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Republicans hold first meeting of the year, three absent

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    The Bandera County Republican Party met in Tarpley last Thursday. Their next meting will be in Lakehills on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at the local library. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer

The Bandera County Republican Party met in Tarpley last Thursday without its chair, treasurer and one precinct chair. Several items were tabled due to absences of members who had more information to provide on those issues.

Vice-Chair Deanna Skoglund conducted the meeting at the Anton Haner Community Center in Party Chair’s Butch Streigl’s absence. Treasurer Rene Leith was also not present. Both Striegl and Leith turned themselves in to the Bandera County Jail last Friday morning following indictments for fraudulent securing of document execution.

All precinct chairs were present except for Cammie Morgan. Skoglund reminded members that they needed to keep their Republican Party agendas, minutes, and handouts in a notebook in order to be able to access them easily.

Brandi Conover and Elisa Greene were asked about their progress on the “What Does the GOP Do?” project. Conover also gave a report on the revamping of the party’s Facebook and website.

Skoglund remarked the expected call from Texas Senator John Cornyn would not be taking place that night. The party officially censured Cornyn last year for his involvement in a bipartisan gun safety bill and demanded his resignation.

John Mata and Dave Allen were called to report on the Bandera delegation’s trip to Austin on the first day of the legislative session.

Mata reported they expected to visit with Representative Andrew Murr and Representative Tony Tinderholt but could only speak with Murr’s chief of staff. Skoglund remarked even though the trip to Austin was disappointing, it helped build contacts outside of Bandera.

Discussion concerning the election of Dade Phelan of Beaumont as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives occurred.

The group discussed the governmental surplus and how much of that could be used for property tax relief.

Mata remarked the Capitol was full of citizens wanting to talk to their representatives. Skoglund reminded members present that calls, emails and personal visits were effective in establishing a relationship with Bandera’s state legislators.

Skoglund also encouraged the members to show up at city council meetings, school board meetings and county commissioner meetings to find out what is going on and be involved. She recommended even if only two members showed up at the meetings, the GOP would have an impact.

Discussion then switched to the rising tax rates and how the taxing entities and the Appraisal Office fit into that picture. County Auditor Darryl Sadler spoke about the proposed school bond and school taxes. Vice Chair Dede Skoglund called for feedback about what the membership would like to see the GOP leadership pursue. Dennis Fitzgerald made an impassioned plea for the group to be more open to all Republican candidates running for office. He said he would like to see more courtesy and cohesion within the party ranks. He warned against creating “cliques” that would promote a select few of the membership for candidacies. He remarked he felt insulted at the candidate forum and felt the behavior of others was intentionally hurtful.

Another member suggested there needed to be better coverage of the candidates.

The next meeting of the Bandera County Republican Party will be on Thursday, February 9, at the Lakehills Public Library at 7 p.m.