The Organizational Structure of the Republican Party
“Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.” -- ABRAHAM LINCOLN
As much as any President in our great nation’s history, President Lincoln understood the power of the individual within a free country. Today, as we Republicans look to recharge and, in part, rebuild our party, we must heed Lincoln’s words. Local control is a key ingredient of the GOP platform, and as such the rejuvenation of the Republican Party must begin on the local level, spreading statewide, before once again taking hold nationally.
To achieve this, individuals need a mechanism to come together and to work together. We need a structure. Be assured, a viable and growing structure for Republicans exists right here in Los Angeles.
Breaking the party down from national to local levels, we focus on four organizations:
- REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (aka RNC; WWW.RNC.ORG) This is the national arm of the GOP, charged with developing and adopting the party platform, overseeing the national convention and fundraising, among other duties.
- CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY (AKA CRP; WWW.CAGOP.ORG) The CRP is one of 50 subsidiaries of the RNC. The CRP is charged with many of the same duties as the RNC, but on a state-wide level.
- REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY (aka RPLAC; WWW.LAGOP.ORG) Each state is divided into counties, and each county has its own local County Republican Party. California has 58 counties, the largest of which (both by square mileage and population) is Los Angeles County. As stated on its website, RPLAC’s main objectives are to: “increase voter registration, identify and support appealing candidates for office [and] to increase voter turnout at the polls” for Republicans within Los Angeles County.
- THE 47th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT CENTRAL COMMITTEE (aka 47th AD; 47THDISTRICT.COM) Within L.A. County there are 26 Assembly Districts, each with a Republican Central Committee assigned to the district. These are comprised of 10 members, each serving two-year terms. Republicans in each District elect seven of these members. The other three are called “ex-officio” members, Republicans who the Party’s nomination for State Assembly, State Senator, and U.S. Congressional Representative for the corresponding district. I am proudly serving my first term on the 47th A.D. Central Committee, acting as Vice-Chair under our Chairman Jeffers Dodge.
Like the national government, the California State government is basically divided into three branches of government: the executive branch, headed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; the legislative branch, which includes the State Assembly, with 80 members representing 80 districts, and the State Senate, comprised of 40 Senators representing 40 Senate Districts; and lastly the judicial branch, overseen by the State Supreme Court. For example, Jeffers Dodge lives in the state of California, the city of Culver City, putting him in the 26th Senatorial District and the 47th Assembly District in the County of Los Angeles. In regards to national elections, he also lives in the 33rd Congressional District.
Putting all of that together, California is divided into 58 Counties, 40 State Senatorial Districts, 80 Assembly Districts and 52 Congressional Districts (with our two national Senators both elected state-wide). Each district is an area that represents a certain number of citizens.
Without question Los Angeles County is not an easy place to be a Republican, much less to win public office, when looking purely at voter registration statistics. Yet, many in our city – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – reject increasing our already high taxes. Many oppose outrageous and unnecessary government spending. Many parents are tired of failing public schools bogged down by mandates from Sacramento. Many stand strong for law and order. Many stand for individual liberties, bolstered by personal responsibility. All these are key tenets of our party’s platform.
As part of the current state budget crisis, Democratic leaders of the State Assembly and State Senate (charged with creating state laws and spending bills) were looking for ways to increase revenue. Most of us know this is code for increasing taxes. However, California’s by-laws state that all tax increases must be passed by a two-thirds vote, the same number of votes needed to pass a state budget. Currently, Republicans hold more than a third of those votes, but not by much. It is Republican State Assembly members’ and Senators’ goals to cut wasteful state spending and ease unnecessary restrictions that have driven businesses out of California. It is vital that we do not lose these seats, and rather increase our statewide numbers. This is where the work of the Local Central Committees becomes pivotal.
Many of you out there may have never heard of Central Committees. You may have never met a member of your district’s Committee. That must change, and we in the 47th C.C. pledge to make that change. We cannot increase voter turnout without increasing voter contact. We cannot support candidates before supporting constituents. It is our goal to be more active throughout our community, providing Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, like-minded Democrats, and all who believe in our principles and values with the foundation and structure to get things done.
2008 was a difficult year for the Republican Party – nationally and locally. The time to complain and cower is over. The time to work has come. The structure is in place, and now all we need is each other.
Jon Eskenas Vice Chair 47th AD Central Committee