The Republican Party of Texas elected a new chairman over the weekend after their former chairman, Tom Mechler, stepped down just a few weeks ago. It wasn’t exactly what you’d call a quiet exit.
Mechler ultimately cited personal reasons for his resignation, but also issued a warning to his party, saying that it needed to work harder to come together and represent more of the diversity of Texas if it wants to remain in power.
The newly elected chair for the Republican Party of Texas, James Dickey, was most recently chair of the Travis County Republican Party in Austin. He agrees with Mechler that the Texas GOP needs to reach beyond its traditional base of support.
“It is important for the Republican Party of Texas to make serious relationships, and have serious growth within all communities in Texas,” Dickey says. “The fact is that within Travis County, while we don’t have a lot in terms of gross numbers – we don’t have a lot of Republican elected officials yet – in last year’s general election, a majority of the Republican Party of Travis County’s candidates were in fact minority candidates.”
Dickey says Republicans need to reach out not only to minorities, but to millennials and others he says the press have said will be hurt by GOP policies. He says the way to counter such criticism is to argue that conservative policies are best for all Texans.
“People are moving to Texas because conservative policies, as championed by conservative Republican legislators and elected officials, have made Texas a great environment,” Dickey says.
Even among Republicans, President Donald Trump generates strong feelings, and has received guarded support. Dickey, who says he was “concerned” about Trump before he received the Republican presidential nomination, but supported him thereafter, says he is pleased by many actions Trump has taken since assuming office.
“I am concerned about how much he and Congress have not been able to accomplish,” Dickey says. “And I hope that they do a significantly better job over the next few months to make 2018 more productive.”
As to Republicans seeking office in 2018, Dickey says they need to “search their own hearts” when it comes to embracing the president.
“If they are wise politically, they’re going to need to find a way to defend the many excellent things [Trump] has done, and to stand up for those,” Dickey says. “In life we take the good with the bad.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.