On Wednesday, January 25, the 80 members of the MassGOP State Committee voted to elect a new Republican Party chair for the future. There were only two candidates: current Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes and political activist State Committeeman Steve Aylward. Each candidate was given 15 minutes to address the membership before the vote.
Steve Aylward presented an inspiring talk with his vision of where the Party should be headed and how it should get there. He outlined the current problems and how the grassroots could be strengthened to increase the candidates’ pool and eventually elect more Republicans across the political spectrum. Kirsten Hughes concentrated her message on how during this last election year the Republicans lost no seats in the Legislature and the year before Charlie Baker was elected governor. This seemed hardly a message of success and there was little of a vision for the future. If one had never met either candidate before the meeting and just listened to what each had to say, you would have had to vote for Steve Aylward and his emphasis on the future.
But politics doesn’t work that way, especially in Massachusetts. Hughes won the final tally, 46 to 30. Hughes was the establishment candidate and backed by Governor Baker. There was even talk that Baker was calling State Committee members during the evening and urging them to vote for Hughes. This, coming from a man who didn’t even vote for our new Republican president.
So you can see some of the problems the Republican Party faces in this state. In many ways it shoots itself in the foot when it has a chance to make a real difference in moving forward.
In any event, the Boston Broadside would like to bring you, below, the inspiring speech by Steve Aylward on what might have been if Republican State Committee members had showed some Republican common sense and backbone. Instead, true Republicans will probably stay in the political wilderness for the foreseeable future. ¨
Address to the Republican State Committee
by Steve Aylward, Candidate for Chair – As Prepared for Delivery on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 – Newton, Mass.
Friends and Colleagues,
Every few years we come together to decide which Republican is the best suited to lead us in our battle against the Democrats. And so, for the next 15 minutes, I will do my best to try to convince the 80 voting members in this room that I am the best candidate, not only to get Republicans on the ballot and get them elected, but also to unite our Party for the critical 2018 elections.
In doing so, I will draw stark contrast between myself and my opponent. This is not because I dislike Mrs. Hughes. In fact she has always been polite and cordial to me. It is simply because I think I can do a better job.
The first question that any candidate must answer is why he or she is seeking the office? SimpIy put, I am a true believer. I believe in what the Republican Party stands for, and I further believe that the values embedded in our Republican platform offer the best hope for preserving this great nation. I do not shy away from what we believe in – I am proud of it. I embrace it. For by embracing those values I know that we will in turn protect our children, and our children’s future. I’m running because I know that in order for our Party to prosper, we must craft and vocalize a strong conservative, populist message, in a manner similar to President Trump. We can no longer be Democrat-lite. Only by standing strong on our Republican message will we convince the voters that we stand by them and we stand for them. And only then will they come out to vote for Republican candidates.
Lastly, I am also running because I believe that I have the unique combination of business and management skills, political skills, and the work ethic which we will need in order to turn this Party around. Frankly, I am unafraid to look in the mirror and face the facts. Enough with kicking the can down the road. Enough about “We’ll get ‘em next time.” Enough excuses, enough spin. Our party needs a new confidence, a new direction, and a new voice. Because I do not accept the fact that this is Massachusetts, and we should allow ourselves to be content to be the minority party. Instead, I believe that this is Massachusetts and we, the Republican Party, can be great again. Successful business people know that to succeed you must aim high. If not, the target you hit will be a low one. We will aim high, and we will win.
Our success will be quantifiable, our goals for success having been determined by this body in advance. I assure you this – the spin really does stop here.
So how do we do this? Fortunately, I have a plan.
Hopefully all of you took the time to read it. Well known and well respected Democrat strategist Doug Rubin read it on NEW Boston Post, and this is what he tweeted: Just read [Aylward] plan to build MAGOP … Glad Kirsten Hughes refuses to follow cuz it actually could elect more Republicans.” Now praise from Democrats is the last thing I want, but I really cannot recall another instance where someone from Democrat leadership expressed concern that a Republican and his ideas might just be a threat to their stranglehold on power.
