by Valerie Mae03/17/2022
There was a letter in a local paper recently where the writer expressed dismay with the appointment of Gerald Koppenhafer to fill the vacant seat of the late Commissioner Joel Stevenson. The writer opined that while Mr. Koppenhafer stated that he wished there would be more civic participation by citizens at public assemblies, the writer indicated he felt that expressed sentiment to be in contrast to Gerald Koppenhafer’s actual history as an elected Republican official. The writer did not cite a specific example, so I will leave it up to others to decide whether the writer’s opinion holds any merit. I have not always agreed with some of Gerald’s positions, but I have always felt we could agree to disagree without rancor. As a voting member of the Montezuma Republican Vacancy Committee, I supported his selection. With that said, I will say that several registered Republican visitors to Conservative Grounds this past week have expressed a feeling that we, as a country, are doomed primarily due to a belief that there aren’t enough real elected Republicans to make a difference. Most Republicans, the feeling is, vote along with Democrats, and have been for quiet some time. One person remarked that the reason Corey Gardner lost to Hickenlooper in the 2020 Colorado Senate race was there wasn’t any discernible difference between them.
Not all Republicans are the same, and I would like to focus on that thought as it applies to Montezuma County. It seems that some voting members of the Montezuma Republican Central Committee (MCRCC) cannot stand the thought of open debates and open meetings and a real commitment to adhere to our By-laws. They retain the mindset that only voting members (currently 39 individuals) need to be informed and consulted on issues involving the Republican Party. There are close to 8,000 active, registered Republican voters in Montezuma County. A group of MCRCC voting members led by Vice Chair Casey McClellan and Secretary Jan Gardner conducted a meeting on February 23 that will be chronicled to show that it violated our By-laws, to remove MCRCC Chair Allen Maez.
Ostensibly, this group alleges that Allen is “destroying the Republican Party” by his associations with the Montezuma Patriots and the Republican Women of Montezuma County, and other “ilk”. Oh, really? Let us take a little bit of time to examine facts versus trumped up (no pun intended) charges.
The voting group led by McClellan and Gardner have spent the last year attacking Allen Maez for his leadership of the MCRCC. They thought they had ousted him in July of last year. Secretary Gardner, the long standing Secretary of the MCRCC and self described expert on all things Parliamentarian, committed several violations of procedure. However, it was Vice Chair McClellan who announced that Chairman Allen Maez had been removed by a vote of 22 to 6. MCRCC By-laws require a 2/3 vote of the entire voting membership for removal. There were, at that time, 34 voting members.McClellan has trouble with numbers. He bounced a 1,000 dollar check to KVFC Radio Station in the fall of 2020, because he “forgot” to transfer money from the Raffle Account to the General Account. The money for the radio ads involved a prolonged discussion about the need to support our Republican candidates, particularly Joel Stevenson. It really is like that at most MCRCC meetings. Stupid discussions over obvious things. A tactic employed to drive off people. Not co-incidentally, both McClellan and Gardner opposed an independent audit of the accounts in the Spring of 2021, which according to those pesky By-laws, is to be performed after every Organizational Meeting to elect officers. That occurred in February of 2021, when Allen Maez was elected Chair by a 2 to 1 margin.
So, what happened to cause such a shift by voting members?
Just your basic smear campaign. Call it fear and loathing in the Montezuma GOP. Call it naked ambition for power. Call it whatever you want, but such actions are the classic earmarks of narcissism. After failing to remove Chairman Maez, they proceeded again by proposing a change in the By-laws that at that time could remove any voting member with as few as 8 votes for any reason. Let the sheer ridiculousness of that sink in. Eight votes. Tyranny by a minority. Their second call for removal only had 20 members show up for the meeting, one of which who was a supporter of Allen Maez, to be able to relay what occurred. It will also be clearly established that their proposed By-law change did not follow due process for a valid change. Voting membership at that meeting should have been 37 individuals, due to the filling of vacant chair positions. What is happening to our local Republican Party should galvanize people into action. Reasonable people can agree to disagree in a civil manner. Unreasonable people resort to strong arm tactics of mob mentality to force change.
Political hacks who face a potential loss of power often exhibit signs of narcissism. Overblown egos that have little concern for others and a highly inflated view of their own worth, as they seek to control the outcomes of any given political situation. Such is the case in our local Republican party. To quote Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changing.” Many Republicans believe a red wave will occur this November that will sweep them into office, due to sheer outrage over how the Biden administration has governed. That is why Don Coram chose to run against Lauren Boebert this year. Congressional District 3 is considered a safe Republican district by political analysts. Don Coram’s problem is the same one Cory Gardner had. A fair number of Republicans consider him a Democrat.
Americans are coming off a two year upheaval of their lives. Do this, don’t do that dictates from entrenched centers of power, that are now being exposed as, at best misguided, at worst, malignant in nature. Public health institutions have some credibility issues. School Boards across the Country have been shown to be less than transparent in how they conduct their meetings. The economy is being turned upside down. A growing awareness that our fundamental foundational principles are being stripped away. A sense of; what the hell happened?, is gripping America.
Concentrate on fixing the local problems first, but remember:
Not all Republicans are the same.