A hardy group of 16 Republicans ignored the nasty weather to meet in the Arts Center to evaluate the November elections and to nominate new officers on Tuesday evening, February 7.
Don Booher offered a heartfelt invocation which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. In his introductory remarks, County Republican Chair Dan Wampler explained this was to be an organizational meeting which is held every other year to set the tone for the upcoming elections in the following cycle. The new officers to be elected hold the office for the next two years.
Wampler explained that with the retirement and subsequent move to Louisiana of Paula Davis, there is a need to fill the post of treasurer/secretary. Dan Murphy has announced that he was stepping down as Vice Chair, so a vacancy in that post was also created.
With no further ado or explanations, Wampler requested nominations for County Chair of the Hinsdale County Republican Party. Susan Thompson nominated Dan Wampler and this nomination was seconded by Sally Moore. Unopposed, Wampler was unanimously voted to maintain his current post in county party leadership.
Audience members were asked for nominations for county vice-chair and Sally Moore immediately nominated Chillin’ Café proprietor and Town Trustee Jeff Heaton. This nomination was seconded by County Commissioner Susan Thompson. Paul Hudgeons was also nominated for the position but respectfully declined the honor saying, “I have put in my time for many years in the past.”
Heaton’s nomination then passed with a unanimous vote.
Susan Thompson nominated Wee Care Director Sharon Rogers as Secretary/Treasurer and this was seconded by Hinsdale County Commissioner Cindy Dozier. No additional names were tendered and Rogers also received a unanimous vote.
Hinsdale County Commissioner Susan Thompson was invited to give an update of county activities to the assemblage. First, she introduced new Hinsdale County Administrator Deanna Cooper who has just arrived in town to step into her post. Thompson
heartily thanked the group for her recent re-election.
She offered the audience an overview of some recent county projects and accomplishments, including her efforts to improve fiber optic technology with CenturyLink, Hill 71 communication improvements, and the courthouse renovation. In answer to an audience question, Thompson replied that the courthouse project was over-budget but that the county was still in the process of acquiring grants to offset the deficit. “With these new grants coming in, hopefully we won’t have to dip into county funds.”
Commissioner Dozier noted that Luke de la Parra was hired last week to replace Joan Nelson as Hinsdale County Tax Assessor and would be joining newly hired deputy tax assessor Sherri Boyce in coming weeks.
Hinsdale County Administrator Deanna Cooper was invited to speak. She stood and said it was wonderful to be back in Lake City. After giving a sketch of her local roots and job history, she added, “I am tickled to be here and am looking forward to the challenges. There is plenty to do, and I am ready to get started.” She noted that her husband, Mike Cooper, would be joining her as soon as their home in Missouri sold.
Dan Wampler offered “big thanks” to the Republicans for coming out overwhelmingly in the November election. He said, ”There were some races I wasn’t sure of, but even in our local election, everyone really turned out!” He reported optimistically that, overall, the Colorado Republican Party is growing.
Wampler gave a summary of the upcoming state organizational meeting slated for April 1, 2017 in Englewood, Colorado. He noted that Steve House, State Republican Chair, is stepping down as is also Derek Wilburn, the vice chair. At this time Wampler stated there were only two declared candidates for the state chair position. He read a moving letter from Jeff Hayes, an El Paso County candidate who encouraged party members to rally around a vision for 2020 to raise funds, grow the party and win elections.
Wampler plans to attend the April 1 meeting representing Hinsdale County and noted that Kelly Ann Conway was the scheduled key note speaker.
Newly elected vice chair Jeff Heaton announced plans to hold a summertime republican fundraiser at Chillin’ Coffee Shop. He promised to donate all profits of the Friday night musical event to the County Republican coffers, much as he does for the annual Brittle Bone disease fundraisers he has been involved with for the past few years.
“Shari and I have been staunch, conservative Republicans our whole lives and we are glad to be at a place where we can do this.”
Wampler thanked Heaton for the generous gesture and noted, “Lack of funds from our small county has prevented membership from offering help to candidates, such as J. Paul Brown who needed a boost” in rural areas, as well as keeping the county party from defraying costs to delegates who go to republican events on behalf of Hinsdale County. Additionally, he stated that such a financial boost would be helpful in the multiple upcoming 2018 races.