Jackson County GOP Convention on Friday March 16 at the Jackson County Senior Center. Registered Jackson County voters, seated by precincts, first elected delegates to the District and State Conventions before hearing addresses from Wayne King, Vice Chair of the N.C. State GOP, who also introduced the keynote speaker, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson.
Wilson, a retired U.S. Air Force Officer and presently the Chairman of the Congressional Armed Services Committee, received a standing ovation after his speech where he reviewed the accomplishments of the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the address he also warned about claims that the size of government workers is being reduced by over 100,000. “That sounds good doesn’t it” commented the Congressman, “until you learn that most of the reductions are in the military.” The Army is being reduced by 80,000 and the Navy, Marines and Air Force by another 30,000 or more.
During the business portion of the convention Jim Mueller, Jackson County GOP Vice Chair, reviewed all of the GOP’s fund raising initiatives already in place. These efforts include a direct funds campaign and a fundraising event scheduled for early summer. Communications Chair, Carol Adams, presented the step by step publicity plan underway that will support not only candidates but the conservative issues that are central during this election campaign. Carol Odom, Precinct Coordinator, reported precinct delegate statistics prior to the delegate acceptance vote by the credentialed attendees.
Primary candidates, unopposed Republicans and independent candidates or their spokesperson delivered brief messages to the group. These speakers included U.S. House of Representative candidates Spence Campbell, Mark Meadows, Vance Patterson, Kenny West, Ethan Wingfield and representatives for Jeff Hunt and Chris Petrella. Primary unopposed candidates speaking included Mike Clampitt running for the N.C. Sate House District 119. Marty Jones, candidate for the Jackson County Commission District 4 seat and Cliff Greg petitioning to be a County Commission candidate. State wide candidates speaking included Debra Goldman, for N.C. Auditor and Ken Gardner, for N.C. Secretary of State. Representatives spoke for Dan Forrest running for Lt. Governor and for Pat McCrory a primary candidate for N.C. Governor. The key candidate speaker was Senator Jim Davis, to be re-elected in 2012, who updated the group on the legislature’s current work.
Prior to the Convention opening attendees were entertained with original tunes and lyrics from the GOP Red Dog Band whose members are Winslow Jones, Bill Coward and Jay Coward. Molly McKim, soloist, opened the Convention with the Star Spangled Banner. She sang America the Beautiful at the mid Convention point and God Bless America to adjourn the event.
Jackson County GOP Chair Ralph Slaughter who presided over the Convention not only recognized the speakers, participants and committee but specifically complimented the Jackson County Senior Center officials, staff and catering department. “We are so fortunate to have an outstanding facility like this in Jackson County,” he said. He continued remarking that all citizens, groups and organizations are warmly welcomed and treated efficiently at the center which is to the credit of all those involved.
In closing, Chairman Slaughter reminded everyone that the Republican Headquarters Offices are now open most days from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Locations are in Sylva at 58 D Sunrise Park Dr. a retail complex opposite the intersection of Highway 107 and the Asheville Highway and in South Jackson County in the Laurel Terrace Office Park on 64 East in Cashiers.
“During the Primary Election period and then in the General Election cycle both of our Headquarter Offices will provide any materials voters wish to have for all of the Republican candidates”, reported Slaughter. “We intend to make attending meetings and volunteering during this extremely important 2012 election cycle convenient and simple for voters who wish to participate. Republicans, unaffiliated voters and any others who wish to help elect conservative government candidates to local, state and national office are welcome to pick-up election materials, attend GOP meetings and even register to vote at either Headquarters location,” Slaughter continued.