Watauga GOP holds annual convention
by Kellen Moore
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, the highest-ranking elected leader in attendance, thanked the local party faithful for their work and urged them to keep pushing on with their moral obligations.
"The party is a means to make sure that we uphold the principles that make this country great," Foxx said.
Republicans unanimously elected Anne-Marie Yates as chairwoman, Adrian de Keyzer as treasurer and Myra Scoggins as secretary.
The decision for vice chairman offered two options: Victoria Smith, the executive committee's pick, and Casey Miller, who was nominated from the floor by Nate Di Cola.
Smith, who described herself as being "born a Republican," offered a laundry list of services to the party since 1976 when she worked on President Ronald Reagan's campaign.
Miller, a Watauga County native, said he first became active with the party when he was 17 and pledged to re-energize the membership and bring back those who were disenfranchised.
After a secret ballot vote, Smith was named vice chairwoman, securing both of the party's top seats for women. In an acknowledgement to Miller's concerns about rural members being deprived of power, Fifth District GOP Chairman Dan Barrett, who led the convention, encouraged all to "hang in there together."
"I hope everybody will stay involved, because the enemy is not in this room," Barrett said.
About 60 people in attendance also voted unanimously to approve 11 resolutions. Among those was a resolution honoring James Dean Wilcox, a former Watauga County commissioner and active member of the Republican Party, who died in August 2012. Members of the Wilcox family were present Saturday to be recognized.
Other resolutions included: Support of a voter identification law, support of the Second Amendment, appreciation of the U.S. Armed Forces, honor of Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Virginia Foxx, opposition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and honor of outgoing GOP county Chairman Matt Snyder.
They also approved resolutions asking the state legislature to void any prior calls for the U.S. Congress to hold a Constitutional Convention, calling for transparency in the Federal Reserve System, opposing the United Nations Agenda 21 and calling for debate on federal FairTax bills.
A final draft resolution regarding extraterritorial jurisdiction in Watauga County was defeated by a voice vote. The resolution called upon the legislature to require towns such as Boone either to annex property in its ETJ or to abolish ETJs altogether.
The resolution read in part, "The Town of Boone has misused its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction authority to unduly infringe on the rights of property owners in the ETJ in an arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable manner solely for the aesthetical preferences of some Boone residents."
Jeff Templeton, a member of the Boone Planning Board, urged Republicans present not to vote for the resolution despite having drafted parts of it himself. He said he agreed completely with the statements in the resolution but said it would only provide fodder for the opposition if passed.
"I know how it's going to be used against us if we pass it," Templeton said.
Jean Di Cola also proposed an additional resolution calling for relocation of one-stop voting sites to "equalize voting opportunities," but it died for lack of second.
With some discussion and a unanimous vote, the Republican Party members present also approved a 16-bullet platform designed to guide efforts for the coming year.
Through the course of the morning, Republicans also received a legislative update from Rep. Jonathan Jordan, elected precinct chairmen to become part of the Republican Party Executive Committee and received committee reports.
After a busy two years as chairman during a presidential election, Snyder encouraged local Republicans to be constantly asking how they can help.
"We must work together for the betterment of all, because many hands make light work," Snyder said.