Image: National Federation of Republican Women President Carrie Almond (second from left in red dress with glasses), of Missouri, met with Vice President Mike Pence (center), Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (far left), and other grassroots Republican leaders at the White House on July 21, 2017, to discuss healthcare reform.
Conroe and St. Louis, August 23 – National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) President Carrie Almond kindly stepped into the discussion to explain the background surrounding a strange feud that seemed to erupt among some Republican Party activists during the past several days within the Montgomery County Republican Party. Almond explained to The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, the precise reason why the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) is no longer an auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas.
The issue revealed substantial confusion among Montgomery County Republican Party (“MCRP”) Chairman Walter D. Wilkerson, Jr., MCRP paid office manager Melinda fredricks, TFRW representative Pearl Maggio, and the Republican Party of Texas concerning TFRW’s lack of auxiliary status.
What is an auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas?
There are several organizations which are official auxiliaries of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). The RPT is the official state Republican Party. Its auxiliaries include the Republican Liberty Caucus, the MLK Association, the Texas Asian Republican Assembly, the National Federation of Pachyderms – Texas Chapter, High School Republicans of Texas, Texas Young Republican Federation, Texas Federation of College Republicans, and Texas Republican Assembly.
An organization may become an auxiliary to the RPT, with non-voting ex officio status to participate in State Republican Executive Committee meetings.
Here’s the critical point. In order to become an auxiliary, a group must be one that “subscribes to the beliefs and principles advocated by the [Republican] Party,” pursuant to Article VII, E.2 of the Bylaws of the RFT.
What happened and the local discussion
Magnolia Republican Precinct 74 Chair Ginger Russell became concerned about her treatment from a local Republican Women’s organization. In the course of raising her concerns with MCRP Chairman Wilkerson, Russell noticed that TFRW was no longer an auxiliary of the RPT.
TFRW was a longstanding auxiliary of the RPT until 2016. In fact, TFRW had been one of the largest and most active auxiliaries. TFRW’s auxiliary status is quite important to local Republican women’s clubs such as the Lake Conroe Area Republican Women, the Montgomery County Republican Women, Woodlands Republican Women, and others, because the auxiliary status was the official link between those clubs and the official Republican Party.
As one might expect in politics, there was as many opinions about what happened to TFRW as there are people expressing the opinions.
MCRP office manager fredricks told Russell, “NFRW changed its bylaws to include a requirement that no state Republican Women organizations can be auxiliaries of state parties” on August 22. fredricks was incorrect, because several state Republican Women federations under the NFRW are auxiliaries of their state parties, according to NFRW President Almond.
MCRP’s Wilkerson told The Golden Hammer during a very cordial interview that “NFRW told state organizations that they couldn’t be auxiliaries o the state party because of some financial difficulties.” Wilkerson mentioned that he had spoken with TFRW’s Maggio who confirmed those facts. In fact, both Wilkerson and Maggio’s understanding is completely incorrect.
Wilkerson asked this newspaper to note that “Republican Women’s organizations are an integral part of the Republican Party operation and its success at the polls. There are nearly 800 women associated with these groups in Montgomery County.” The Golden Hammer completely agrees with Wilkerson with respect to the vitality and importance of Republican Women’s organizations in Montgomery County.
Interestingly, the Republican Party of Texas itself had some difficulty determining the position of the RPT when this newspaper initially contacted the organization. Eventually, the RPT retracted one statement and issued the following “official statement” from Press Secretary Jamie Bennett:
“In 2016 the TFRW did not request renewal of their Auxiliary status, or to become a Coalition of the RPT. Since Chairman James Dickey was made aware of the situation he has been working to find the best way to keep their voice active within the Party and highlight the contributions they make to electing Texas Republicans.”
TFRW President Theresa Kosmoski did not return telephone calls.
NFRW President Carrie Almond clears up the issue
Yesterday afternoon, NFRW Communications Director Lisa Ziriax, at the NFRW Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, arranged for The Golden Hammer to interview NFRW President Carrie Almond, who was gracious, witty, and precise.
President Almond explained that NFRW has lengthy Bylaws that set forth its policies and the goals of the organization, such as increasing the participation of women as Republican elected officials and throughout the entire political system. Almond made clear that “Republican women work very hard for Republican candidates at the national, state, and local levels.”
Almond explained, however, that the Federation of Republican Women is highly focused on its goals as set forth in its official Bylaws. Therefore, NFRW’s Bylaws contain a rule which prohibits an affiliated state federation, of which TFRW mostly certainly is one, from being an “auxiliary” of the state’s Republican Party, if the state federation must officially support the “principles” or “values” of the state GOP.
Specifically, in Texas, “since the RPT has a requirement that auxiliaries must pledge support of the principles and values of the Party, the Texas Federation of Republican Women cannot be an auxiliary under the National Federation of Republican Women Bylaws,” Almond said.
Almond echoed the comments of Wilkerson, however, but on a national level. “We’re proud how important Republican women are to the Party.”
In conclusion, Republican women’s clubs are similar in status to local Tea Party organizations, Wilkerson explained. “They’re not official Republican organizations but they’re very important to the future of the Republican Party.”