “outreach” – but it’s been all talk and no action. As a lifelong black Republican (yes there are a few of us in Illinois), I have more than a little experience on this subject.
Let’s start with Brady’s dishonest opposition to reforming and opening-up our party by allowing all Republicans to directly elect their top State Party leaders (the members of the State Central Committee). How can you pretend you’re “reaching out” to African-Americans and Hispanics when you won’t even let them vote within the party you expect them to join?
Do you really think African-Americans and Hispanics are going to leave the Democratic Party for a party where they will have inferior voting rights? Do you think minorities are stupid Mr. Brady?
Even worse, the closed system Brady and his allies protect has resulted in a party apparatus where African-American officials are nowhere to be found.
But it’s not just in the area of managing the party’s structure where Pat Brady has failed – he’s also been M.I.A. when it comes to issues. For example, one so-called Republican issue that polls very well with African-Americans is school choice. That only makes sense. African-American children are the ones most likely to be trapped in a failing public school.
But a couple of years ago when a very good and historic school choice bill was being considered in Springfield, Republicans in the State House helped a group of Democrats kill it. This after the bill sailed through the State Senate with bipartisan support. Pat Brady never said a peep.
Pat Brady has said that he is waiting for U.S. Senator Mark Kirk to tell him whether he should stay or go. Here’s the problem, Mark Kirk doesn’t get it either. I have personally called Senator Kirk’s office to speak with the so-called African American Outreach Coordinator (Mary Daniels). I’m still waiting for a return phone call.
Our Illinois Republican Party needs fundamental change and real leadership. The place to start is with Pat Brady’s resignation. We all deserve a State GOP Chairman who respects voters and who knows how to grow a party.
Anthony Anderson is the Chairman of the Republican Precinct Project. In 2003 he became the first black Republican Precinct Committeeman in Boone County, Illinois history. Anthony is a United States Marine veteran, and served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Anthony Anderson can be reached at 312-217-7997.