Skip to content

Texas GOP Convention – State Party Leadership & SCOTX Panel

June 7, 2014

Good evening all – 

The 2014 RPT Convention is officially in the books! I wanted to write a couple of blog posts tonight instead of one long one that covers the entire convention. 

So….this blog post will cover the election of our Party Leadership, as well as a panel I attended featuring three Texas Supreme Court justices. The next blog post will cover the adoption of the Party Rules and the Party Platform. Watch for that one in a couple hours, as A LOT is covered and I want to make sure to get it right! As always, if there’s something that any of you have a question about, please email/text/comment/call and I will do my best to answer you!

Party Leadership

The convention voted in Steve Munisteri as our Republican State Chairman. Steve has served our Party VERY well, and I proudly supported his re-election. No one ran against Steve, which is evidence of how well he has done over the past 4 years. 

Amy Clark was voted in, unanimously, as our State Vice-Chair. Amy and I met two years ago in Tampa, and I was proud to serve on her Campaign Committee and as a Caucus Whip for SD28. Amy also ran unopposed. However – I am particularly proud of how determined Amy was to meet as many delegates as possible, so that they could hear her plan for the Party. She has exciting ideas about returning to the grassroots and training from the precinct level.

For Senate District (SD) 28 – we re-elected Jane Cansino as our State Executive Republican Committee (SREC) woman position. Jane has done an excellent job on the SREC and as Chair of the Candidate Resource Committee, and will continue to serve SD28 in those capacities. There was a contested race for SREC Committeeman: Jeff Betty, County Chair of Tom Green Country, and John Beckmeyer, County Chair of Mitchell County, both ran. Jeff has been a friend of mine through several conventions, but John and his family have also worked very hard for our SD and for the Party as a whole. John won and will serve as our SREC Committeeman for the next few years. Our Committee members are currently term-limited to eight years at a time.

Congratulations to Steve, Amy, Jane, and John – and thanks for your willingness to serve!

SCOTX Panel

As many of you know, I am interning with Justice Don Willett on the Texas Supreme Court right now. I’m having a blast, and learning SO much! So – when I saw that one of the scheduled break-out sessions was featuring several SCOTX justices, there was no question I was going to attend! Justice Jeff Boyd, Justice Jeff Brown, and Justice Eva Guzman answered questions from the audience about a variety of topics. As a side note – I found out Justice Boyd is an ACU/Pepperdine Law grad, so I am doubly-impressed with him. 😉 Below are the questions the justices received, and their answers to them, as best as I can recall.

The justices were asked their opinion on appointment v. election of judges:

Brown: Judges should be held accountable to the electorate

Boyd: He likes being able to meet with people, but recognizes that people are worried about how campaign contributions could make a justice/judge be perceived to be unfair or biased. He thinks that Gov. Perry is very fair and appoints qualified judges, but sees how the system could be manipulated by those who are more concerned about politics. HOWEVER – Justice Boyd has not made it through an entire election process yet, and has promised not to give his actual opinion until after November, so he can see how a judicial election goes.

Guzman: Texans should decide how we elect our judges. She likes getting to meet people too, but notes the appearance of impropriety with campaign contributions is very dangerous.

Next, the justices were asked how to handle campaign contributions:

Brown: The better qualified candidate should have the ability to get his/her message out, so he is opposed to having a pool of money with each candidate getting an equal amount. He also thinks it’s important to allow us the chance to give to who we support. “Either you elect your judges and handle the fact that they’re politicians, or you appoint your judges and deal with the consequences of that.”

Boyd: Ditto to Brown. 🙂 Also – you can look up EVERY judicial contribution online at: ethics.Texas.gov

Guzman: “Tell me who you’re running around with and I’ll tell you who you are.” This is a phrase her father used to tell her, and it’s why she supports us being able to tell who is financially supporting judicial candidates.

