By Jon Bouche, Guest Editorialist
On June 26, 2018, the Montgomery County Republican Party adopted new bylaws for the purpose of creating an environment for more party unity and improving our ability to elect Republicans at all levels. The majority of the members of the Montgomery County Republican Party Executive Committee (CEC) believed this was necessary due to the changing voter demographics in Texas and some recent victories in non-partisan races by Democrats here in Montgomery County.
Since there are people among us who feel that there is some benefit in continuing to spread misinformation and divide our party, I feel that it is necessary to address and dispel some of the false things that are being said.
First, and foremost, I want to be clear, when Dr. Wilkerson, the County GOP Chairman, called a meeting of the Executive Committee on November 27, he violated the Party’s bylaws by failing to give 14-day’s notice. As a result, the meeting was illegal. When Dr. Wilkerson began the meeting, I stood up to raise a point of order, which under the rules of parliamentary procedure, take precedence over all business pending before the meeting. Wilkerson, as Chairman, should have recognized me. He ignored me and thereby violated the rules and the bylaws a second time. The reason the meeting broke into havoc is that other Executive Committee members, all of whom are elected Precinct Chairs, also rose to object and raise points of order. Dr. Wilkerson ignored them as well.
Dr. Wilkerson created the havoc in the November 27 meeting by failing to run the meeting in accordance with the rules and the bylaws.
But there is a lot of other misinformation people are spreading to try to divide the Republican Party.
FALSE CLAIM: These new bylaws were created because Terrence Boggs lost the election to Dr. Wilkerson so now some people are trying to subvert the will of the voters, overturn the election results and remove Dr. Wilkerson from office.
TRUTH: Many of the people who voted for the new bylaws also voted for Dr. Wilkerson. The bylaws had nothing to do with Chairman Wilkerson’s election and he has been told this repeatedly. It is a fact that he was elected as were the Precinct Chairs and we should all respect that.
FALSE CLAIM: These new bylaws strip Dr. Wilkerson of all of his powers.
TRUTH: This debate is happening, because Dr. Wilkerson was simply demanding that a different set of bylaws be adopted despite the will of the majority of the Executive Committee. He presided over the meeting where the vote occurred on June 26 and announced the vote in favor of the new bylaws. The Chairman does not have the authority to dictate which bylaws are adopted. Republican Party of Texas Rule 8(e) makes it the sole responsibility of the Executive Committee to introduce, debate, and adopt bylaws and it is designed this way for checks and balances. The 22 statutory powers of the County Chairman as granted by the Texas Election Code are still in place and were not affected by the new bylaws and our Chairman is well aware of this.
FALSE CLAIM: The people who crafted the new bylaws stacked all of the leadership positions with their own people.
TRUTH: When nominations were made for leadership positions on the night the new bylaws were adopted, anyone could have been nominated by anyone on the Executive Committee. No one was excluded. Also, anyone who was nominated and accepted the nomination was placed on the ballot. Again, no one was excluded. Sadly, some members of the CEC who were upset about the new bylaws being adopted decided to decline if anyone nominated them for a leadership position. Some of those people even left the building and refused to participate in selecting the leadership team.
FALSE CLAIM: The new bylaws were totally unnecessary because Montgomery County is “Red” and we are not in any danger of losing any elections to Democrats here.
TRUTH: Democrats have recently defeated Republicans to win a seat on the Lone Star College Board, the Woodlands Township Board, and they were threatening to win a seat on the Conroe City Council at the time the new bylaws were adopted. Under the old bylaws of the MCRP, the party did not support Republicans in these elections because these are considered as “nonpartisan” elections. The same strategy that the Democrats used to turn Colorado blue, “Project L.I.F.T” (Google it), is well underway here in Texas. If Democrats can win elections in a place as “Red” as Montgomery County, Texas, where can’t they win? The new bylaws have helped us modernize the Party and improved our social media presence. They have also helped us to better organize and utilize the most current and effective technology and resources that are available to defeat Democrats and keep Montgomery County “Red”. That’s why Montgomery County had the superlative results for any suburban County in the November 6 General Election.
FALSE CLAIM: The Tea Party people on the County Executive Committee are rude and won’t allow Dr. Wilkerson to hold a meeting without talking over him.
TRUTH: Chairman Wilkerson refuses to acknowledge the bylaws of the party and he continues to violate the Texas Election Code, the Republican Party of Texas Rules and the Montgomery County Republican Party bylaws by unilaterally calling meetings and setting his own agenda. He also attempts to abuse his authority as the presiding officer of the MCRP meetings by refusing to recognize proper motions from the floor from members of the CEC who support the new bylaws. This is improper so the majority of the CEC have had to be much more persistent and vocal because of his lawless actions. Sadly, we even had to remove Chairman Wilkerson as the presiding officer on one occasion for abusing his position.
Additionally, many of the Precinct Chairs who oppose the illegal actions of Dr. Wilkerson are not even members of any Tea Party group.
FALSE CLAIM: It is still in dispute as to whether Chairman Wilkerson is correct in claiming that the new bylaws were adopted on June 26th because Chairman Wilkerson believes that a 2/3 vote was needed to adopt those bylaws instead of a majority vote.
