By Jesse Wood
March 19, 2013. The Watauga County Republican Party held its annual convention on Saturday with several dozen in attendance.
The four established candidates, who were recommended and approved by the local GOP executive and nominating committees, were elected for the following office positions within the Watauga County GOP:
- Anne Marie Yates, Chairman
- Victoria Smith, Vice Chair
- Adrian de Keyzer, Treasurer
- Myra Scoggins, Secretary
And numerous resolutions – brought to the consideration of the convention’s delegates by the local GOP resolution committee – were also passed. Those include the following:
- Resolution to stand with the Republican National Committee in their “Resolution Exposing United Nations Agenda 21”
- Resolution calling for the NC State Legislature to support transparency and audit the Federal Reserve System
- Resolution of appreciation of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Resolution requesting the State Assembly to halt implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
- A resolution requesting our State Legislature to rescind all prior calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention
- Resolution in support of the Second Amendment
- Resolution calling for debate and vote on the Fair Tax Bills in Congress
- Resolution to commend outgoing-Chair Matt Snyder of the WCRP
- Resolution expressing appreciation for U.S. Senator Richard Burr and U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx
Casey Miller unsuccessfully ran for vice chair. He had support from a small faction of rural conservatives, including once-again-registered-Republican Deborah Greene and Nate and Jean Di Cola.
Before Nate Di Cola nominated Miller on the floor on Saturday, however, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx “chastised” Miller in the lobby for bringing dissention to the ranks of the local GOP, according to Miller. (Foxx didn’t respond to repeated requests for an interview on Tuesday.)
“It was quite disappointing – not about winning, but about being chastised by somebody just because they think their elected position makes them special,” Miller said.
Greene added, “Foxx abused her role as our congresswoman.”
“Virginia kicked out the press during the precinct meetings for 30 minutes and said, ‘We are going to air our differences,” Green said. “We didn’t air anything. She did all the talking.’”
Other present Republicans, however, said they didn’t feel that Foxx was out of line.
Newly-elected Chairwoman Yates said, “I thought it was too the point and what we needed to hear from our senior elected official.”
And outgoing Vice Chair Tommy Adams said, “[Foxx] just wanted to address the group and she took that opportunity to be encouraging to the party. She talked a lot about party unity and celebrated the success we had and are going to have in the future. Sometimes listeners hear what they want to hear, but I think the vast majority of folks walked away with nothing but respect and appreciation for what she said.”
Miller said another source of disappointment at the convention was “that nobody wants to take a stand publicly on anything. ”
The “anything” that Miller was referring to was the four resolutions concerning local issues to be considered on the floor of the convention. Those four resolutions – three of which weren’t nominated by the resolution committee – were authored either by the Di Colas or Miller and, as worded in the resolutions, regard the following:
- Support of the abolishment of the ETJ in Watauga County;
- Support of the prevention of the Town of Boone of taking over rural water resources with its proposed water intake project;
- Support the call for one-stop voting equalized throughout Watauga; and
- Support the encouragement of Watauga County Board of Commissioners to redistrict the county districts to achieve better representation for the current regional demographics.
The ETJ resolution was shot down by a voice vote. According to those present, Jeff Templeton suggested not passing the resolution because of contentious language towards the Town of Boone. Templeton declined to comment about the annual convention on Tuesday.
Adams said that, “in my opinion, why we collectively decided not to pass the resolution,” is because the ETJ issue is being examined at the state level as a constitutional amendment.
“Let’s let the state do its work and the citizens across the state make that decision,” Adams said.
Greene charged that the democratic process was violated and that the resolution committee changed the wording to some of the language in the ETJ resolution.
“They should have accepted it as is or written their own,” Greene said.
As for the other resolution that was addressed at the committee, Jean Di Cola brought the one-stop voting resolution to the floor, but it died for a lack of a second. The other two resolutions weren’t brought to the floor, and therefore weren’t considered.
Greene and the Di Colas have repeatedly spoke very loudly about the disenfranchisement of rural Wataugans from the Watauga County Republican Party, and each of the four resolutions mentioned above were written to address those claims.
In a prior High Country Press article leading up to the annual GOP convention, Miller said that “disenfranchisement” was the main reason for his candidacy for vice chair: “Recently, I felt like the party has kind of abandoned the core base, especially, the voters outside the city limits and has not put any focus on real [local] issues.”
But Adams, who described the convention as a success, maintains that this is not the case and that many Republican-led events have taken place into the rural districts of Watauga County.
“Maybe a few individuals feel that way,” Adams said. “But looking at the voting results in Watauga in 2012, the numbers tell a different story. Rural conservative areas around Boone elected Mitt Romney, Pat McCrory, Dan Forrest, Paul Newby and me. I was defeated in the Town of Boone; I wasn’t in the county.”
He also said that any rural conservatives are more than welcome to join the party, to be candidates and offer constructive involvement.
Pointed at the few rural conservatives stirring up the established pot, Adams said, “You can’t be destructive and disturbing on the bus. Folks don’t appreciate controversy 24/7 … If you want to improve the Republican Party, you have to do it from within and not from the outside.”