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BCRW hosts Texas national committeewoman

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The Bandera County Republican Women held their monthly meeting on Flag Day, Friday, June 14. To mark the occasion, Logan Chism, field director for Rep. Lamar Smith, presented BCRW President Linda James with a flag that had flown over the United States Capitol building.

Guest speaker was newly elected National Committeewoman for Texas Toni Ann Dashiell, who is serving the unexpired term of the late Borah Van Dormolen.

While acknowledging that grassroots Republicans were for the most part "unhappy with the 'big guys' in Washington" and had lost trust in them, she expressed confidence that the trust would be built up again - and that members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) were committed to ensuring that American be continue to be the strongest country in the world.

Dashiell's interest in politics began in 1968 when she volunteered on a presidential campaign as a member of Teenage Republicans. Since that time she has participated in numerous Republican campaigns including presidential, Senatorial and Congressional, statewide, city and county races.

Interestingly, her first foray into national politics included a meeting in Hollywood, California in April and will include another in Boston, Massachusetts in August. "We like to go into places where we're not always wanted and attempt to make some inroads," Dashiell said. "We're there to say we do care; we do listen; and we are inclusive."

Representing the Republican Party of Texas, Dashiell joins Chairman Steve Munisteri and Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong. As she explained, her job includes being a liaison to convey local voices and concerns back to the RNC. "Texas is a grassroots state and not every state is like Texas," she said.

For example, some states appoint representatives to their national committee. However, to secure her position, Dashiell ran against two other candidates and was elected by 54 percent on the third ballot.

The RNC is comprised of 168 voting members, including three representatives from all 50 states and Washington, DC, as well as from the five American territories - American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and - who knew? - Northern Marianas. Three meetings are held annual, but committee meetings take place frequently.

"We have dedicated $10 million to the 'Get Out the Vote' campaign the next election cycle, which, in Texas, translates to hiring 21 new employees - 15 this year and six next year," Dashiell said, adding, "Of course, the Democrats will hire 250 employees for Texas alone."

At the end of March, a "Growth and Opportunity Report" was released which outlined what the RNC is prepared to enact. "The report included seven sections with about 150 to 200 recommendations. "That's a lot of recommendations," Dashiell said. "But the upstart is we are not dead. We are growing and surviving and we are a player. However, we must be clear on our messaging."

She continued, "If we don't engage in more open conversations, we will lose. The perception is that the Republican Party is made up of scary, narrow-minded, out-of-touch, stuffy old men. We often forget to make it personal and develop relationships."

According to Dashiell, President Barack Obama became so successful because "he touched (the peoples') hearts."

Republicans should also be aware of damages done when different factions diverge on what are often ancillary issues. "Often we differ on one or two smaller matters, but we have 50 to 80 other issues we all agree on," Dashiell said, noting that emphasizing the Party's accords would lead to success.

She also said that one resolution of interest in the next primary election would be to carve out states that seem to dictate where the Party is headed - South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa. "We want to add a conservative state into the mix, such as Texas or Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, all the districts are red.

They don't have an Austin," Dashiell quipped.

Pictured: Left- Toni Ann Dashiell

On Flag Day, Friday, June 14, Logan Chism, field director for Rep. Lamar Smith, presented an American Flag that had flown over the Capitol Building to Bandera County Republican Women President Linda James and State District 19 Director of the Texas Federation Republican Women Lila Ward.