UPDATE: Ryan Call, Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, responded to my request for a comment on the topic of this blog post. His response, in its entirety, follows:
I believe Sarah is a bright, talented young individual who has a great deal to offer the Republican Party in a leadership capacity. Her duties and role as a County Party officer are different than an activist or volunteer, or even as other members of her county's Executive Board. Her elected Party leadership role as an officer includes certain important obligations and duties to her fellow officers, to her County Party Executive Board, and to the Republican Party's elected officials, candidates and prospective candidates. Like an officer within any organization, her first duty is to that organization and to furthering the mission of the organization, which for the Republican Party is helping to elect Republican candidates, supporting Republican elected officials, and advancing Republican principles and our philosophy of government.
As an example, it would be entirely inappropriate for Mike McCoy, the Denver Bronco's offensive coordinator and assistant coach, to hold a press conference or issue a statement that is critical of head coach John Fox or takes shots at Kyle Orton, the team's designated starting quarterback. Similarly, it would be inappropriate for a corporate officer to issue statements or take a position that is contrary to the expressed decisions of the corporate board of directors or the company's president.
It's perfectly appropriate for a county party officer to express contrary positions, or engage in rigorous debate on issues and discussion on the best way to advance the Republican Party's agenda within the Party, or to privately express his or her views and suggestions to elected officials on matters of policy or legislation at anytime--in fact, the Republican Party encourages such debate and discussion. But once a decision on a matter of policy or approach has been made by that county party's Executive Board following such debate and discussion, it is every county party officer's duty and obligation to faithfully implement the decision made by the group as a whole.
I have had a couple of conversations with Sarah regarding her duties as a county party officer, but at no time did I tell her to resign, nor will I. I shared with her that as a party officer, when expressing herself publicly she is not just representing herself but also the EL Paso County Republican Party. As such, I expressed my opinion that as an elected officer she has certain obligations to her county party members, fellow officers, and to the Party's elected officials and candidates, and suggested that if she does not feel she can separate her personal opinions from her role as a County Party Secretary than she should consider resigning her position as a Party officer and thereby be free to speak out and be an advocate for whatever issues or causes, or for or against whatever candidates or Republican officeholders, she felt was most appropriate, free of the duty of loyalty and obligatory support that is a necessary corollary to official Party leadership.
Republican Party district captains, precinct leaders, volunteers, activists, and all Republican voters all should be encouraged to actively be involved in the debate and discussion of ideas within our Party, and in the discussion of how best to advance our Republican principles and ideas, and are free to support (or oppose) their candidates of choice. Dissent, discussion, and debate is not stifled within our Party - it is encouraged.
But the roles and duties of Republican Party officers are somewhat different; I am hopeful that Sarah will come to recognize that, and will choose to continue to faithfully serve as Secretary of the El Paso County Republican Party.
You know a talk radio show is hitting its stride when it starts breaking news bits.
That's what Colorado's flagship Tea Party talk-radio show, Grassroots Radio Colorado, did yesterday. Maybe no one but the Tea Party ground troops heard the news bit, but it was still newsbitworthy.
Hosts Ken Clark and Jason Worley had El Paso County Republican Party Secretary Sarah Anderson on the show to talk more about the El Paso GOP's resolution suggesting that party officers should not criticize elected Republicans.
On Grassroots Radio last week, Anderson had agreed with Clark, when he said the resolution was intended to shut up GOP activists, like Anderson.
Over the weekend, Anderson said, Colorado Republican State Chair Ryan Call told her to "strongly consider" resigning as secretary.
"Interesting enough, over the weekend, I had it suggested to me that I strongly consider resignation, and I want to say right now that I will not be resigning," Anderson told Clark and Worley.
"It was suggested to me by a couple different people, most prominently by our State Party Chairman, Ryan Call," she said. "I do want to stress I was asked to strongly consider it. I was not asked to resign, but I was asked to strongly consider it."
"I'm irate right now," Worley said to Anderson after she told him about Call's suggestion, and he said he was texting Call immediately to find out more about it. On the radio, Worley inaccurately describes the El Paso resolution as a "gag order."
Call did not immediately return my phone message or email seeking his side of the story. I'll update this blog post if he responds.
If true, Call's intervention could be an indicator of how he plans to conduct himself as GOP State Chair, settling disputes by trying to encourage activists like Anderson to forsake leadership positions.
Of course, there may be more to the story than meets the eye. I'll try to reach Call and possibly others to find out.
Meanwhile, listening to Anderson talk to Clark and Worley, it sounded like Call's alleged action hasn't stopped her from speaking out.
Anderson told the radio audience that El Paso Republicans were trying to enforce the nonbinding resolution asking that party officers not criticize elected Republicans, even though it passed (by a vote of 13 to 3) as a suggestion, not a mandate.
"I don't start fights, but I also don't back down from them when others start them..." Anderson said.
"They want us to shut up and go away," she said. "The problem is, I know very well, I've been involved in politics for a long time, way too long for my age, and we have to stand strong, and we cannot back down."
"To me this is not about people. I've been accused of being other people's enemy, such as [El Paso Country Republican Party President] Eli [Bremer]. And I don't. This isn't a battle about people. It's a battle about ideas. My enemy, if we're going to call it that, is the ideology that insulates and protects power in elected officials at all costs. I have to stand for principle. And you have, unfortunately, to pick a side in this. This is now a public battle. Are you going to stand for a Republican Party that stands on principle or are you going to stand for a Republican Party that protects and insulates power. It's power versus principle. It's that simple."
To which one of the hosts replied, "Well, you know, I appreciate that stance because that's the exact same stance we share here at Grassroots Radio and throughout all the Liberty groups in the state of Colorado. When we see something wrong, we are going to call you on it."
The hosts announced that El Paso Chair Bremer was scheduled to be on the radio show, but had to cancel at the last minute. But he promised to appear on the show at a later date, they said.
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