As a National Committeeman for the past 17 years, I can attest that there has been more public attention paid to the election of the next Chairman of the Republican National Committee than I have ever seen. And I think that’s a good thing.
This week, all the candidates, including myself, have been answering questions and presenting our plans for the future. We’ve had a public debate covering questions from all across the country and meetings where RNC Members raised specific issues. It has been an incredibly positive dialogue and sends a clear signal that there is no shortage of ideas and excitement within the GOP.
As I shared at the debate on Monday and with RNC Members all week, the question to RNC Members when they cast their vote at the end of January is not whether we need to make significant changes. We do. Some changes are needed because we no longer have a Republican President and other changes are necessary to improve our performance and win elections.
However, the real question is who has the experience, the knowledge, and the judgment to assure that we don’t make changes just for the sake of change. We need to have a higher standard than just shifting how we do things. We need to be smart and we need to get it right.
The very first step in moving forward is increasing the role that my fellow RNC Members play in planning our future and making sure that our plans are executed. Having served on the RNC when there is a Republican President and when there isn’t, I know firsthand that one of the keys to our success is empowering our members.
Next, we must earn back the trust of the entire public that we truly are the national conservative party. We’ll do this by regaining our mantle as “the Party of Ideas,” just as we did in 1977 and again in 1993. My idea initiative, The Center for Republican Renewal, will work with Republican elected officials and activists at all levels across the country to identify and promote public policies that advance the Republican Party’s core principles and sound governance. We’re not going to just say “no” to liberal proposals - - we’re going to offer the public better, conservative solutions.
With the power of our ideas, the Republican Party will engage in thoughtful discussion with individuals in every corner, island, and territory of our country. Coalition building will be a full time, intensive, and deliberate effort as we grow our Party. As we build our winning coalition, we will follow Ronald Reagan’s maxim that someone who agrees with me 80 percent of the time is not my 20 percent enemy. That person is my ally and my friend. We will be bold in asserting our principles while recognizing that a winning coalition requires broader participation than just our traditional base. We must grow our Party through the power of new ideas that emanate from our core principles.
We also will work with every State Party to have all the necessary plans and personnel in place to win elections. With the guidance and involvement of my fellow RNC Members, my Partnership 2010 initiative will place dedicated staff in every State and for the Territories, to focus on Victory plans, voter registration, and candidate recruitment. We will have the right people with the right skills working in each State and the Territories planning for Republican victories.
As I stated before, when we make the change, we must make the right change. That means not throwing out the baby with the bath. A lot went wrong in 2008, but we did not lose due to a lack of financial resources. An amazing team effort set a new record in RNC fundraising ($400 million) and number of donors (1.9 million) over the past two years. For the first time ever, our online fundraising surpassed our phone programs. I’ve outlined a fundraising plan that grows this opportunity as well as others.
Finally, we need to assure that we are conducting all our activities, most especially communications, using state-of-the-art technology. I’m proud that this RNC had the vision to move past beltway consultants and hire the best technologists from outside of Washington, D.C. In the next two years, we’ll be putting our money where our mouth is in our commitment to innovation and technology. We’ll also move to open source technology platforms that will allow every tech-savvy Republican to contribute their know-how to our success.
Over the past two years, I loyally and faithfully served, just as any Republican would do if asked by our President to assume a position of leadership. I make no apologies for my service because, in my family, loyalty is not a character flaw. But this election is not about the past, this election is about the future.
As we have seen this week, the future of the Republican Party is bright. As the National Committeeman from Kentucky who is running for RNC Chairman, I believe I have the experience and the judgment necessary to lead the RNC into a new era as the Republican Party again becomes the conservative, majority party that America deserves.