I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last 6 Republican Party of Texas State Conventions and served on the Platform Committee in 2012. This year, I was nominated to represent Senate District 25 on the Rules Committee. The most important thing I have learned from these experiences was that when parliamentary procedure isn’t followed, the results are questioned.
Delegates and alternates, especially those who are appointed to the Temporary Committees and/or elected to a Permanent Committee, should do a little homework and get acquainted with the scheduled agenda, the current Rules and Platform and the guidelines of the current parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. There’s a summary of those latter Rules, here.
If you were selected as delegate or alternate by your County Convention, do everything you can to attend the State Convention. Go early, attend one of the open hearings of the Temporary Platform, Rules or Credentialing Committees on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday when non-members may speak at certain times and places. Speak up if you have something unique to say or if you hear proposals that go against our Republican principles.
Committees, Caucuses, and the delegates to the General Sessions shouldn’t just agree to what seems to be a consensus. Committees and sub-committees should take votes. Learn what it means to “call the question,” “divide the question,” or “demand a roll call vote” – a vote of the members is necessary for each of these.
If you are on one of the Temporary Committees or a delegate or seated delegate at the (State) Senate District Caucus or General Session, ensure that the meetings are held according to the correct parliamentary procedure. (There isn’t a Congressional District Caucus since this isn’t a Presidential election year. This means a few less meetings and votes and we all get to go home earlier.)
Ask around about who is running for State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). This Committee is made up of one man and one woman from the districts of the State Senators. Ask why one candidate is better than the other. Think of questions about what the candidates believe the SREC can and can’t do in the two years between State RPT Conventions.
Finally, wear comfortable shoes and clothes and take extra water or sodas and some sort of snack to the General Sessions. The Fort Worth Convention Center is huge and you’ll do a lot of walking. The food and drink are insurance in case the meeting goes long. It’s very important that you stay to the end: if you don’t someone might make motions or cast votes you can’t agree with.
Our RPT is supposed to reflect the Republican voters of Texas and our Platform and Rules originate with those voters. Our “bottom up” representation is much more “democratic” than the “top-down” Party structure of the guys on the Left.
Do your homework. Go as early as you can. Speak up. Stick around to the end, so that your voice will be heard during the debate and vote on the Platform.
Edited – BBN to add graphic