December 8, 2018
On Thursday, November 8, my wife (Debbie) and I were celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary. I had taken a half day off from work to take her to a movie, some Christmas shopping, and then dinner at Sullivan’s. Sometimes a guy needs to do what his bride wants to do on their anniversary. We were watching the movie, “Indivisible” (a great movie) when my cell phone began to light up like a Christmas tree.
I sneaked a peek at the initial text bar that appeared. It was a text message from our Party Chair, Tuckerman Babcock, indicating that he needed to talk to me immediately. I ignored it because of my promise to Debbie on our anniversary and the fact that we were already about an hour into watching the movie.
Then a few minutes later Tuckerman texted me again, saying that he was moments away from our newly elected Governor announcing that he (Tuckerman) would be joining the Governor’s administration as Chief of Staff. He was resigning as Chairman of the Party and that I would automatically become Party Chair.
I found myself in a major dilemma. I had promised my wife that this was going to be her time. The movie wasn’t over and then there was promised shopping and dinner. I was stuck and couldn’t do anything about. My first thought was that I wanted to call all three of our children and inform them about this dramatic change in my life. After the movie (with the wife’s permission) I called my three children to let them know. We headed to the 5th Avenue Mall for shopping as my phone continued to ring. While Debbie was looking for Christmas presents to purchase for our grandchildren, I found a place to sit and make calls (again with the wife’s permission). We celebrated our anniversary at Sullivan’s without interruption. For some divine reason, Sullivan’s did not charge us for our meal and when we asked why, they simply said, “We wanted to comp your meal tonight.” We determined it was a blessing from God. I think He knew this new position as Chair would require additional funding and He was just beginning to supply some of it. So, it made a $100 contribution to the ARP and joined the Freedom Club.
From that point on, my life has been turned upside down. I have had more calls than I can track or return, dozens of meetings to attend, thousands of emails to read and write, mountains of paperwork, a party Headquarters to run, money to raise, elections to protect, positions to fill, elected Officials to replace, a trust fund to set up, Party rules to memorize, reporters to respond to, deadlines to meet or miss, and a learning curve that hasn’t stopped yet. I have spent countless hours developing my vision and direction for the Alaska Republican Party to continue its success. And this is just the first SCC meeting I’ve had the privilege (responsibility) of conducting.
Don’t misread what I am saying. I accept the challenge. I am excited about our future together. I have no misgivings about accepting my responsibilities as your new Chairman. Politics is a people opportunity and I love opportunities with people. People are who make our Republican party great. Without people we have no opportunities and no Party.
I believe God created people in all different shapes and sizes and with different personalities and characteristics. Every one of us possess our own unique view of things and opinions on issues. This is called our human nature and when coupled with our human compassion we become invincibly stronger. Stronger because we work together with understanding. When we work together we accomplish more than any of us could possibly comprehend. We become exponentials rather than multiples. We will disagree, but that doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable. Our bonding agent is Republican, our catalyst is elections, our super structure is working together but, our Achilles’ Heel is opinions and judgements without compassion or understanding. None of us will always get our own way and none of us have all the answers. People make us “A Party”.
Our Party’s past phenomenal foundations and successes have been established by our previous Chairs. Their skillful efforts and dedication etch a legacy that we should attempt to equal or surpass. As the new Chairman, I want to pause and pay verbal tribute to these previous political Titans of the past. I believe we should thank them for the political trails that they have blazed, the political paths that they have cleared, the political roads that they have plowed, and the political highways that they have paved. They have truly set the political pace at a high political speed and for that we are forever grateful. Thank you for your political service, your friendships and your sacrifices.
Yes, I realize they were not alone in their accomplishment and successes. Many of you along with countless others, working along-side of our past Chairs, contributed immensely to our Party’s success. Our triumphs and defeats are shared by all of us, together. And the future success of any Chair is predicated on the support and involvement of everyone on the Alaska Republican Party Team! Thanks to all of you in this room for your involvement. I look forward to working along side each of you. I would also appreciate your support and understanding as we travel this political highway together. We have many miles to navigate together, road stops to make along the way, massive interchanges (known as elections) to circumvent, maybe a few potholes to diverge, some repairs to make, and a multitude of milestones to reach.
As I said, I am excited about working and serving in this new capacity with all of you on the State Central Committee, the various Women’s Clubs, our elected Republican officials, donors, contributors, and registered Republicans throughout the Great State of Alaska.
I will need your support and involvement as we strengthen our voter base, organize our districts, clearly define our individual roles and responsibilities, develop training curriculum for district chairs, precinct committee members, candidates, campaign managers, campaign treasurers, finance directors, parliamentarians, GOTV efforts, volunteers, precinct canvassers, and much more.
We must expand our financial ability to raise money, improve incorporation of new and innovative technologies, reach out/enlist and engage the next generation of Republicans, continue to embrace and promote ethnic diversity, provide those #walkaway disenfranchised voters with a new hope of #walkthisway Republicanism, we must build a solid confidence with our contributors and our elected Republican officials. All of this and more with the end goal of electing Republicans.
To accomplish this, it will be our responsibility to put in the needed time and effort to ensure success, work smarter together completing our personal responsibilities and fulfilling our roles as leaders in the Alaskan Republican Party. We must enlist, embrace, develop, train, and provide unified leadership to others who have yet to join our ranks. This is the vision I bring as Chairman and I welcome your support.
In addition to tackling all these objectives we have some immediate and impending tasks at hand.
District 13/14 will be meeting and voting, this coming Tuesday, to forward three names to Governor Dunleavy for consideration as a replacement for Nancy Dahlstrom in District 13 House Seat.
Anchorage Assembly District 2 (Eagle River) will be taking applications for a replacement to finish Amy Demoski’s term on the Anchorage Assembly. Entry expiration date for candidate consideration is December 14, 2018.
Five Anchorage Assembly and two Anchorage School Board seats (A&B) will be up for election on April 2, 2019.
ANC District 2 Eagle River/Chugiak
ANC District 3 West Anchorage
ANC District 4 Midtown
ANC District 5 East Anchorage
ANC District 6 South Anchorage
Now is the time to engage those who desire to run and have them register as candidates. We must stop fielding multiple candidates if we really want to take back the Anchorage Assembly.
All the other 18 boroughs will have their Regular Borough elections (includes Assembly seats and School Board) on October 1, 2019
The Boroughs list includes:
Aleutians East Borough
Bristol Bay Borough
City & Borough of Juneau
City & Borough of Sitka
City & Borough of Wrangell
City & Borough of Yakutat
Fairbanks NorthStar Borough
Kenai Peninsula Borough
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Kodiak Island Borough
Lake and Peninsula Borough
Municipality of Skagway
North Slope Borough
Northwest Arctic Borough
October of 2019 will also begin the 2020 political season.
We will become engaged in the Presidential race, Senator Dan Sullivan’s reelection, Congressman Don Young’s reelection, the election of all 40 of our State House members and 10 of our State Senator members.
In the spring of 2020 the ARP will host its Statewide District Conventions, followed by our ARP State Convention and then the RNC National Convention in Charlotte North Carolina.
As you can see we must get to work immediately, and we must work together.
I am asking for your help, input and service on this dynamic team to make this happen. It will take a united, cooperative effort from each of us. It will also take many hours of brain storming and vision casting to have the maximum positive impact for our Republican Party and our Republican Candidates.
I am a firm believer that our SCC meetings should be used for more training and less reporting or voting. My sideline observation about voting opportunities is – “The more people are thrust into voting on various issues, the greater opportunity there is for the monsters of polarization to rear up and destroy the spirit of unity and teamwork we must maintain. Less voting, more unity.”
I hope you will join me to accomplish these worthy and audacious goals so together we can provide a legacy worthy of those provided to us.
The following are just a few of my initial thoughts and may be a good starting point for discussions about the development of a District Chair, vice Chair, and Precinct Committee volunteer training program. These are just suggested starter topics, so we can develop an ARP Playbook leadership program. Then take these developed ideas and processes and create training manuals and power point presentations, and on-line video training programs.
SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION AND DEVELOPMENT:
- Produce a clear and understandable job description for District Chairs and District officers/volunteers.
- Provide geographical information about the District and the Precincts. This will help the District leadership to better understand the size and scope of their district’s geography.
- Provide the breakdown of the District and Precinct demographics. Total population, total number of households, number of registered voters in every party and the number of undeclared or undecided voters.
- Explain the value of voter registration, how to become a registrar, and places to register people. Explain PFD AND ADL voter registration.
- List all of the resources available to these leaders and those resources the ARP will provide.
- Train the District Chairs about the cycle of responsibilities they must be engaged with during their two year tenure. For example: the preparation and work needed for a District Convention, what to expect at a State Convention, activities necessary during an election cycle, what they can be doing in between election cycles, what should the District be doing when the Legislators are in session and when they are out of session, etc.
- Provide suggestions and training on how to raise funds, APOC regulations, soliciting donors, building contribution relationships with events, and the ARP’s system of managing district funds.
- What meetings they should attend. SCC meetings, local meetings, and State Convention meetings.
- What meetings they should conduct. District Convention, quarterly District meetings, precinct meetings, fundraisers, issues events, candidate forums, and neighborhood coffees or BBQs.
- Train District Chairs’ on the importance of block leaders with a ratio of 50:1 or 100:1.
- Provide insightful and useful information on how to communicate throughout their district. Understand the unique challenges each district presents because of location, area geography, culture, and types of assets available in the District.
- Train District Chairs’ on the importance and requirements of accountability reporting. This would include district convention information and PPP data. Receiving data and information like, phone numbers, emails addresses, volunteer lists, contributors lists, rising star names, and those interested in running for office will all contribute to the ARP.
- Provide training on the use of social media, emails, cell phones, web sites, Instagram, mail, and promotion material (video or printed).
- Train District Chairs’ about voter lists and how to use them. What kind of list to ask for, i.e. walking list, alpha lists, voters registration list, etc.
Let’s work together for a positive ARP future.
Alaska Republican Party