On March 1, 2016, I dropped my kids off at their mom’s house a bit before 7:00pm and I went to their elementary school. I wasn’t there to meet with any of their teachers. There weren’t any extracurricular activities going on. Instead I went to attend my local Republican precinct caucus. This was my first opportunity during this 2016 election year to cast any votes and do my part to have my voice heard. After showing my state issued identification and verifying my identity, I made sure I was in the right room. There were four different precincts meeting at the school this night. I sat and waited for the meeting to start.
After moving into this precinct area about a year ago, I did not recognize more than just a couple faces in the room. Many people did know each other as they were sitting among their neighbors. I planned on sitting back, watch the process and not be an active participant other than cast my vote for each item we were voting on. After a few people volunteered to be on the evening’s Teller Committee (the group that would count all of the votes cast during the evening), the initial order of business was to elect two precinct captains that would be in that position for the next two years. A person could either be nominated by another voter or you could nominate yourself. Three total people were nominated and we voted on two. One of the two people that we elected was a 22-year old that self-nominated himself as he wanted to be active in the process. He was, by far, the youngest voter in the cafeteria where we met. I, and I believe many others in the room, appreciated seeing a member of the younger generation be there and be involved.
After taking care of the vote for precinct captains, we moved forward in talking about races for local leaders. Our county has two seats for county commissioner up for election in November. Our area also will be voting on a candidate for the Colorado State Senate as our current elected leader is term limited. There were some attendees that spoke up in favor of different candidates in the different races. One gentleman got up and said that he may be out of line but that he was, “a pissed off Republican!”. He briefly spoke about being tired of politicians, including Republicans, saying they were going to do something and then not follow through. His frustration and anger was obvious… and motivating! When I went to this caucus meeting, I had every intention of casting my votes but otherwise intended to remain quiet. The frustration I have with where I see our country headed was overwhelming. We are not a unified nation. There are growing divisions in many different areas and covering a myriad of topics. We continue to sink into a deeper national debt that my children, grandchildren, and other future posterity will be dealing with. It’s disheartening. It’s scary. It’s not ok!
As it has been well publicized, Colorado Republicans did away with the presidential straw poll which had been taken in prior years. This was done so that Colorado’s delegates would not be bound to a specific presidential candidate when it is possible that a candidate may have dropped out of the race between the time of the caucus and the time of the national convention. In our precinct, we still discussed who we would like to see win the party’s nomination. Also, and I know that other precincts were much different, I did not hear the name “Donald Trump” once. The majority of those in our precinct would support Ted Cruz, followed by Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and John Kasich. At that point, Carson’s campaign hopes were on life support that the good doctor could not revive. Marco Rubio and John Kasich had support within our caucus meeting but most attendees felt that those two candidates did not have a strong shot of winning the nomination. Cruz had the most vocal support within the room.
After everyone who wanted a chance to speak was done, the precinct chair accepted nominations for delegates to go to our county assembly. The delegates (and alternates) would be able to go to the county assembly to vote for local leadership races. This process is key in where we live… within a Representative Republic. The eligible voters at each precinct caucus cast votes for people they wanted representing them at the county assembly. Our precinct elected 4 delegates and 5 alternates to go to the county assembly.
Again, I did not recognize more than just a couple people in our meeting where there were 36 eligible voters in attendance. Remember too that I was planning on being quiet throughout the meeting. After hearing from the “pissed off Republican” however, I nominated myself for the position of a delegate to go to the county assembly. I did not say much in that meeting but what I said came from the heart. I have six children. I am scared for their futures. I do not like the direction our country is headed. And… I want to have a voice! After the votes were cast & subsequently counted, I was quite surprised to hear that I finished tied with the 2nd most amount of votes. Wouldn’t you know that I received the same number of votes as the angry Republican in our precinct. Who finished first? That would be the our new precinct captain, the involved 22-year old.
A 22-year old without any political experience, an angry old Republican and an average guy were voted to represent our precinct. This is grassroots. Local people getting involved. People recognizing the opportunity and responsibility of electing others to represent them, their beliefs, and their ideals. This definitely was not the old establishment running the show. This was a group of local people voting for change from where we have been headed. I was at that meeting on March 1 to watch and hopefully help educate myself. I did not go into that meeting with any aspirations of being voted as a delegate. I am just an average guy that is doing what I can to make things better for my children and for future generations. It is not fair for them to clean up our messes. We were once promised “hope and change”. I do not like the changes that we have seen. We need to make better choices and fight to reclaim our great Republic. If we all pitch in and do whatever we can, a great transformation can and will take place.
In a future post I will share my experience at the county assembly.