The justices were asked about the impact of International and Sharia Law, but since those topics might come before the Court, were unable to speak specifically to it. Very generally, they said:

Guzman: Only apply law other than Texas/U.S. law if the language in the contract calls for it. Otherwise, Texas and U.S. laws and Constitutions always trump and a judge should always apply it.

Boyd: “The greatest threat to Texas law isn’t international law – it’s federal law.”

Brown: Same as Guzman – always decide based on TX law and TX/U.S. Constitutions

The justices were asked their favorite Supreme Court justice:

Guzman: Scalia – the two once shared an anchovy pizza when she took a class from him

Boyd: Scalia – he won an essay contest in Scalia’s class at Pepperdine Law

Brown: Scalia, Alito, and Thomas

Finally – Justice Boyd left us with one very important line. He said that justices are people too, and as much as they endeavor to leave their biases at home, they cannot help but be influenced in some ways. So, he said, our biggest job is to influence our culture, so we can indirectly influence the Court. Change our culture for the better, and we will see change in our courts.

I appreciated the justices candor and willingness to meet with #RPTCon14 delegates. Having access to our judges is VERY important. All three justices stressed that we should know our justices of the peace, district judges, and appeals court justices. The best way to get to know your judicial candidates is to get to know them as people. So make it a priority to get out there and meet your judges and judicial candidates. They need you help, your verbal and financial support, and they need the accountability that comes from informed constituents.

For Texas,

KVPTexas

Advertisements

From → Political Posts

3 Comments
  1. CAROLINE KREITLER permalink

    Kristen,

    Thank you!  I had paid as a registered Delegate, but have deadlines to meet on a couple of court of appeals transcripts I’m having to transcribe on both a criminal and civil matter from the same court, but separate cases.  I had already marked the agenda to attend this session if I were to have been able to go, but was really wishing somebody would share some details about what’s going on besides what the media shows with pictures in the newspaper about some dog-and-pony show with some gay activists protesting outside the Ft.Worth convention center.  Wished I could have got to go, but will hopefully be able to next time!  

    You’re appreciated for helping to keep us posted on all the current updates whenever you get a chance because I know from experience how hectic it can be to try getting involved.  It really does help to learn about a certain candidate I might have wondered about just by listening to their speeches is what I’m hating that I have to miss.  Otherwise if I can’t find a video posted online anywhere about either a panel discussion or interview that might have been recorded, I will only see a name on a page and not know for sure who to vote for.  As a precinct chair, my friends and neighbors expect me to bone up on all the candidates and maybe try asking who I would personally prefer to vote for and more times than not, they will choose to also do the same sort of ballot selections which turns out to be very similar.

    Enjoy your time at convention because it’s almost over soon enough, and have a safe trip!

    Caroline Kreitler 2014 Texas GOP Convention Delegate

    #103 Precinct Chair Taylor County Republican Party 517 Lexington Abilene, Texas  79605 (325) 672-2364 home (325) 725-4180 cell #

    caroline.kreitler@sbcglobal.net 

    P.S.  I just explained my last-minute cancellation about not getting to go, and told the RPT Staff & Convention Committee to just consider my registration fee as a donation to be used as needed and wherever during convention.   By the way, my straw poll pick would have been for Scott Walker, too.  My oldest is in grad school on a full ride at the University of Wisconsin and a registered voter there as well.  He ought to be completing his Ph.D. in Chemistry in about another year.

    ________________________________

    • Caroline – I am sorry you had to miss – Convention was great this year! If there’s anything you’d like to know specifically, let me know and I’ll look trough my notes and try to answer it for you.

      Congratulations to your son – I also love Gov. Walker. WI’s Lt. Gov. Kleefisch spoke at a Gala last night and she was awesome!!

      Good luck on transcribing the records! I just finished my first year of law school at Texas Tech and am interning with Justice Willett right now. The work you’re doing is very appreciated!

    • Caroline – thought you would like to see the whole Permanent Platform. Here is is.

      Enjoy,
      KVP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: