Kirby Wilbur’s Winning Speech

by lewwaters

As we know, Kirby Wilbur replaced Luke Esser as chair of the Washington State Republican Party this weekend. While Esser did accomplish some equitable changes for the WSRP, the voters just never got behind Republican candidates as they should have, given their log time support of conservative issues on the ballots. Focusing on this, former radio talk show host Kirby Wilbur won the chair, giving hope to Washingtonians that now maybe people will feel included and not shut out by the Bellevue Mafia that has held a stranglehold on the party for so long.

I hope Kirby watches his back.

With that, thanks to Washington State Wire, here is Kirby Wilbur’s full speech given Saturday in Tukwila:

“Thank you all for coming out this evening. Thank you all for being involved in our political party. I want to share with you for a few moments my vision of what our party can be. You have heard the word CEO a lot as a term. I prefer to use the term leader. There are many CEOs in the world who make sure that things get done and checks get signed and tasks get done and supervise people. We need not just a CEO. We need a leader.

“I’ve been a CEO. I ran my own private appraisal program for 10 years, paid the taxes on time. I had six or seven employees at any one time. I got the job done, kept our clients happy, and then when radio called I changed careers.

“The question is not are we better off? The question is are we as good as we could be?

“1994 was a wave election. For those of you who have been involved, 1992 was a disastrous year. It was the year of the woman, the year that Patty Murray was elected. We took bad, bad hits in 1992. 1994 was a national wave election in this state. We picked up five congressional seats, or possibly six, I lost count. We took the House and the Senate back from lows. We won 20 or more legislative seats. We went with the national flow.

“2010 was a national wave election. Republicans elected 63 new congressmen. We elected four new state senators and six representatives and we won one open congressional seat.

Should Have Done Better

“We have not defeated an incumbent Democrat in Congress in 16 years, and we made gains in the House and Senate, but I don’t think they were good gains for a year of political tide. In this state we had to assist us on the ballot a proposal for an income tax which was defeated two to one. We had an attempt to impose a tax on bottled water and candy that was defeated by more than 20 points. We had an attempt to impose a two-thirds requirement to pass taxes in the Legislature that was passed by more than 20 points. And with all those issues I just don’t think we did well enough.

“Thirty of 39 counties in the state had more than a double-digit difference between the people who voted for these conservative issues and who voted for Republican candidates, who voted for Dino Rossi. We can do better. That’s the issue to me. It’s about the future of this party. We are divided into factions. Some factions are content with okay progress in a great year when it should’ve been more. Many think we can be the majority party, and many of you sit here wondering where we go and how we choose.

“A question about fundraising and a comment. Much has been made of the last four years, you all know this, the party acts as a conduit for money raised by HROC [House Republican Organizing Committee] and SROC [Senate Republican Organizing Committee] and the RNC [Republican National Committee]. And Luke did his fair share of fundraising, I will give him credit. But to take credit for all – folks, a lot of that money was raised by other people and sent to us. A lot of money is raised by direct mail and phone banks, and if I or Bill Rennie or Curt Fackler was chairman, a lot of that money would have been raised as well.

“Some people are satisfied with these results. Some are not. Some are satisfied with a party that seems nervous toward newcomers, seems hesitant to change, that seems to focus on the top of the ballot races on election day. There are those of us who think that we should welcome people who share our vision of a thriving economy, smaller government and fiscal responsibility. We are open to new ideas and we want to work through our differences and become the majority party in this state.

“Those who have their doubts seem to have been in charge of this party for a long time. And coincidentally the Democrats have been in charge of state government for a long time. It’s been 30 years since we had a Republican governor.

Open to Newcomers

“My vision for our party is a very simple one. A party committed to making 39 county organizations become stronger and more effective. Because without you, the state party is nothing.

“We need to begin healing the divisions within this party and become a party welcoming to new people who share our principles enough that they wish to become involved in it. A party that has a clear enough message that people know who we are, what we stand for, and we clearly communicate that message to them. A party no longer seen as a club for some. A party committed to change. A party that wins.

“That’s not what we have now nor have we had it for a long time. But you have it within your hands today to help us create that party. In this room you are outside the influence of newspapers and elected officials and everybody else except you and your conscience. You can choose that party today when you cast your vote for chairman. You can have a CEO or you can have a leader.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I will listen to you, I will learn from you, and I will lead you to victory.” (emphasis added)

Luke Esser’s speech is also posted at Washington State Wire

In Clark County, Brandon Vick has taken over as chair of the Clark County GOP as former chair Ryan hart moved on to his reward from Jaime Herrera Beutler as her District Manager. I’ve met Brandon and think he is a good guy with good ideas. I hope he follows Kirby Wilbur’s example and not Luke Esser’s.

I also give him the same advice of “watch your back.”

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