Working From The Grassroots

Tonight I attended my first Polk County (Iowa) Republican Central Committee meeting. I have never been at this level of politics (okay, 2008 continues to be a year of firsts for me in local politics), and it was more interesting than I expected.

I won’t get into a lot of details about the meeting, except that it was half speeches (which was good, actually) and half business. Fund-raising is definitely a high priority for the party, along with voter turnout.

I was impressed with the variety of people there, various ages, ethnicities, and walks of life. We definitely have a party with a cross-section of the community that takes the time to participate.

Just to clarify, the Central Committee is made up of as many as 2 people from each precinct in the county (I am one of two from my precinct). We could have over 300 people in the room if every precinct were fully represented… I would estimate we had about 80 people or so there.

My other precinct representative is the chairman of the Organization Committee, which is responsible for building up the Central Committee membership and overseeing the absentee-ballot availability effort.

I got a chance to speak briefly with Jonathon Narcisse, an outspoken member of the Des Moines School Board. I appreciate the fact he is focused on understanding and resolving the issues we have with poor graduation rates in Des Moines. In the few minutes that I spoke with him, I could tell he is very well knowledgeable about education issues and the needs of students and parents.

I also made contact with Kim Schmett, who is running against Leonard Boswell for US House Iowa District 3.
I’m hoping we can get an interview setup soon. If you have questions for Kim Schmett, please leave comments on this post or email me.

A few Iowa General Assembly candidates were on hand, including Larry Disney, Chris Sanger, Chris Hagenow, and Erik Helland.  So far, Erik is unopposed (evidently, there’s 2 weeks left to close that up).  All four gave a very brief speech, mostly encouraging the efforts to get the vote out.

So, a question I hope some might ask is, how to do you get on a Central Committee or somehow involved to help your local organization? Simple answer: contact your county party office and tell them you are interesting in participating. Different groups will work different ways, but starting with the phone call is pretty much all it takes.

Tonight was a great experience, and the work of the next few months volunteering to impact the community directly in bringing out the vote will be very interesting.

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.

 

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