Debate over a resolution entitled “A Resolution On Getting Back to the Basics of Republican Principles” at this past weekend’s Georgia Republican Convention showed some differences of opinion among the convention delegates. The first part of the resolution chides the Georgia legislature for not overriding Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of House Bill 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act, and House Bill 859, the campus carry bill.
The resolution points out that the 2015 GOP convention passed resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment making English the official language of Georgia, and prohibiting the issuing of drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Despite that support, both measures passed the Senate in the 2016 session, bu did not receive votes in the House.
Another portion of the resolution faults Georgia’s government for not reducing its budget, but instead, in House Bill 170, raising close to $1 billion annually for transportation funding. During the 2015 legislative session, an alternative proposal was presented by some representatives and senators that would have used a portion of the increase in tax revenue each year to pay for transportation improvements. That proposal never got a hearing.
Before the convention voted on the resolution, it was debated by delegates. Kent Kingsley of Lamar County was one of the delegates who spoke in support of the resolution.
This resolution is very simple. This has been an idea, and ideas that we have had as a Republican Party for years and years. Unfortunately, too many of our elected officials have ignored it. And it’s time that we start holding these elected officials accountable for not meeting the will of the people, the will of the Republicans that make up the majority in the state of Georgia.
And I commend people like Josh McKoon and other like-minded constitutional conservatives for bringing this up over and over again. And this will become law in Georgia.
Forsyth County delegate Will Kremer had a different opinion:
First of all, we have two types of politicians. There are the politicians that fundraise, and they make problems their base, and they use that to build a coalition. We have politicians that work towards solutions. This resolution is complete and utter garbage. It’s garbage.
To say that we need to get back to the basics because we passed funding for transportation and because we oppose, at times, some bill that could potentially discriminate? That’s ridiculous. And I think that we are better than passing a resolution that justifies that. We need to unite together and go along with the conservative principles that we have and thank our leaders for passing solutions.
The resolution was introduced by committee member Josh McKoon, and was much less contentious than resolutions introduced at the GOP district conventions in April, including one in the Third District that censured Governor Deal for his veto of the religious liberty bill shortly after the end of the legislative session. Deal did not attend the convention, citing a scheduling conflict with an event honoring high school valedictorians.
With many delegates waiting in line to speak, the question was called and the measure was put up for a vote. The resolution passed. While there was no count taken of votes cast for either side, a reasonable minority voted against it. While Republican conventions are dominated by the party’s grassroots base as opposed to its more business friendly supporters, some of those attending this convention had a different definition of basic Republican principles than did others.