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Judge Mark Henry from the Galveston County Commissioners Court

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RPT Chair Article

Sam Malone was the moderator for the RPT Chair candidates debate 2-25-15

Format: Each candidate was asked a question, and then the other three candidates asked follow-up questions. Candidates are identified by their initials.

Question 1: Ballot integrity

RA Pool watcher, RNC has funds for legal issues with elections, TFRW, Galveston County.

TM no question

WE what would you do?

RA we need to have Republican alternate judgess in all Dem precincts

JF what is the best way to attract poll watchers and alt judges?

RA we need to have an active engaged party. We need a Party Chair in every County

Understanding a campaign as a candidate

TM I’ve been County Chair 3 times in 3 places. Do more to help to weak Republican areas. Don't want to get involved in primaries

WE you were Chair 13 years ago what about the last election?

TM Abbotts campaign did a great job. Targeting. Databases. Technology.

JW if a Republican was pushing legislative issue against RPT platform what would you do?

TM example is removing textbook authority from SBOE I discussed it with the author

RA What is your experience ?

TM I’ve run the full gamut from volunteer to County Chair. Party should be playing offense

Elected officials who diverge from platform

WE platform is interesting. Procedure is key. Should be an inspiring document. Should be principles. EOs are held to the platform in each election by their voters. Not the Party’s position to say they aren’t  representing their constituents The libs and the media read our platform. It should state our future vision

 JW would you stand for life?

 WE I would support our principles

RA if a group was in disagreement would allow them a booth?

WE Log Cabin Republicans should be discussed and welcomed

TM legislative priorities

WE The SREC laid out 8 principles. The chair is obligated to talk about the platform. He has to bring people together. Platform can be controversial. I brought people together in Dallas County. For the entire agenda, not for me to pick and choose issues.

Finance. How would you describe the financial health of your previous post during your tenure?

JW raised $20 million. Created leadership programs. Reagan Day Dinners were also successful. Committed to life marriage and immigration. Can address social issues and raise money. Patrick's, Abbott’s  and other campaigns that weren’t shy on social issuesraised lots of money

RA lots of offices are funded by RNC

 JW we can't rely on RNC. Need to take the Party to the people. Like the leadership club

TM $20m you raised was raised by judges

JW the folks in the room raised the money. Only 2 ways judicial candidates can raise money. We leveraged that money. Saw the fruits of the efforts

WE financial health of HCRP was said to be not that great

JW Kathy Haigler was there in 2004. Talk to current leaders. Left 100k in the bank.

What amount of time will you put in? Where will you cut back

RA note I have more time. My practice is arranged in a way that I can spend 2 days a week in Austin. I travel all around as National Committeeman. I'll fly a lot more than Steve M. did. I have served. I understand what Steve does. I've communicated our message

TM you're a physician how would you find 60 hours a week to server

RA I don't have debt. Frugal. Have time. Boss of practice. PAs and nurse practitioners will do the work

WE I can work on the road as a lawyer how can you see patients?

RA are you saying I work for a living? Ask a busy person you'll get the job done. We're working for the future JW in Austin or around the state?

RA It will be split up. Not like Steve who spoke at all engagements to which he was invited; I got in race late after I made sure I had time. County is going the wrong way. I have the time; this is important.

Immigration. Platform keeps changing. What are your beliefs

TM seal the boarder. Go back and wait in line. No amnesty. I was on the Board of criminal justice so I believe in the rule of law. Regarding people who are here, don't be critical of immigrants, but we have higher priorities

WE guest worker must stay from country of origin

TM you can't deport them. You have to give them incentives to do the right thing. There will be a penalty

 JW you were with the Texas Solution. Will we get a fair hearing

TM I’m not the father of the Texas Solution. I was chair of the Platform Committee. Not my place to create planks

RA disappointed about the breaking down doors comments. Do you know why the activists were disappointed with you?

TM my goal was to bring the 2 sides together. We only handled 2 or 3 amendments of 200. Worked to be fair. Will take the same approach as RPT Chair.

Expanding the voter base. Our base in major cities is shrinking

WE we did better in Dallas. Won back seats. First county wide candidate was elected. Expanded the party. Engaged younger Republicans. Social media. Had a lot of young folks. How do we engage minority groups? We have clubs that is a means not an end. They need to be integrated.

JW lots of races w/o Republicans

WE when we win some we'll win more with success.

RA why empty races?

WE can't get lawyers to run a race they can't win after 3 down cycles under different chairs

TM the DA race win was due to a war in the Dem party and the R winner was a former Dem

WE I think we want Dems to turn to Republicans. Susan Hawk was a Republican before she was a Dem. DA should follow the law. I want the best candidate. Would speak against Dems running as Republicans

We have a diverse party. Munisteri was successful with party unity

JW let's unify around our platform Sometimes people want social conservatives to be quiet. I think we need to have these discussions. Then come together. Allow the debate to occur and let voices be heard them come together

RA when a club defines itself in opposition to the platform we don't need to let them have as booth

TM you said earlier that the RPT should file lawsuits what about liability?

JW Annise Parker is continually violating the will of the people the RPT needs to get involved in those fights. Need to have the debate. After the debate we don't need to promote those groups. We have to be a party that stands for something. The chair needs to speak to that platform. Embrace our principles.

Lightening Round – Each candidate was given a different question and had 1.5 minutes to answer

Do you believe the party should be involved in local nonpartisan elections?

 JW definitely. Incumbent on the party. Had demonstrated this successfully in Houston. Stand tall on issues

Define word conservative

TM Life. Taxes Marriage. Open carry. No PC that just silences conservatives

Have you ever been sued?

RA yes I was sued on a medical issue. Thank God for tort reform. Resolved.  

Auxiliaries were formerly treated like step children

WE wants to plug them into the party. I am vice chairs of an auxiliary. They are the lifeblood of our Party

Audience questions – don’t know when these were solicited.

WE what had been your experience in leading against opposition. Dallas County is a microcosm of the state. If you want to help we want you.

There are several counties that don't hold R primaries

RA primaries are important to build your grassroots. I’ve been to Milam County where no one had been before. Cassie Daniels recruits for those positions. That's our farm team.

Evangelicals need to vote. How do you get them to vote

TM I am one. Been involved since Robertson. Some of the candidates are not as conservative. Evangelicals don't vote m we need to work with patriot pastors they can encourage people to vote.

What are the top 3 issues with voters

JW Vote security. Life. Marriage. Taxes. School Choice. Need to be addressed in the legislative session and beyond

Closing remark topic What would you do differently from our outgoing Chair

 RA would not get involved in local issues. Wean ourselves off of RNC $. I got involved due to social issues. We need to continue to do that. We have to engage people. I can take our issues to an NAACP convention. We have to show up in those communities. 

TM Munisteri had been exceptional. He assembled an excellent team. I am part of that team. Need to move forward. Platform push cards. Get non-traditional voters to realize they are Republicans. Target every Democrat

WE like this format. Have a lot of experience running in a big county. I won't picket City Hall.

I would pursue the items on Munisteri’s list.  Fundraising. Speaking to advocate our principles. Give people a seat at the table. Has done this in Dallas County. Stong social conservative but there is a place for fiscal conservatives and Constitutional conservatives

JW record is 272 -44 that is YOUR record. I'd engage more evangelicals. Get patriot pastors involved. Put it all on the line. Need to have an active faith. This will change this country. Apply our beliefs through our actions.

Will not back down. Will stand for principles.

Vote was 36 for Robin Armstrong, 36 for Jared Woodfill, 34 for Wade Emert, 14 for Tom Meckler, and 9 for non of the above

--Kathy Rogers

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October 26th, 2017
Judge Mark Henry from the Galveston County Commissioners Court

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