My plan is entitled “From the Ground Up” and for good reason. For in spite of our continued attempts to revise the laws of physics, nothing grows from the top down. It never will. It only grows from the ground up. And that is what I intend to do – grow our party from the ground up. And make no mistake about it – it will be a painstaking, laborious process. I will rejuvenate our RTC’s, and embrace them as a strong and necessary partner we need to make Massachusetts Red Again! For it is only though our grassroots that can we consistently and effectively identify candidates, and convince them to seek office, and support them. That must be done locally. It cannot consistently be done from afar.
Now throughout this process I have put my money where my mouth is. I have crisscrossed the state, meeting with RTC after RTC, and listening to as many of our grassroots activists as possible. And it is not going to be a shock to any of you to hear that the base is not happy. Time after time, town after town. The refrain is the same. No help from the MassGOP. No support from the MassGOP. No returned calls. In fact, too often I am told that the only time they hear from the Party is when the Party is looking for money. That will change, and change quickly. For in this endeavor, I have learned one thing for certain – our RTC’s are up for the challenge. They want to be our ally; they want to be our army.
There are ways we will accomplish this, some easy, some hard.
The MassGOP website – hundreds of hits – likely thousands of hits – every month. Why doesn’t that voter info make its way down to State Committee people, and further to the RTC? The young people RTC’s so desperately need and want! And what of the hundreds of Republicans who descended upon our caucuses in May, wanting to be engaged in the RNC delegate selection process. Hundreds of Republicans, motivated by the Trump effect, wanting to engage. Why, in spite of repeated requests, was that voter data never disseminated?
Further, in my plan, I dedicate resources at Merrimac St. to the RTC’s. We will have a point person, perhaps more, with measurable goals. To keep their job – they grow the RTC’s. Establish new ones. They must ensure that they are all using techniques and strategies that have worked; make sure that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Teach them how to raise money. Teach them how to develop candidates. Expose them to other RTC chair people who have been successful. Grade the performance of their leadership, and where possible intercede with the help of the State Committee people to improve leadership. Because everything cannot be done by a small group at Merrimac St. – especially when you have a Commonwealth full of people who want to learn, who want to participate, and who want to win!
Now if you recall, several years back, after spending hundred of hours of work mining OCPF, the Technology Committee which I chaired put together a Donor Database. Probably the single best tool for helping candidates and RTC’s identify donors. I turned that database over to the Party, but sadly, they failed to keep it up to date. When elected, that will be one of the first tools we develop – or redevelop – to help our grassroots activists.
Look at our elected officials sitting here tonight. Few if any started out without the help and support of their local RTC. So if that is the case and we know it is the case, then why, oh why, have we abandoned our RTC’s? Support, educate and respect – that will be the theme going forward as we partner with our grassroots allies.
There is of course much more to my plan than growing the RTC’s. Those of you who took the time to look through it know that. Spreading out across the state, getting away from brick and mortar, attacking voter fraud, reaching out to new voters, using social media, using local ballot questions to win local and legislative races…The point being – there is much to do. But as a manager, I bring my two best attributes to the table. The ability to work hard and the skill to motivate others to work equally as hard.
But a politic plan is worth little unless it is accompanied by “messaging” – the motivating factors which get people out to vote.
On November 8th, Donald Trump was elected President. I worry, however, that the reasons for his winning are somehow lost on the MassGOP. Donald Trump did not win because he was a nice guy. He did not win because he was likeable. President Trump was elected because he was a man who had convictions, and he convinced the voters that he had the courage of his convictions. Voters do not follow people just because they sound good. At least not anymore. They follow people who stand for them, who put their views out there, and who they are convinced will fight for them.
