'Factions' cited as problem for Republican Party at meeting here
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Jul 17, 2014 | 1337 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Upshur County Republican Executive Committee elected officers and named three new committee members at its organizational meeting for 2014 in Gilmer Saturday afternoon.

About 25 persons, including 14 committee members, attended at the Boates and Ridgeway law firm in the downtown Roberts Building. County Republican Chairman Cynthia Ridgeway presided over the meeting, part of which was open to the public.

Before appointing the new members, the committee reelected three officers without opposition: Secretary Madaline Barber, Vice Chairman Joe Dodd (who was not present) and Sgt.-At-Arms Keith Barber (who isn’t an executive committee member).

The committee also elected Bill Stenger, who was unable to attend, as parliamentarian, and Indian Rock Baptist Church Pastor James Parrish, who is not a committee member, as chaplain.

In addition, Mrs. Ridgeway announced her appointment of John Ussery as treasurer.

Elected as committee members to fill vacancies as precinct chairmen were Joyce Dolle of Pct. 3, Laurie Fisher (who was not present) in Pct. 10; and Ronnica Ridgeway for Pct. 14. Mrs. Barber, who had to resign as Pct. 3 chairmen because she moved from the precinct, was elected to fill that position inPct. 20.

The Executive Committee also elected chairmen for four other committees: Ussery, Finance; Cynthia Ridgeway, Primary; Jackie Oliver, Hospitality; and John Melvin Dodd (who is not an executive committee member), Elections.

Closing the 72-minute open portion of the meeting, Cynthia Ridgeway expressed her appreciation for voters reelecting her without opposition as county chairman in this year’s Republican primary election.

She also summarized events at the recent state GOP convention in Dallas, noting that while she had been a delegate to several previous such conventions, this was her first to attend as county chairman.

At a breakfast for the chairmen there, she said, “one of the main highlights” was a talk by the party’s nominee for state Commissioner of Agriculture, Sid Miller. She said he addressed the matter of “factions” in the GOP, and she acknowledged, “We have experienced it at our (Upshur County’s) local level for a number of years.”

She said Miller, a rancher by trade, warned of “mavericks” in the party. Mrs. Ridgeway quoted him as saying county chairmen must “bring them back into the main herd,” and she called for electing conservatives.

From the audience, John Melvin Dodd observed, “We are inevitably going to have factions in the party.” He said that when he was Upshur County Republican chairman in 1973, the local party had no factions because it had so few members—and that the party didn’t want to return to that.

Mrs. Ridgeway said the Republican establishment’s “playbook” won’t favor Tea Party candidates in GOP primaries. She called for defeating GOP establishment candidates who oppose the Tea Party, saying “We have to defeat those candidates in Republican primaries.”

She also asked those present to join her in keeping three priorities of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” citing the importance of being pro-life.

Executive Committee members attending Saturday’s gathering, other than those already mentioned, included Lanette Crittenden, Jesse Loffer, Deborah Hodge, Richard Ridgeway, Charlie Pelezo, Michael Denton and Leslie Cathcart.

Also at Saturday’s meeting, the Executive Committee readopted its by-laws as last amended in July 2011 and approved letting the committee chairmen choose their own committee members, subject to Executive Committee approval.

The Executive Committee further voted to schedule its third quarter meeting for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at a location to be announced.

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