This is the last part (but not least!) in a series of responses from each of the candidates for GAGOP Chairman. Today’s response is from Mike Welsh. You can see my previous posts with responses from Alex Johnson, Michael McNeely, and John Watson.
Nathan Smith (GeorgiaPol.com): Tell me a little about yourself. (e.g., where you live, what you do outside of politics (professionally and hobbies, if you will), etc.)
Mike Welsh: I’m a resident of Evans, GA and very active at my church, Kiokee Baptist. I spend a lot of time with my kids in their athletic pursuits
NS: When did you get involved in politics and Republican Party?
MW: I got an email to come to a mass meeting and asked to join the executive board.
NS: What have you recently done for your local (either county or district) Republican Party? I’ll explain why I’m asking this question. Auxiliary Republican organizations are important conduits for people to get involved with their local party, but you are running for a position to serve at the top of the Georgia Republican Party. I believe it’s important to understand how involved you are with either your county and/or district Republican Party if you intend to lead the organization at the top.
MW: Just finished term as 12th district chairman and concurrently served on county board as liaison to TARS, CRs and women’s groups. Currently precinct chair.
NS: Why are you running?
MW: Because I was asked to do so and the party needs my skills and talents at this time.
NS: What do you consider the role of the office in which you seek?
MW: To set the vision and strategic direction for the party and to engage staff, elected officials, donors and grassroots.
NS: What is your vision for the Georgia Republican Party?
MW: To unite the party by communicating the principles via branding and messaging that lead to engagement and passion.
NS: Tell me three things you hope to accomplish in the next two years.
– Communicate a unifying vision
– Develop a digital infrastructure
– Welcome 2016 voters into our party via coalition building
– Retire the debt and build a cash reserve
NS: Throughout my tenure in Republican leadership, I’ve seen social media posts and heard discussions that seemingly advocate that the Georgia Republican Party shouldn’t allow “some candidates” to qualify as Republican candidates. Currently, state law doesn’t allow for political parties to prevent candidates from qualifying if they attest that they are legally qualified and pay their fee. Should the Georgia Republican Party advocate for a change to allow a litmus test by the GAGOP, or should we let our primary process be the litmus test?
MW: I prefer to let the primary process winnow the field, but there is merit to being able to help the electorate when a candidate is obviously using the party for personal gain.
NS: There are a lot of individual county Republican Parties. County chairmen can vary from being self-sufficient to needing a lot of help. What will you do to help ensure that counties are supported with resources and training to help grow party membership as well as to conduct functional aspects of local parties (like candidate qualifying, precinct mass meeting and convention procedures, etc.)?
MW: We have a lot of resources that are not fully utilized in the form of district chairs, state committee members, etc. that will be pressed into service on this matter. They need to be trained and empowered and held accountable.
NS: Organizations aren’t perfect because they’re run by imperfect people. If you had a magic wand to fix one issue that bugs you with the Georgia Republican Party, what would it be? I know that the top answer for most candidates will most likely be either “fundraising” or “money in the bank”, so give me an issue of something other than fundraising/money/etc.
MW: Focusing everyone on external threats rather than internal squabbles.
NS: This is your opportunity to sell yourself. In 50 words or less, why should a delegate vote for you?
MW: I have a unique set of business and political skills that are needed to address the issues facing the party. As a degreed accountant, I understand financial statements, and budgets and how they impact the health of an organization. I have spent a career helping organizations fix broken processes, build new ones and become successful in the marketplace. I am a proven leader.