Amanda Adkins addressing 3rd District Republicans

Amanda Adkins, new Republican State Chair

Kansas Republicans met in Topeka on Friday and Saturday as part of the yearly celebration of the birthday of Kansas, which turned 148 on Thursday.

The highlight of the weekend is the State Central Committee meeting, when new officers are elected.  Before that meeting, several receptions and district meetings serve as a platform for elected officials to connect to the grass roots, and for possible candidates to make their names better known.

I thought the Central Committee meeting might be fairly short, because there was only a single announced candidate for each of the state positions for chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary.  But because of the large number of candidates already declared for office in 2010, meetings ran long as politicians talked.

New Republican Party Officers, including Chair Amanda Adkins, at right

New Republican Party Officers, including Chair Amanda Adkins, at right

The new Republican Central Committee officers, each elected by acclamation,  included Secretary Susan Concannon (Beloit), Treasurer Steve Fitzgerald (Leavenworth), Vice-Chair Ron Estes (Wichita), and Chair Amanda Adkins (Overland Park).

Earlier, Kris Kobach, Chair, and the other outgoing Kansas Republican officers presided over the meeting.

Outgoing Republican Officers, including Kris Kobach, Chair, at right

Outgoing Republican Officers, including Kris Kobach, Chair, at right

Officers in the picture above (from left to right) are Secretary Bev Caley (Green), Treasurer David Thorne (Wichita), Vice-Chair Sharon Meissner (Topeka), and Chairman Kris Kobach (Kansas City, KS).

Republican National Committeeman Mike Pompeo gave his impressions of the meeting in DC earlier in the week when new RNC Chair Michael Steele was elected.

RNC National Committeeman for Kansas, Mike Pompeo, Wichita

RNC National Committeeman for Kansas, Mike Pompeo, Wichita

Since RNC National Committeewoman Helen Van Etten, Topeka, was still in Washington attending the RNC Convention, she filed her near-real-time report via a video presentation:

David Thorne watches as Helen Van Etten gives near real-time report from Washington

David Thorne watches as Helen Van Etten gives near real-time report from Washington

A number of other elected Republicans addressed the group. One was newly-elected Republican Congresswoman from the Second District, Lynn Jenkins, who recently authored a letter to the Kansas City Star: A stimulus that does not stimulate.

U.S. Congresswoman, Lynn Jenkins, Topeka

U.S. Congresswoman, Lynn Jenkins, Topeka

Other addressing the State Republican meeting included:

  • U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
  • U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, KS-1
  • KS Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh
  • U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt, KS-4

The State Committee has not quite learned that editing proposed changes and resolutions from the floor with more than 100 delegates can be a time consuming process.

Proposed changes to Party Constitution and By-Laws. After some discussion, two of the constitution changes were approved, and all of the bylaw changes were deferred to the State Committee meeting this summer.

Resolution. Jeff Locke (Arma) submitted a proposed resolution about the Federal Freedom of Choice Act to the Resolution Committee, which was approved unanimously for consideration by the State Committee.  Again, some state delegates attempted to amend the proposed resolution from the floor — to make it stronger — but a motion failed to suspend the rules to allow such changes.   The original resolution was approved by voice vote without any  opposition. Here is the text of that resolution:

Be it herewith affirmed that the State Committee of the Kansas Republican Party stands in stalwart opposition to the misnamed Federal Freedom of Choice Act.  This proposed piece of legislation would undo and abolish every state law in existence regarding the funding, limitation, and regulation of abortion providers.  The right to life and the elimination of funding of tax-payer dollars to abortion providers should be respectfully maintained in the equilibrium determined by the states own legislatures.  The Freedom of Choice Act is an assault on state’s rights in the worst sense imaginable.  With a platform steeped in the principles of limited government and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all American citizens, it is herewith asserted that the State Committee of the Kansas Republican Party will stand in fierce opposition to the misnamed and overreaching act of federalism described in the Freedom of Choice Act.

Thank you, Kris Kobach.

In a proclamation ready by RNC National Committeeman Mike Pompel, Kris Kobach was thanked for his excellent service.

Banquet

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss was scheduled to be the Kansas Day Speaker.


Third District Meeting (Saturday Morning)

All four congressional districts held separate district meetings. Comments here are limited to only the 3rd District meeting (since I am a 3rd District delegate).

The Third District meeting consisted of passing the hat to raise funds, and listening to a number of statewide office holders and candidates, including the 3rd District’s “favorite daughter” candidate for State Party Chair, Amanda Adkins.

