There wasn’t a large turnout for the 2014 Ashe County Republican Party Convention, but those who did show up were upbeat and enthusiastic about the party’s chances going into the November mid-term elections.
Nearly 50 people showed up at the Ashe County Courthouse on Saturday, March 22 for the annual event.
N.C. Senator Dan Soucek (District 45) was the keynote speaker at the convention.
Throughout most of his speech, Soucek drew comparisons between America’s War for Independence and today’s current political climate.
“This is not a new fight,” Soucek said. “Our battle in front of us, is no less encouraging.”
Soucek said that many state legislatures are looking to N.C. as a model for economic reform.
Liberals across the country, especially in the northeast are “furious,” according to Soucek, about the N.C. General Assembly’s positions on tax reform, Medicaid expansion, pro-life legislation and Second Amendment rights.
“Our reforms are moving us in the right direction,” Soucek said, to much applause.
In addition to Soucek, speakers included Republican candidates running for the following offices:
U.S. House of Representatives District 5: Philip Doyle (Clemmons).
N.C. Representative District 43: Jonathan Jordan (Jefferson).
District Court judges: Fred Bauer (Wilkesboro), Virginia Gillespie (Yadkinville), Tracie McMillan Jordan (Jefferson) and Donna Shumate (Sparta).
Ashe County Board of Commissioners: Judy Porter Poe and Mickey Pruitt.
Ashe County Sheriff: Chris Welch and Tim Winters.
Ashe County Register of Deeds: Phyllis Critcher.
Most, if not all candidates branded themselves as fiscal and social conservatives.
State Representative Jordan cautioned those in the audience against becoming complacent.
Jordan said that the liberal group MoveOn.org campaigned in Watauga County last year, and it wouldn’t surprise him to see them begin to do the same in Ashe County.
“MoveOn.org was organizing in Boone during last year’s election,” Jordan said. “They’re going after this district, we can’t forget that.”
Jordan blamed the General Assembly’s 50 percent disapproval rating on “a failure to get our message out because we don’t have friends in the media.”
Ashe County Republican Party Chairwoman Mary Desautels urged attendees to continue to express Judeo-Christian values and to study the U.S. Constitution, so as to become better suited at “articulating our ideas.”
Desautels also encouraged the audience to read several books, one of which offers a strong critique of the Qur’an.
According to Desautels, Islamic Sharia Law cannot coexist with U.S. state and federal laws.
“They want to kill, and it is not a crime under the Qur’an,” Desautels said.
“We are and should fight to remain a Christian nation,” Desautels said.
Ashe County Board of Elections Chairman Jerry Powers addressed the convention about the party’s strength in the county.
Powers said there are currently 7,813 registered Republicans in Ashe County compared with about 6,120 Democrats.
All but one precinct in the county has more registered Republicans than Democrats, a fact that pleased the crowd.
Shortly before the convention was adjourned, the following resolutions were passed:
• Nullification of the Affordable Care Act.
• Oppose illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal residents.
• Preservation of U.S. sovereignty and economic stability by repealing NAFTA and opposing any pending free trade agreements and partnerships.
• Withdrawal from the United Nations.
• Pledge to stand with the Republican National Committee in their “resolution exposing United Nations’ Agenda 21.”
• Withdraw all N.C. calls for a constitutional convention and oppose any future calls for such conventions.
• Support local law enforcement and keep them independent.
• Stand in opposition to Common Core education standards.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @abulluck.