The Republican Party of Texas held their biannual state convention in Dallas, TX, from May 12-14, 2016.
Beginning with the Keynote Address from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, through the Platform Debate and Vote, and finishing with the selection of national delegates, the Convention of States wove a common thread, cinching together policy and politician alike.
Governor Abbott's Keynote Address
Governor Greg Abbott Explains the Need For the Convention of States
The 2016 Texas GOP Convention was opened by Governor Abbott proclaiming "the biggest threat to our freedom is a government that ignores the United States Constitution!"
Credit: Bexar County GOP Precinct 4198
The Platform Debate and Vote
Beginning on Monday, May 9th, through Thursday, May 12th, the Texas Convention of States team sent wave after wave of supporters providing testimony before the temporary sub-committee, temporary committee, and the permanent committee.
Legislative Priority Sub-Committee
Heightening the drama was the inclusion of a new sub-committee, focused solely on identifying five legislative priorities for the upcoming Texas Legislative Session. This committee's final report included the Convention of States plank as one of the legislative priorities!
The Legislative Priority Committee - One Parlimentarian (left), two committee members!
Temporary Platform Committee
On Wednesday, May 11th, the full temporary platform committee (31 members) met to hear public testimony on all planks/issues. Texas Convention of States volunteers showed up early, stood up to be recognized, and spoke up with energetic pleas promoting the state-initiated amendment process defined in Article V as the only viable solution to rein in the federal government.
When testimony was concluded, and initial discussion and vote of the temporary committee completed, the Texas Convention of States 2016 GOP Platform Plank remained intact, and was included with the five legislative priorities.
2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform, Plank #35:
"Article V Convention- We support the Bill of Rights as written by our Founding Fathers and assert the authority of the 10th amendment. We urge our Texas State Legislators to call for a limited Article V Convention of States for the specific purpose of reducing the power of the federal government, including implementation of term limits. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by 3/4 of the states."
COS Volunteers Ready to Testify - Left to Right: Shelby Williams, James Hescock, Tom Dowdy, Tamara Colbert, Mike Perry, Bill Ely
Temporary Platform Committee Hearing
Shelby Williams Delivers Testimony
Tamara Colbert Delivers Testimony
Mike Perry Delivers Testimony
COS Plank Highlighted for Discussion
Permanent Platform Committee
By the morning of Thursday, May 12th, the Temporary Platform Committee had replaced the Convention of States Legislative Priority plank with another plank. With the Permanent Platform Committee scheduled for the final hearing that evening, at 7:00, the Texas Convention of States team worked on strategy to restore our plank as a Legislative Priority.
By 7:00 p.m., the Texas Convention of States team had 16 volunteers stacked near the front of the line of witnesses, plus two state legislators, Primary Author Representative Rick Miller, and Senator Brian Birdwell. With only 45 minutes allotted for testimony, the Texas Convention of States team overwhelmed the committee members with statements from both legislators and 14 supporters. Only two witnesses spoke in opposition to the Convention of States plank. Emphasis was given during testimony to restore the Convention of States plank as a Legislative Priority.
During the committee discussion, a motion was entered to restore the Convention of States as a Legislative Priority, and by a very close vote, the restoration was approved.
The power of the grassroots was displayed before the entire Texas GOP leadership, who were quite impressed with the showing of the entire team!
2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform, Legislative Priority (line item #264):
"Call for a limited Article V convention of states for the specific purpose of restricting the power of the federal government, including the implementation of term limits, and balanced budget amendment. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ¾ of the states."
Packed Room for Permanent Platform Testimony
Representative Rick Miller Delivers Testimony
Angie Turner Delivers Testimony
State Senator Brian Birdwell
State Representative Rick Miller
Texas COS Co-Director Tamara Colbert
Texas COS Volunteer Nathan Baber
Convention of States Booth
Bolstered by Governor Abbott's Keynote Address, the presence of his book tour bus promoting "Broken But Unbowed", and the news of the platform battle, the Convention of States booth was a hive of activity throughout the three days of the convention, May 12th-14th. Regional Captains Angie Turner and Natalie Miller coordinated the entire effort, scheduling volunteers, keeping materials stocked, and capturing over 400 new petition signatures!
Thousands of flyers were distributed, including all 1000 of our allotment of Governor Abbott sheets, hot off the press.
Many state legislators stopped by to say hello, pick up literature, or even take a photo with our volunteers!
Left to Right - T.E. Sumner, Shelby Williams, Art Bedford, Jack Hosterman, Tamara Colbert, Paul Hodson, Angie Turner, Natalie Miller
Chesley Williams, Victor Cuppetilli, and Tamara Colbert
Jack Hosterman, Victor Cuppetilli, and Tamara Colbert
Governor Abbott Book Signings
Texas Governor Greg Abbott provided multiple opportunities to visit for a personalized book signing. The 2016 Texas GOP Convention was the site of the official launch of the Governor's biography "Broken But Unbowed", which parallels his rise to the Governorship despite a broken body with the opportunity for our broken nation to once again rise using the founders gift to the states in Article V.
Over the three days of book signings, many of our Convention of States volunteers availed themselves of the opportunity to meet the Governor, thank him for his support, and receive an autographed copy of his new book.
Governor Abbott's Book Tour Bus
Governor Abbott and Jackson Barrett
Governor Abbott and Chris Rockett
Governor Abbott and Kim Rockett
Governor Abbott's Tailgate Party
On the evening of Friday the 13th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott hosted an exclusive tailgate party for graduates of his "Abbott University" training. Several Convention of States volunteers attended, and had an opportunity to not only get a picture with our Governor, but also spend some extended time in conversation. Governor Abbott encouraged our volunteers to continue educating about Article V, and to be patient with those in opposition.
Governor Abbott's Tailgate Party - Michelle Hodson and Bill Ely in Foreground
Paul Hodson, Mike Perry, Governor Greg Abbott, Bill Ely, Michelle Hodson
Tom Dowdy and Governor Greg Abbott
Governor Abbott's Salute to Veterans
On Saturday, May 14th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott hosted an exclusive event for veterans, including an opportunity to receive a personalized copy of his new book, "Broken But Unbowed." Net proceeds from book sales will be donated to Operation FINALLY HOME, a Texas-based non-profit that provides custom-build, mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families.
Governor Abbott Speaks to Veterans about Broken But Unbowed
Governor Abbott Greets Angie Turner
Governor Abbott Signs Angie Turner's Copy of Broken But Unbowed
Governor Abbott and Angie Turner Shake Hands
Governor Abbott Signs Paul Hodson's Copy of Broken But Unbowed
Governor Abbott Signs Paul Hodson's Copy of The Texas Plan
Governor Abbott and Paul Hodson Shake Hands
COS Supporting Legislators and Officials
Texas state legislators and elected officials stopped by caucus meetings to speak with delegates, and help fill some of the down time while votes were counted. Many of these legislators are Convention of States supporters.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Addresses Senate District 22 Caucus Meeting
Texas State Representative Paul Workman addresses Congressional District 25 caucus
Texas State Representative Jason Issacs addresses Congressional District 25 caucus
The Convention provided many opportunities for pictures with well-known politicians. Convention of States volunteers took advantage!
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Mike Perry
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick with Texas COS Co-Directors Tamara Colbert and Paul Hodson