Texas GOP Convention – Platform Changes and Presidential Straw Poll Results
Good evening again, y’all -
I apologize in advance, because I cannot locate my notes on the RPT Permanent Rules. I don’t know if I accidentally left them at the Convention Center or what – but they are gone. I have asked my fellow delegates to give me a run-down of the major changes. As soon as I get that, I will pass it along to y’all.
Now – on to the Platform. As some of you may know, the state Party has a temporary Platform Committee that crafts the Party Platform. The temporary committee takes testimony from anyone who wants to submit resolutions or speak for/against them. Then, each Senate District votes in a permanent committee member and the permanent committee goes through the proposed platform and makes changes. At this meeting, only committee members may speak. The committee votes and forwards the proposed platform to the body. Then, the convention as a whole votes on the platform, may propose amendments (by submitting them in writing by 6pm the previous day), or suspend the rules to propose amendments from the floor. Minority Reports, which are changes to the platform that failed to get a majority committee vote but received the support of at least 7 committee members, are presented on the floor and the body is allowed to vote for the minority report language instead of the proposed platform.
The permanent committee chair of the Platform Committee was RPT Treasurer Tom Mechler. SD28 sent our SREC Committeeman, Russ Duerstine, as our representative on the Committee. I attended the Permanent Platform Committee and would like to commend Russ for the job he did – he and the other committee members were respectful and worked very hard. They were up against a hard deadline and worked up til the last second to do everything they could. They sent the body a mostly great platform. Unfortunately, we didn’t much of a chance to work on it, as I’ll detail below.
The biggest changes to the platform were as follows:
Support for medical marijuana:
- added by the temporary committee
- deleted by the permanent committee
- a minority report was reached and brought to the floor, stating: “We believe that Texans should have legal access to medical cannabis as a controlled narcotic prescribed by a physician”
Support to study medical marijuana:
- added by the permanent committee
- a minority report to strike the words: “We urge the Texas Legislature to allow encourage and facilitate the study at our Texas medical schools the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.” was reached and brought to the floor
- So-called “Texas Solution” (language from 2012 Platform – available on page 21 here) was largely left untouched by the permanent committee. There was A LOT of drama, testimony, and debate. A lot of delegates felt that the guest worker program language was a form of amnesty. I can’t even tell you how many emails, texts, and flyers I got about this subject.
- a minority report to strike the entire proposed plank was reached and brought to the floor. The language of the minority report can be seen here (please forgive the link to the article – it is the only place I had the entire minority report language here in the hotel room)
This morning (Saturday) at 10 am, we began working on the platform as a full convention. We took a 45 minute lunch, but other than that we worked until 4:30. There were 200 amendments presented before 6pm last night. We got to two, plus the three minority reports. The body got pretty bogged down in points of order, confusion of the delegates, but mostly everyone just wanting to be done. I was severely disappointed. I believe our job as delegates is to accomplish two things: establish the rules of our party, and complete a Party Platform. Everything else – the parties, the galas, the receptions, the speeches – are a lot of fun, but secondary. If delegates are not willing to stay and do the work we were elected to do, then we shouldn’t be there as delegates. I understand this is a hard-line view. I understand that there is time to cut off debate. But 2 amendments into 200 is not the time. I think the Platform is good – because the Platform Committee did an amazing job – not because the delegates did. Regardless, here are the things we managed to do:
- The minority report trying to put the support of medical marijuana back in the platform failed by a standing vote. There was good debate on both sides. Those in favor of the report begged us to allow very sick patients to be able to legally use “their choice in medicine.” They argued that we are the Party of Liberty and pointed out that CA patients could choose to use marijuana. A doctor testified that this was only for cannabis oil. Those against, which included two physicians, argued that the negative effects outweigh the positive benefits. Additionally, they argued that the amendment doesn’t say “cannabis oil” so could be used for much more besides that, which is dangerous and a slippery slope.
- The minority report striking the study of medical marijuana passed by standing vote. Those againsy argued that it’s no harm to study the possible positive effects. Those for the report argued that study leads to recreational marijuana, and that the topic has been studied already; there is no reason to spend more money spending more.
- The minority report replacing the Immigration Plank failed via a standing vote. We considered two amendments that proposed striking portions of the plank, but they failed. One amendment added the words “after the borders are secured and verified by the states” before the induction of the guest worker program. This was a compromise between some of the groups who were upset with the plank and wanted to gut it and those who wanted to keep it. This amendment passed.
There was another amendment that was proposed that was substantially similar to the minority report that passed via a roll call vote. It passed 4700 to just over 3000 votes. This gutted the amended version to the Immigration Plank and replaced it with the following.
The Immigration Plank now reads:
Lastly, Congressman Weber and Rep. Bryan Hughes asked permission from the body to propose an amendment that had not been submitted in writing. We agreed, and adopted their amendment, which struck the sentence: “We support net neutrality” from the platform. Proponents of the change said that the federal government should not be in charge of the Internet. Those who wrote that plank said it was designed to stop monopolies by cable companies, but the amendment still passed overwhelmingly.
The RPT Presidential Straw Poll Results
The RPT instituted a Straw Poll this year and it was pretty wildly popular. Below are the results, in order from least to winner, like Chairman Steve Munisteri presented them:
Rep. Steve King – .2%
Gov. John Kasich – .5%
Gov. Mike Pence – .6%
Undecided – 1.1%
Gov. Chris Christie – 1.3%
Gov. Bobby Jindal – 1.7%
Sen. Rick Santorum – 1.9%
Rep. Paul Ryan – 2%
Sen. Marco Rubio – 2.6%
Other – 2.7%
Gov. Scott Walker – 2.9%
Gov. Jeb Bush – 3.3%
Gov. Rick Perry – 11.7%
Sen. Rand Paul – 12.1%
Dr. Ben Carson – 12.2%
Sen. Ted Cruz – 43.4%
Again, it was my great honor to serve you in Ft. Worth. If there is anything I can do for you – please do not hesitate to ask.
For God, Country, and especially TEXAS,
P.S. I so appreciate the staff of the Texas GOP. They ran an excellent convention. I am particularly grateful to Steve Munisteri, Melinda Fredericks, Beth Cubriel, and Chris Elam. Chris doesn’t even work for the Party anymore, but offered his services so it would go off without a hitch. Our Party is blessed to have such servant leaders, and I am grateful to call them friends. They certainly deserve a rest now!