Successful night at Local Elected Officials Event
The Local Elected Officials Event held on June 22nd was more than a social gathering for the Republican Committee of Chester County. The event, held at the Downingtown Country Club with over 150 people in attendance, provided a valuable, one-of-a-kind experience for attendees.
“This year we provided an encompassing campaign seminar for our candidates and heard from a great guest speaker, Bruce Mowday,” county GOP Senior Advisor Shannon Royer said.
Executive Director Thomas Donohue explained that the event is used by the RCCC as a way for elected officials throughout the county to engage and communicate with one another. It also serves as a networking opportunity between elected officials and candidates.
“It makes elected officials feel politically included in the county party,” Donohue said.
Royer gave the opening remarks. He stated that the national issues should not decide the local elections.
The RCCC helped provide the tools local candidates need to be successful in the November election.
“Our candidates picked up valuable information about running for office,” Royer said. “It was a big success and the feedback from them about this year's event was fantastic.”
Royer stated that there is a real need for local Republican officials to get together and share ideas about all the things they are doing in office. He sees the RCCC sponsored event providing this kind of unique opportunity for Republicans across the county, including supervisors, school board members, council members, mayors and many others who want to exchange ideas.
Royer provided information at the gathering about grassroots campaigns, where he stressed the importance of meeting voters daily this summer and fall.
He also stated that candidates running this year will be the face of the party locally.
“It can sometimes be a challenge in the suburbs to campaign as a Republican. This is a local election, not a national election. Campaign on the local issues that you can influence, the same issues that have the greatest impact in our communities,” Royer said.
Donohue then spoke about the Committee and what they can do for candidates running for local offices. He stated that this event helps unite Republican candidates and elected officials.
Other speakers at the event were Bill Christman and Bob Branstetter. Branstetter spoke on how to get the message of the candidates across to voters. He advised candidates to tell voters what they can do to make their respective communities better.
Christman was the final lecturer during the training portion of the evening. He discussed campaign finances and expense reporting requirements. His background in campaign finance and experiences as a former employee of Chester County Voter Services and township auditor gave a unique perspective to local candidates running for office, many of them for the first time.
Royer believes that Republican officials have worked hard for local families and taxpayers, and it's critical to Chester County's future that they continue to be leaders in their communities and school districts.
“Just look at our Republican led municipalities and school districts,” Royer said. “We have phenomenal public schools, great parks and recreational areas, sound fiscal management in our municipalities and low property taxes, just to name a few things.”
Royer stressed the importance of odd-numbered year elections that routinely see low voter turnout.
“It's important for our party to do whatever we can to help our Republican candidates win,” Royer said. “When they win, Chester County's families win.”
County and state GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio took the podium after the intermission. He stated how proud he is of Chester County and the Republican Committee. DiGiorgio said Chester County is a model Republican organization and is one of the state’s shining stars politically.
Bruce Mowday was the special guest for the evening. A longtime supporter of the RCCC, he discussed the history of the Chester County Republican Party. He spoke about his book, The Republican Committee of Chester County: 150 Years of Public Service.
Before its publication in 2005, the Committee asked Mowday to document the history of the Chester County GOP.
“It launched a great research project,” Mowday recalled.
Mowday stated that as a party, the RCCC has a great foundation and the torch needs to be passed on.
“Study the people, upon whose shoulders you stand,” Mowday said. “And remember those who come after [us] look to you to do the same.”
The history of the Republican Committee goes back to the beginning of the party in 1854. In the summer of 1855, Chester County became one of the first counties in America to become organized under the Republican banner.
Mowday explained that slavery was the primary issue at the time. He noted that the Republican Party kick-started the Abolitionist Movement, which drew in the Whigs and “Know Nothings.” This political opportunity allowed them to fly the flag of anti-slavery.
“The 1850s and leading up to the 60s was a turbulent part in our history,” Mowday said. “We were almost breaking up into two countries.”
He also stated that the deep divisions in the country at the time remind him of today’s political landscape with the partisan nature of the media.
“Think about what is happening today, we might be mirroring it,” Mowday said.
Mowday lectured on how partisan media influenced the debate in the 1800s. The Jeffersonian, a pro-Southern newspaper published weekly, promoted the Southern cause at the time while criticizing Republicans.
“Things have never changed,” Mowday commented. “The media has demonized the Republicans.”
Mowday stressed to candidates that as Republicans, “[they] need to know our heritage and what [the Republican Party] believes in and not allow the media to define who and what Republicans are.”