Texas Republican Women–Galvanized in Galveston
I recently had the pleasure of attending and speaking to the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) at their 2009 biennial convention in Galveston, Texas.
I have spoken to many RWF chapters. I have even spoken at the county level. Yet to address an entire state convention of such a prestigious organization was an honor and a privilege.
I would like to thank Toni Ann Dashiell for taking a chance on some guy living in California. I called her out of the blue, and she did her due diligence, vetting me thoroughly. Mrs. Dashiell is the President of the TFRW, although her term ends at the end of this calendar year. Rebecca Bradford is the incoming President. Along with Mrs. Dashiell, outgoing First Vice President Rebecca Williamson also treated me with kindness.
I had been to Dallas once and Houston once, but had never been to Galveston. What little I saw, I loved. The San Luis Resort where I stayed was pure paradise. I highly recommend it for anyone.
A lovely Friday evening mixer was followed by an even lovelier Saturday evening gala dinner. Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Controller Susan Combs, and many other notables were in attendance throughout the weekend. Attorney General Greg Abbott was particularly inspiring. Physically, he is confined to a wheelchair, but emotionally he lifted everybody in the room. He amused the crowd with stories of how his daughter creatively works his wheelchair into Halloween costumes.
I spoke to Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst for a couple of minutes, and delivered a simple message.
“Mr. Dewhurst, I’m not a Texan. I live in the People’s Republic of California. Everything you have heard about our state is true. It is completely dysfunctional. We have liberals holding the state hostage. You have conservative governance. I am pleading with you, please don’t let what happened to my home happen to your state.”
He assured me that there was no way that would happen. Texans understand concepts such as creating a climate where businesses can actually do business. They know what has happened to California.
In addition to elected officials, party leaders keep Texas on the right track. For those who want to see strong leaders in charge, Cathie Adams is the Chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party.
The convention itself had something for everybody. Several workshops provided a variety of speakers. Workshops on healthcare, climate change, and diversity in the GOP were all providing fresh policy perspectives meant to counter the conventional lack of wisdom. I had the honor of being the other workshop, which was a comedic presentation from a conservative viewpoint.
If somebody would have told me I could wish for anything, I would ask them to airlift me, drop me off at a convention center, and have me land in a room with hundreds of cheering Republican women who appreciated football and red meat.
Ladies from Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston, and all over Texas welcomed me into their state and their hearts. I have made friends I will have for life, and have been extended several invitations to come back to virtually every nook and cranny of the Lone Star State. My goal is to accept every invitation.
As for the ladies of the TFRW, from the President on down to each attendee, it was obvious even to a fellow from California why Texas is a functional state. Men may hold the top offices, but they don’t get elected without the ladies licking envelopes, making phone calls, and of course, holding fundraisers and writing checks. Even the ladies of modest means took great pride in knitting sweaters and blankets for the troops.
It was put in perspective for me when one woman pointed to some of the ladies and told me that, “When President George Herbert Walker Bush enters the room, these ladies call him George.”
That was a reminder to myself that while there was plenty of fun, there were plenty of responsibilities, and these ladies expect things done right. I did my job, and was treated well for it.
The ladies bought copies of my book, and I happily signed copies until my shoulder was ready to fall off.
At the gala dinner, an electrified crowd celebrated the Republican women of Texas. Incoming National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) President Sue Lynch was in attendance. Actress Janine Turner of “Northern Exposure” and “Friday Night Lights” spoke about her experiences.
While I am used to pledging allegiance to the American flag at Republican functions, each event also had people pledging allegiance to the state flag of Texas. Californians might seriously wish to consider adding this ritual at their own state events.
After the gala ended, one of the ladies in the room looked at me eyeing the stage and inquired, “You want to meet Janine Turner, don’t you?”
I looked at her and said, “I want to meet Sue Lynch. Janine Turner is not the President of the NFRW.”
The woman laughed, and introduced me to Mrs. Lynch. I promised to work hard for her nationwide.
Later that evening, by sheer coincidence near the elevator, I did meet Mrs. Turner and her daughter. They were just as kind and thoughtful as everybody else I met.
The best way to understand the ladies at this conference is to understand their work ethic.
The slogan of the Republican Women’s Federated is 5W.
“When Women Work, We win.”
These ladies are an inspiration. More importantly, they were inspired at this conference.
We were all Galvanized in Galveston.
As the 2010 elections get closer, there is palpable energy and optimism.
I know I will do my part. There is no doubt that the ladies of the TFRW will do their part.
Besides, one year after the 2010 elections is another major event. The TFRW have their 2011 biennial convention in Fort Worth.
It will be tons of fun, but for now there is plenty of work to do. It was an honor to kick off the 2010 campaign with some of the finest women in America, the ladies of the TFRW.