So if I am to lead all of you in this noble fight, I proudly put my positions forward for all of you to know. The chair of our Party, the leader of our Party, must have strong populist positions that can be shared on the airwaves, across the state, to convince voters that we should be their Party of choice.
So I tell you proudly, I am against Common Core, and for the idea of returning control of our local schools to the parents
I am against the concept of Sanctuary Cities, and – as our brothers and sisters in Newton have been doing so effectively – we need to fight them at every turn
I am a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and against any attempts by Maura Healey or any other leftist to restrict those rights.
I am for the protection of the woman and children of this commonwealth and their right to modesty and privacy, and so I stand firm for the repeal of the Bathroom Bill. As do, I might add, most of voters in this state
And to the concept of Life. The Republican Party has traditionally been the Party of Life. It is one of the main reasons so many of us were drawn to the Party. So while we can perhaps disagree on some aspects of the issue, I promise you this. As Party chair, I will never apologize for wanting to protect
God’s most beautiful, most innocent and most defenseless creatures. Furthermore, I will never turn a blind eye to the horrific practice of late term abortion. As a Party we should always oppose it. And if by chance you think that unrestricted access to abortion is a winning issue, just ask Hillary how that worked out for her!
Please note that the majority of my views are very much in keeping with views of so many of our elected officials sitting here. In order to get more of them elected, the Party chair must always have their back. I promise you that I always will.
So all of this said, I ask you:
Do you want the candidate with years of high-level business experience running million-dollar operations?
Do you want the candidate who crisscrossed the state talking to our activists, listening and learning, and giving them the respect and thanks that they deserve?
Do you want the candidate who publishes a detailed plan to win, including incentive-based performance standards?
Do you want a candidate who has successfully raised money for and run a successful statewide ballot question that catapulted our governor to victory?
Do you want the candidate who does not fear the views and opinions of members who disagree with him, and who will put together his Executive Committee that reaches out to all points of view, and in doing so will provide the leadership that begins the process of healing our divide?
Do you want the candidate who is not afraid to publish his positions, and who is not afraid to meet the voting public with a strong Republican message, one that is not afraid to engage the Democrats in the public forum and expose them for what they are?
Do you want the candidate who understands that while our brand is critical, so too is our adherence to the notion of the big tent, and as such will pledge that through discussion, he will make the removal of Republican groups the very last option?
Do you want the candidate, who in 2017 can bring disenfranchised Republicans back into the fold for the critical gubernatorial year elections, and can do so again in 2018?
Do you want the candidate who thinks that you – State Committee members – are the Board of Directors, and that the chair acts only as the steward of the Party, who understands the need to treat all members as equal, returns your calls promptly and will always be available to meet with your constituents?
Or do you want more of the same?
Throughout this process, I have tried to respect the fact that your vote is your own. Furthermore, nobody in my opinion should be asking you to commit, especially well before all the candidates, their ideas, and their positions are not yet known. In my humble opinion, the only people that we as State Committee people have a commitment to are the people in the back of the room. Our constituents, hopeful of a better tomorrow for our Party, and a better future for their families. Their hopes and dreams have never been realized these past so many years. You have the power to turn this Party back on the road to health and prosperity. I ask you to do just that.
If you believe as I do that with Donald Trump as our president, that this is the chance in a lifetime. If you believe as I do that we must re-elect our governor while at the same time substantially growing our numbers at the State House. And if you believe as I do that we can take to the airwaves with a strong and proud populist Republican message, and we can finally grow our presence on social media, and if you believe as I do that by firmly embracing the 2nd amendment we can and will get the 225,000 Mass. gun owners engaged and out to vote Republican. If you believe that we can and will challenge every Republican friendly seat – without exception – as one unified, enthusiastic and very proud team, and if you think that in doing all of that, we can finally break the stigma of being a Republican, so people are once and for all proud to say – “I am a Republican.”
Then I do humbly request your consideration for your vote. Thank you. ¨
Editor’s Note: The Republican plan he refers to can be found at: