Saturday, April 23, 2016

Views From a 2016 Colorado State GOP Assembly Delegate

Excuse my candor in this matter, but I am sick and tired of all the whining about how the Colorado state assembly was “rigged” just because all (or most) of the national delegates voted in at the Colorado State Assembly were Cruz bound delegates. I have seen memes accusing us of being everything from communists to political elites, to being bought and paid for. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I sure don’t feel like one of the political elite. And if I was paid, can I assume, then, that the check is in the mail?!

Now then, I won’t presume to speak for the 3,900+ other state assembly delegates and who were there, but here is how it went down in my little corner of Colorado:

When my spouse and I attended our precinct caucus, we met with our neighbors, and we discussed the issues and candidates. In those discussions, our neighbors in our precinct stated overwhelmingly that they wanted Cruz for President. Before the delegates were selected, we stated our views on the candidates, and stated emphatically that we wanted Ted Cruz as our President. With that information on the table, my precinct selected me to be one of their two state assembly delegates.

By my voting for Cruz bound delegates to be sent to the GOP National Convention, it sure sounds to me like I voted the wishes of my neighbors in my precinct. I was not contacted by any party officials who tried to threaten me, coerce me, or influence my vote in any way. The wishes of my neighbors, and my informed diligent research were my only influences in this process.
People outside our state – Please do your homework. That's all we ask. We in Colorado are doing the best we can to work within the rules that are in place. And we are tired of being called communists, party slaves, and being treated like bastard children by people who don't live in this state (or even in this state, but don’t participate in the process) and don't know the whole story.

Being a delegate is hard work. We gave up our lives for a time to research issues and candidates, and drive many miles to participate in these assemblies so that we can represent our neighbors. I drove from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and back two days in a row because I was also an alternate delegate to the Congressional District assembly. This also cost me a day of my personal vacation time from work to do this.
At our state assembly, not only were we voting for the delegates who would go to the national convention on our behalf, but we also had to research 14 or so candidates for US Senate, a candidate for CU Regent, our National GOP Committeeman, and our National GOP Committeewoman. Plus, we voted on several party resolutions. I spent many hours late at night and early in the morning before work doing all this research. I combed through hundreds of emails from candidates and surrogates to become informed on who I was voting for. My 3,900+ fellow state assembly delegates and alternates most likely did the same.

We are just normal people. We are neighbors. We have jobs. Many have families. Many go to church. Some are stay-at-home moms. Some are single parents. And the one thing we all have in common is that we love our state and our country enough to take on this responsibility to try to make a difference. In fact the number of hands that went up when asked who was a first time delegate was astounding! This tells me that people new to this process are getting involved and being responsible citizens. And we don’t have time to try to become the party elite to exercise an iron fist over our other fellow delegates.

Is our system perfect? No. But it's what we have, so we work within it the best that we can. If the people of Colorado want it changed, all they have to do is get off of the sofa to participate and show up at the caucuses to introduce party resolutions to change it.

We The People of Colorado, who are engaged in our political processes as responsible citizens, are not the enemy. Please quit treating us like we are. We love our country, but we fear for her, and just want to make a difference.