The State Central Committee (SCC) is the governing body of the Utah Republican Party. Their duty is to represent the people of their precincts in ensuring the party is able to fulfill its mission of electing Conservative leaders. See “Who is the SCC?”
The SCC is comprised primarily of neighborhood delegates elected from the various counties to represent their area. The SCC also includes various elected officials, and auxiliaries such as the College Republicans, Native American Republicans, Black Republican Caucus, etc.
Highlights from the Meeting
Accepting the Minutes
One of the first orders of business was accepting the minutes, or transcript and record, from the previous meetings as official record in the Party archives. There was some resistance to this, surprisingly. According to some SCC members, other members did not want what they said to be official record, however in the end the minutes were accepted.
Bottom Line: This means everyone will be held accountable for what they have said in the past, which adds transparency in the party.
Rules for Auxiliaries Enforced
On January 27th, a bylaw update (bylaw 3) was adopted that required existing auxiliaries to re-qualify as official party organizations by the next SCC meeting.
Four months later the Party Chairman called an executive meeting for May 8th to follow up with the bylaw, and interview/approve the auxiliaries, and approve a budget. There was debate on whether there were enough voting members (a quorum). It was determined at the May 8th meeting, including by Chairman Anderson, that there was a quorum, meaning the decisions made were binding.
The purpose of authorizing auxiliaries is to ensure they reflect the views of the party and it’s members. Giving groups an SCC vote is a serious responsibility, one the executive committee did not take lightly. One primary reason more auxiliaries were not approved at that time was because only two auxiliary chairs attended the meeting to be interviewed. Without being authorized, the other auxiliaries were not credentialed members of the SCC until they went through the approved authorization channels. Another reason is that the agenda for the meeting was not sent out until 3 hours prior, and most of the links needed to have a successful meeting did not work.
The issue came in when the list of credentialed members was not up to date, as it included auxiliaries who had not been reauthorized. According to the party Constitution and Bylaws, the official roster to be used is only the Party Secretary’s roster. Utah Party Secretary Lisa Shepherd said her roster was up to date and correct, and if her roster were the one used, as it should have been, it could have saved the entire SCC half an hour or more.
Having reviewed the evidence presented to them, SCC members determined the rules of the party needed to be enforced at the May 19th SCC meeting, and so credentials taken from auxiliaries that were not qualified at the May 8th meeting. Republicans do, after all, believe in the rule of law, rather than mob rule of emotion.
Hecklers in the crowd tried to make the decision to follow the rules a “racist” act, however the rule was applied as equally to the College Republicans as it was to every other auxiliary.
Bottom Line: The Republican Party chose to follow its own rules.
New State Caucus Task Force
Weldon Hathaway was assigned by Rob Anderson to lead the new State Caucus Task Force, along with 4 other members and more than 30 volunteers to assist. This move was surprising to many, based on past comments made about the caucus system by some of the 5 members. However, if implemented well it could be a powerful force to rejuvenating the caucus system, and help in secure more Conservative candidates that reflect Utah values, and less “moderate” candidates that would change the party to be more Liberal.
On the subject of vetting strong conservatives from moderate to liberal candidates, one of the Vice Chair candidates, Chadwick Fairbanks, received growing support during the final rounds of voting by pointing out the flaws of the concept of “unity at all costs.” He followed up by sharing the benefits of party leaders staying true to the principles that draws people to the Republican Party.
Some counties have also determined they would make their own county task forces, as local government is so much more effective in involving the grassroots, and we hope to see great things from these organizations!
Election of a New Vice Chair for the Party
The previous vice chair, Joni Hillard-Crane, resigned from her position after declaring her campaign to run for a county commissioner seat, leaving a vacancy the SCC needed to fill.
After (too many) rounds of balloting, the final two contestants were Kera Yates Birkeland and James Evans. This move so thoroughly dispelled the Progressive narrative that Republicans are racist/sexist hillbillies, that the few Democrats that snuck into the room spontaneously burst into flame.
No, that didn’t really happen. But if you can’t have some fun in writing and politics, Dr. Mike Kennedy has a chill pill for you.
There was a great deal of support for both candidates, both were highly qualified and surely both would do a fantastic job. In the end Kera Birkeland secured the position with roughly 58% of the vote. And isn’t that the way elections ought to be? Not a last ditch attempt at the lesser of two evils, or even an epic battle between good and evil; but a friendly election between two good candidates who you can be confident want what is best for you and your neighbors.
Congratulations to Kera Birkeland, and thank to you all the candidates for their willingness to run and serve the party!