DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — While many political junkies already have their eyes on the upcoming presidential election in November, there’s still a lot of work to be done, including a major stop in Dallas and San Antonio.
These are the locations of the two Texas conventions for Republicans and Democrats.
The Republicans are first with their state convention May 12-14 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.
Donna Holland Wilcox, the Burnet County Republican chair, is one of 29 Burnet County voting delegates participating in the convention. As a voting delegate, they will be able to have a say in the state party’s platform.
“The main business of the state convention is to adopt the state platform,” Wilcox said. “This year, we’ll also be electing the state chair and vice chair.”
The state platform is the basic tenet of what the Texas Republican Party and sets in motion the things the party wants to work toward. This year, Texas GOP delegates will be tackling the platform in a “plank by plank” style.
During the convention, members will also select Texas delegates for the GOP national convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.
One of the individuals vying for a spot at at the national convention is Mary Jane Britton Avery of Burnet County.
Wilcox explained that the convention is only a part of the entire process, which really starts at the voting precinct, county and senatorial district levels. That’s where people select candidates for the general election as well as pick county GOP officials such as precinct and county chairs. It’s also where Republicans begin discussing issues and topics about which they feel strongly and believe could be part of the state platform.
Everything builds up from there.
“It’s really a grassroots effort,” Wilcox said.
This is her third state convention, but she noted there are some who haven’t missed the biannual convention in years — even decades.
The number of delegates a county can take to the state convention is determined by the voter turnout during the last gubernatorial election. For Burnet County, the turnout bumped up the number of delegates for the state convention.
Wilcox said a lot of that has to do with the work local party officials put in to increase participation in the voting process. Everything, she said, starts with getting individuals involved.
That works its way up through county, state and eventually national conventions.
The convention features a tremendous amount of work for the delegates, Wilcox said, but they also participate in other activities, including meetings with state elected officials, training sessions and networking.
Along with the party work, attendees can participate in a number of other things such as the Freedom Faith and Family Rally featuring guest speakers as well as Christian comedian Bob Smiley. Other breakout sessions include learning how to become a stronger grassroots leader and a gala banquet.
While it hasn’t been confirmed, Wilcox said there’s the possibility the GOP’s presumptive nominee for the presidential race might make an appearance.
“It’s just an exciting time right now for the (Republican) party. Not all Republicans agree on everything, and that’s one of the things we work out and discuss at these conventions,” she said. “One thing I do ask people is to continue praying for our country and our leaders.”
While delegates are the only people who can vote in the proceedings, Wilcox said the convention is open to others who want to see the process in action and learn about the Republican Party.
Go to texasgop.org for more information on the Texas Republican convention.
The Texas Democratic Convention is June 16-18 at The Alamodome in San Antonio. DailyTrib.com will look at the Democratic convention as those dates approach.