Chris Lauzen: Direct Election of Republican State Central Committeemen

From the office of State Senator Chris Lauzen (R, 25th District)…

“You Decide . . . .” That’s what SB35 (the old SB600) is all about.

If you think it’s “OK” for Republican State Central Committeemen to give thousands of dollars and serious support to Mayor Daley, Governor Blagojevich, and other Democrat politicians . . . if you think it makes any sense at all to have Jim Oberweis, who has spent more than $10,000,000 to lose five (5) major elections, advising Republicans about how to win political campaigns . . . and, if you think it is in any way appropriate for the Republican State Central Committee to threaten Republican precinct committeemen with punishment for not supporting every single Republican candidate on the ticket, no matter how corrupt or opposed to the Illinois Republican Party Platform they are . . . do not support fundamental reform and change. No need to read further. SB35 provides for direct election of Republican State Central Committeemen. Proponents want the right to vote for their leaders just like Republicans had for more than fifty (50) years, before Governor Thompson and his allies took it away through legislation. We want what Democrat primary voters have continued to enjoy.

If Republicans were in good shape in Illinois, I would say it doesn’t make any difference how we elect our leaders. However, Democrats have been slaughtering us with nine (9) years of corrupt or incompetent Governors and nearly veto-proof majorities in the State House and Senate. This gross mismanagement has led to a staggering 67% personal income tax increase, a redefinition of marriage in homosexual “unions”, constant threats to our right to self-defense, the obvious bankruptcy of our state through crippling spending and debt, and now the protection of murderers, terrorists and rapists from the death penalty.

Illinois Democrat strength, in large part, is due to Republican Establishment weakness. Our top leadership’s weakness is due to their detachment from their grassroots base. We correct that deficiency by restoring the direct empowerment of the grassroots to hold Republican leadership accountable.

I am embarrassed by Republican Party Establishment’s resistance to direct democracy and the grassroots’ right to determine the future of our party. Our Constitution begins “We, the People”, not “We, the Politicians at the Top”. The Declaration of Independence clearly states “All men (and women) are created equal” . . . not like in George Orwell’s parody of Communism Animal Farm, “…but some are created more equal than others.”

When will “We the People” reassert our authority over the power of our own Republican Party?

In the most peculiar way, Republican Party leadership reaches out for the energy, volunteer work, and money of Tea Patriots . . . It’s like they’re embarrassed to acknowledge that we know them well enough to vote for them… Yet, those who have run the Party into the ground, have detached themselves from legitimate grassroots, and have elevated themselves to a type of elitist privilege, refuse to give every Tea Patriot the respect of a vote. They take what they’re not willing to pay for!

SB35 (the old SB600) empowers Republican precinct committeemen, the backbone of serious effort in our Party.

My wife, Sarah, who serves as our neighborhood precinct committeeman says, “Chris, how can I ask any of our neighbors to help me build the Republican Party when the Party won’t demonstrate its respect enough to give them a voice in a vote?” And, the only practical way that a candidate for State Central Committee can effectively run for this office without spending lots of money, is to make his/her appeal to the various precinct committeemen who then recommend a vote for that candidate in their precinct letter to their neighbors. All these candidates for State Central Committee become additional recruiters of precinct committeemen in addition to the county chairmen because they have good old-fashioned self-interest of gathering allies in every neighborhood of the State of Illinois to help their campaigns.

Unfortunately, we are now told by friends that, in place of our individual right to vote, we should be satisfied with the grand concession of “County Chairmen will no longer vote vacant precincts”. This practice was an unconscionable abuse of power. This insufficient proposal was announced like it represents a great victory!

This is not “too little, too late”. It is an insult to our intelligence and a lack of acknowledgement that this former practice was an unconscionable abuse of power. “Voting vacant precincts” was an incentive to not recruit independent-thinking neighborhood precinct committeemen. The worse job they performed, the more power they had at county conventions. We are advised that discontinuing this practice (even with a secret ballot) should take the place of each of us maintaining the dignity of our individual vote!

The passage of SB35 (the old SB600) and the future of the Republican Party is really up to you. I recommend two actions:

  • Call your state senator/representative and request that they co-sponsor SB35 – – to just vote for it is insufficient.
  • Run for precinct committeeman or help a neighbor run for this office, so that you can change the Republican Party from within, in case the Establishment is successful again in frustrating the will of the People to vote and determine their own futures.

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