Amanda Adkins addressing 3rd District Republicans

Amanda Adkins addressing 3rd District Republicans

Others appearing at the 3rd District meeting:

  • U.S. Senator Pat Roberts
  • U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
  • U.S. 3rd District Congressional Candidate for 2010, Daniel Gilyeat, Kansas City, KS who is best know for receiving an “Extreme Makeover” from ABC last year
  • U.S. 3rd District Congressional Candidate for 2010, Macie Houston, Shawnee, best known for having worked for Senator Brownback several years ago.
  • RNC National Committeeman, Mike Pompeo, Wichita, reported on the election of the new RNC Chair, Michael Steele.
  • U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, KS-1, (running for U.S. Senate in 2010)
  • Outgoing KS GOP Chair, Kris Kobach, who is a 2010 candidate for Kansas Secretary of State
  • KS Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, who is a 2010 candidate for Governor. [Oddly, everyone except Secretary Thornburgh received a standing ovation on entry and exit.]
  • U.S Congressman Todd Tiahrt, who had just formally announced his 2010 candidacy for U.S. Senate at the 4th District meeting

Statewide candidate J.R. Claeys for Kansas Secretary of State never appeared, or possibly was not recognized since he is almost an unknown even among those who are native to Salina.


Brownback Reception (Late Friday Afternoon)

Sam Brownback and wife, Mary, greet supporters

Sam Brownback and wife, Mary, greet supporters

Brownback told supporters about his gubernatorial plans for 2010 and how that would help Kansas.


Kansas Republican Assembly Banquet (Friday Evening)

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback talked about difficulties in Washington during the first two weeks of the Obama administration.

Senator Brownback discuss first two weeks of Obama adminstration

Senator Brownback discusses first two weeks of Obama adminstration

Other speakers:

  • U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt (candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010). “Good news in Washington this past week: .. Al Gore’s global warming hearing was canceled because of an ice storm.”
  • State Senator Tim Huelskamp (candidate for U.S. KS-1, 2010). Talked about Republican principles and Ronald Reagan, and welcomed former State Senator Mark Gilstrap to the Republican Party.
  • U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran (candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010). “There is no one in this room that has urged me to run for other office more than Senator Huelskamp.”
    “It’s critical now for Republicans to stand for what we say we believe in.”
    “We are mortgaging our kids’ future with the failed policies of today.”

KRA Awards

First Pinhead Award: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Volunteer of the Year Award: Celia Beymer, Lakin

Celia Beymer, Lakin

Celia Beymer, Lakin

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award: Phillis Setchell, Topeka

"Above and Beyond Call of Duty" winner, Phillis Setchell

"Above and Beyond Call of Duty" winner, Phillis Setchell

Stan Clark Principled Perseverance Award: State Rep. Joe Patton, Topeka

David Kensinger congratulates State Rep Joe Patton

David Kensinger congratulates State Rep Joe Patton

Courageous Conservative Award: Kansas Senator Jeff Colyer, Johnson County

Jeff Colyer

State Senator Jeff Colyer: Courageous Conservative

Ronald Reagan Outstanding Leadership Award: Kansas Senator Mary Pilcher Cook, Johnson County

Bob Hodgdon presents award to Mary Pilcher Cook

Bob Hodgdon presents award to State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook

Keynote Speaker: Jason Lewis, talk show personality at KTLK in Minneapolis

Keynote Speaker Jason Lewis

Keynote Speaker Jason Lewis

Jason joked that KRA Executive Director Charlotte Esau called and asked if he believed in free speech. “Sure I do,” was Jason’s response. Charlotte allegedly then said: “How about giving one.”


Kansans for Life Prayer Breakfast (Saturday Morning)

David Gittrich from KFL gave opening remarks, and was followed by Rev. Cecil Washington, who gave the opening prayer. Next, Rev. Washington sang “The Cry of the Unborn,” composed by his wife and him.

Rev. Cecil Washington sings "The Cry of the Unborn"

Rev. Cecil Washington sings "The Cry of the Unborn"

Kathy Ostrowski from KFL introduced a number of lawmakers that were in attendance.

Elizabeth Schmeidler from Hays sang her “My Voice” while the video was shown.

Elizabeth Schmeidler sang "My Voice"

Elizabeth Schmeidler sang "My Voice"

Watch and listen to “My Voice” on YouTube.

The keynote speaker was Fr. Shawn Tunink from Topeka.

Fr. Shawn Tunink

Fr. Shawn Tunink

Several Kansas prolife congressional leaders addressed the crowd of perhaps 350. Those embracing the Culture of Life included:

  • U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
  • U.S. Senator Pat Roberts
  • U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt, KS-4
  • U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, KS-1

Congressman Tiahrt’s wife, Vicki, was introduced as the “Sarah Palin of Kansas,” and the audience applauded.

Vicki Tiahrt, and husband, Congressman Todd Tiahrt

Vicki Tiahrt, and husband, Congressman Todd Tiahrt


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