Ron Lawrence: Where do we go from here? Participate in governance committees

This commentary is by Ron Lawrence, of Essex Junction. He is town chair of the Essex Republicans and vice chair of Chittenden County Republicans.

I have been listening to analyses from both near and far about the election results and where we should go from here. There is a lot of finger pointing going on. Things I hear include a lack of strong leadership, the need for more and better candidates, a lack of participation, apathy, election fraud, our schools, the media, and the list goes on. There is something to all of these, and yet, I can’t help but feel that they miss a major point.

Ron Lawrence

For whatever the reason (and it isn’t fair), Republicans are faced with a community that doesn’t trust us. Everything they have heard about us is negative. Most of what they hear has been false. The assumptions people make about each other are generally wrong. But here we are. We are faced with changing attitudes for much of our citizenry who seem to have nothing positive to say about us. All the reasoning in the world is not going to change that — unless we do something to change our relationship.

So, what do we do? The only way I know to change people’s impressions is to roll up your sleeves and engage. We should put ourselves out there so people can see us for who we are. This is not not easy for a people who are bent toward independence and self-reliance. (Personally, I refer to myself as a “hermit.”) Still, here we are, and I see no better way to effectively change impressions and create the possibility for for dialogue than to engage our community in ways that we may not be comfortable with.

One clear way to do this is to get involved in the many governance committees that we have in our towns. Like it or not, a lot of our governance happens and policies are set by committees. Some positions are elected, but most are appointed. You also need not be appointed to participate. All of these committee meetings are public. I have participated in several of these committees myself, and I have generally found myself to be in the minority as a conservative in the community.

There are a dizzying number of committees in our governance in every town. The idea that the average citizen should be aware of all that is going on is absurd. And the expectation that people truly have a chance to weigh in on the decisions being made is laughable. But, as an organization, we can split the task of participation and support each other in representing our values to all that is taking place. Covering all the bases is probably less important than showing our faces thoughout the breadth of activity in our governance, and dispelling assumptions being made by our opponents and the media about Republicans.

Participating on town committees does two things:

  1. It gives voice to our conservative principles in the work of those committees
  2. It exposes the other committee members and the community at large to the people who call themselves “conservative” or “Republican”

The first will help us to raise our collective awareness of all of the work that happens in our governance. The second will help to dispel many wrongs assumptions about Republicans. Both will help us to develop a better bench of potential candidates.

One last thing that seems worth mentioning — especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s announcement about his candidacy for president in 2024: We will be wise to remember that the best way to support any of our federal candidates — no matter the office — is to engage with our own community.

There are lots of things that we Republicans can and should do better. We need to raise more money. We need to go door to door. We need to improve our messaging. We need to be more positive. We need better leadership and more candidates. But the one thing that will give us the biggest bang for our efforts is to engage in our community by the rules that the community has given us. And we will be improving our governance as we do it.

Image courtesy of Public domain

23 thoughts on “Ron Lawrence: Where do we go from here? Participate in governance committees

    • Laura: Over time I’ve read some of your post, here and elsewhere. You have only to look to your own positions to understand why there is not Repub party in Vermont.

      You are a very nasty person.

  1. If you can’t re-think you positions and offer the people something they need and want, you are out of the game.

    You can call Dems all the ignorant names you want to.

    But the truth is , if you can ever accept it, the Repubs have only themselves to blame.

    Maybe if you ever get that, the party can be reinvigorated. I would welcome it. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Thanks for the invite into the party but, I’m not interested. All parties are corrupt and none represent me.

  2. The same type of people who want to get rid of Trump are the same kind of people that got rid of General Geo. S. Patton. The Democrats who did not want to confront the Russians.


  3. Perhaps we need a committee to study the committees. Then, assign a council to discuss how much money they will need to address the issue. Then, assign a board to draft a report for the committee to study with lots of graphs and statistics. Then, present it to the lawmakers to discuss in committee who will then defer to create a committee to study the matter further. Meanwhile, earmark taxpayer money to a non-profit NGO to administer half-baked policies with no authority to fix the problem. Then, assign a task force to tell you what to do and how to do it. If that doesn’t work, assign a committe to study what isn’t working. Then, earmark taxpayer money to a non-profit NGO to address the problems created by the policy that didn’t address the issue thoroughly to begin with……

  4. Thank you Mr. Lawrence for your thoughtful commentary. There are indeed plenty of opportunities to participate in town government in Vermont and make a difference for your community and in changing people’s perspectives. These days too many people judge others not by person to person interactions but by what they read and see on the internet.