TRUTH: The issue is settled. Adoption of bylaws at a biennial Organizational Meeting of the CEC requires only a majority vote. Chairman Wilkerson was the presiding officer and he had his own parliamentarian and legal counsel present on June 26th when the bylaws were adopted. It was not until 17 days later that our Chairman decided he did not like the new bylaws and attempted to nullify the vote of the CEC simply by sending out emails and mailers to the Republican voters in Montgomery County in which he made the blatantly false claim that the bylaws never passed. Since that time, there have been three letters from Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey to Chairman Wilkerson informing him that the bylaws were properly adopted on June 26.
Chairman Wilkerson also contacted the Texas Republican County Chairmen’s’ Association’s Legal Counsel and requested a review of the bylaws and the process by which they were adopted. They also informed Chairman Wilkerson that the new bylaws were legal and properly adopted.
Since Chairman Wilkerson still refused to accept this, the Republican Party of Texas State Rules Executive Committee reviewed the case and rejected Chairman Wilkerson’s claim by a vote of 64-0.
There have also been two phone hearings by the RPT regarding Chairman Wilkerson’s actions and a there was even a strongly worded letter to Dr. Wilkerson from State Party Chairman James Dickey which stated unequivocally that the new bylaws were properly adopted and that by his actions, Chairman Wilkerson has behaved in such a way as to disgrace the party.
FALSE CLAIM: The Montgomery County Republican Party is not subject to the Texas Election Code or the rules of the Republican Party of Texas. The MCRP is a private club and only operates in accordance with the Texas Business Organizations Code.
TRUTH: Since Chairman Wilkerson and his few supporters on the CEC have lost the bylaws debate within the context of the Texas Election Code, the Republican Party of Texas Rules, the Montgomery County Republican Party bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order, this Texas Business Organizations Code argument is just the latest alibi for their lawless behavior. It cannot be disputed that the County Chairman is elected in accordance with the Texas Election Code and it is there that his 22 statutory powers are granted. The Texas Election Code also establishes primacy of the state party over the county party. As such, the Texas Business Organizations Code argument is a specious argument simply put forth to confuse those who may not know better.
Today, I saw where a letter was being circulated to the Republican Women’s groups where a video link was provided and there was just a lot of misinformation in that letter so I wanted to address that specifically here as well. Since these people have quite obviously lost the debate, it seems that they are now just fixated on dividing and causing as much damage as they can to the party.
In the letter they are circulating, they provide a link to a video of an illegal meeting that was falsely represented as a CEC meeting. Because it was presented as such, members of the CEC showed up even though it was not a legitimate meeting. This had to be done to protect the party and prevent any illegal business from being fraudulently conducted in the name of the MCRP CEC.
For anyone watching the video of that illegal meeting, you can clearly see that a member of the County Executive Committee stood and politely raised a point of order and then sat down. Chairman Wilkerson then just refused to rule on the point of order as is required of him and then said, “You can leave if you want to but we are going to continue.” This is when even more members of the CEC stood up and properly raised points of order while Chairman Wilkerson just attempted to talk over them and proceed with this illegal meeting and his own unapproved agenda. Such lawlessness should not be allowed to stand and it was properly shut down by the CEC.
Throughout this ordeal, those of us who are committed to following the law and the rules of our party have been attacked but we have not responded in kind. We just continue to insist that our Chairman and his few followers on the CEC obey the laws of our state and the rules of our party. The truth has been a very effective weapon in this debate which is evident by the fact that Chairman Wilkerson once had 31 of the 96 Precinct Chairs supporting his position on this issue but now he has less than half that many.
Going into this last election cycle, there was talk that if even one Democrat was elected in the November election, Chairman Wilkerson and his supporters would blame those who supported the new bylaws for this. In what appeared to be an effort to make that happen, Chairman Wilkerson and his followers did not make any discernable effort to get Republicans to the polls. In fact, some of Chairman Wilkerson’s supporters, the same ones who are now circulating the letter containing all of the misinformation about the CEC Meeting and the Tea Party, formed the Republican Voters of Texas PAC to try and defeat Conservative Republicans even in races where they were opposed by Democrats. They failed miserably and they should be embarrassed for what they have done and how they continue to try and divide the party but apparently, they have no shame.
By contrast, during the November election cycle, the MCRP Steering Committee and the Victory 2018 Committee put together a very energetic and robust campaign. Hundreds of volunteers knocked thousands of doors, made thousands of phone calls, improved our nearly non-existent online and social media presence, conducted webcasts, did radio shows, and sent mailers to tens of thousands of homes. As a result, Montgomery County had an outstanding performance in this election cycle and accounted for about ½ of Senator Cruz’ margin of victory. In short, we hit a home run and everyone in the state is watching Montgomery County now and counting on us because so many other counties went “Blue” or turned “Purple”.
For our part, we will continue to build on our efforts to keep Montgomery County “Red” and we welcome anyone who wishes to participate in that effort. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to come and speak with you regarding the MCRP bylaws situation and answer any and all of your questions regarding this matter. If you want to find out how to get involved, please go to the 2018-2020 MCRP CEC official website at www.mcgop.online and you will find lots of information there.
In the meantime, I respectfully ask that you reject the misinformation that is being put forth. I know that some are doing this out of ignorance, but by now it is clear that some are doing it out of pure malice.
Jon Bouche is the elected Republican Precinct Chairman for Precinct 35 (Oak Ridge North), a member of the Montgomery County Republican Party Steering Committee, and an elected Board of Directors member of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District.