It was a Friday night in Oklahoma. While most of us were at the high school football games or at the fair, the Federation of Young Republicans (18-40 years old) held their state convention to elect new leadership for a 2 year term. The goal of this institution is to reach out to the next generation's voters with a Republican message and solutions to address the concerns of young citizens about the direction of our nation.
Sadly, the several dozen who registered for this meeting were unsure what direction their organization would go.
I contacted several attendees in both factions to get a sense of what the conflict was all about. It seems the credentials committee could not get their report adopted by those who were registered and wearing official delegate badges. We were told that while waiting for the credentials report the Rules committee sought adoption of an agenda and special convention rules for conduction the business of the convention. But further research indicates that the permanent bylaws of the Oklahoma YRs are quire clear on how delegate votes and delegations are seated. Two years ago there was an accommodation written into the permanent rules to seat a limited portion of 'at-large' delegates, but their total voting power is limited to 5 delegate votes which could be either divisible by the number of at-large convention participates, or assigned to up to 5 specified individuals. These are Young Republicans who are not a part of a chartered county group. (they may be folks who didn't attend a county convention, or no such convention was held for their county)
But others say that each county which is unorganized should have a 5-vote delegation. And organized clubs are granted an extra 15 delegate votes. We posted the bylaw, below..
[Updates are in Read print]
Without a commitment of the majority to abide by the disputed rules, the convention organizers said they decided to stop the event and plan for another convention once this dispute gets worked out. But the larger group of registered participants said that the organizers realized they were outnumbered and they were hoping to try again another day when they had better recruiting among their faction. One prominent Eastern Oklahoma Republican was Jarrin Jackson, a former Army officer who ran for the 2nd Congressional seat. He said that several of the allies of the organizers were recent party switchers who were previously Democrats. He says they were focused on pushing the adoption of a homosexual policy statement, among other things.
So the perceived majority simply went outside and declared the convention still convened. They declared all registered attendees wearing 'Delegate' badges to be 'seated' as delegates. Former Canadian County Chairman, Andrew Lopez was elected convention chair. They rejected the proposed convention rules and passed a motion to be ruled by Roberts Rules of Order. They entertained a motion to nominate candidates for party offices by slate, then nominated just one slate. that slate was unanimously elected by voice vote. Lopez then gave a speech about civic duties of a Christian. A closing hymn and prayer was the rest of the convention agenda. Afterward, the delegates turned in their badges to the group's designated secretary for a registration of the total votes in the quorum.
Over the past 10 years we have seen so much of this dynamic where either a 'liberty faction' or a social conservative group turns out in large enough numbers to elect a slate of allies to all the offices of the Young Republicans (YRs). But they rarely retain or grow the group, and eventually a more moderate group resumes control.
Attendance and delegation to the State Convention shall be as follow:
a. Chartered chapters shall have the right to determine the delegates and type of delegation sent to OFYR conventions.
b. Delegates to a State Convention must meet the membership requirements of OFYR.
c. Chartered chapters may determine convention delegates by way of an Open Delegation or a Delegate-Alternate Delegation.
d. An Open Delegation is one which allows all qualified delegates that meet the membership requirements established by that club to vote at OFYR conventions. The list of those persons selected as part of an Open Delegation must be submitted to the OFYR Secretary at least seven (7) days prior to the respective convention.
e. A Delegate-Alternate delegation is one in which the number of delegates matches the allocated votes of the chartered club at OFYR conventions. The list of those persons elected as a delegate or alternate must be submitted to the OFYR Secretary at least seven (7) days prior to the respective convention.
f. Young Republicans that meet the requirements of the OFYR as AtLarge members shall be affirmed as At-Large delegates by the OFYR Executive Board at least seven (7) Days before any OFYR Convention.
g. A list of authorized delegates shall be made available to any delegate running for an OFYR Executive Office that requests said information within five (5) days before any OFYR convention from which a list is manufactured. The list of authorized delegates shall be used for convention business only. 9
h. In the event that there is conflict between a potential delegate that meets membership within the OFYR and their respective club, the Credentials Committee of the respective OFYR Convention shall have the authority to convene and decide the question by a super majority vote.
The allocation of votes at the State Convention shall be:
a. At-Large and Chartered counties shall be allotted five (5) base votes
b. Chartered Clubs shall additionally be allotted fifteen (15) votes.
c. Delegates may cast whole votes or fractional votes determined by club delegation. No single delegate may cast more than two (2) votes.
Jarrin Jackson provided this footage.
Imagine what could be accomplished if these factions actually worked together on what they can agree on and how many more YRs there would be to help our nominees get elected and make positive changes for Oklahoma's next generation.
The best leadership of the YRs will be the visionaries who realize that this circus has to stop. All factions and cliques need to value integration of all that makes the conservative message appealing to young voters.