  5. You say it’s the republicans who need to change, I say it won’t matter until the media changes. The Vermont and national media are the messengers of all the bad press for the party and candidates. They’ve been a wing of the dem/prog party for years. They manipulate the debates, they censor the news, they omit certain stories and make others up by claiming unnamed sources. The republican narrative is created by the media.

    Also from what I’ve been reading the party has a platform but the candidates veer off from those principals like voting for article 22 as an example. Certain candidates calling republicans insurrectionist or racists. What has the governor done to help the party? Why hasn’t the leadership addressed these issues within. You can’t win elections by being democrat lite. If you have a platform stick to it. It appears that party leaders are all RINOs and never Trumpers. The evidence is in the last election, no financial support for great statewide candidates, Liam Madden, article 22 and more.

    The republican narrative will not change until these issues are addressed. A couple days after Trump announces his run for president, Paul Dane, Tom Koch and others take to the media and start dissing the man who could quite possibly could be the republican candidate. The people will decide that and the party should respect who the people pick. As it is, voting republican in Vermont is like banging your head against the wall. After years of losses, it begins to hurt. Look inside the leadership first. Just one man’s opinion!

    • Platforms don’t win General Elections. People do.
      To win an election, you need to address the issues and concerns of the majority of the voters and the majority isn’t anywhere near Republican.
      People vote for those who understand their needs and have solutions. If you can’t do this and you’re running on a singular “stand for something” platform you’re a martyr.
      Guess what? Vermont is widely believed to be one of the least religious states in the union. Running on religion is a losing cause.
      Calling people Marxist and Fascists is another losing point.
      Calling every election suspicious is ignorant.
      Calling the governor a RINO is ignorant.
      Calling those Republicans and independents closest to you is ignorant.
      Perhaps, a better term for the “Real Republicans” is the Ignorant Republicans, Intolerant Republicans…

      • Please go preach to someone else. I gave my opinion to Mr. Lawrence are you his spokes person? I’ve been voting in Vermont for 52 years and I don’t need any help from you, Mr. Arnold.

      • This is an intelligent and fabulous comment.

        Like I commented on another article, it was ridiculous to expect to win on Prop 5 when Repubs were calling pro-choice voters baby killers.

        All the ignorant name-calling is a HUGE loser.

        Because of all the really ignorant religious comments I wrote to Dame to dump that strategy. He ignored me.

        One last time Repubs — GOD IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE. That’s a really dumb and losing statement.

        As a liberal wanting more conservative politics to succeed, I would never attach myself to a party that is viewed as dumb. Sorry, no other way to put it.

        • Joy the only ignorant, name caller here that is making dumb and losing statements is you.
          Do you read your comments before you post them?

          Why don’t you get off the internet and go read a history book and then pray for forgiveness for being such a hater here.

      • If and when a new conservative party is eventually formed because the Republicans dissed the conservatives, I will be able to live with the consequences of my actions. Will You? Because the Republican party will be reduced to being a red headed stepchild and you may have to live with a nation being totally run by the Demoprogs because you have no principles.

      • Maybe there’s less comments because it’s easier to ignore some comments than trying to make others think beyond what they say and beleive. Obviously, you haven’t noticed the name calling from the left and you can state your opinion here like anyone. I did notice though that you called some of the comments dumb and ignorant and then went to your last comment justifying why there are so few comments after calling us dumb.

        • Oh Please, there ARE so many stupid and dumb comments on this site, like god is on our side. Pro-choice is Nazi killing and on and on and on.

          I’m not supporting Dems. But it is true Dem name calling doesn’t even come close to Repub name calling. And I might add ignorance.

          • “Oh Please, there ARE so many stupid and dumb comments on this site,…”

            At least here, you’re welcome to the party.

          • Well, maybe you should stick with the Dem/progs, they’re doing so well with our state and the nation. Why would you vote for anyone else? I’ll just stick with the freedom of the constitution! Have a nice life, you’re such a Joy!

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