Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HCRP Outreach Committee Holds Community Forum

On Monday, March 25, the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP) Outreach Committee held a community forum for West Houston and the Alief Area with the focus on education.  Two speakers were featured - Donna Bahorich, SBOE District 6 and Nghi Ho, Alief ISD Board of Trustees. 

Donna Bahorich gave a legislative update about what was happening in Austin with education reform and encouraged everyone to follow activity online and whenever possible with opportunities for input from the public.

Nghi Ho spoke about the effects of state legislation from the standpoint of a local school district.  He distributed a copy of HB 5  that was going to the House floor Tuesday. The bill encompassed coursework, assessment and accountability.  While he had some concerns about parts of the bill, generally he said it was good. .  

The program was informative and the speakers were engaging.  Both took questions from the audience and answered questions from the moderator, Vladimir Davidiuk. Both speakers were candid and didn't seem to hesitate in honest answers.

Here's the thing - I went to this forum mostly because I was curious about the HCRP Outreach Committee.  As you can read HERE the Outreach Committee has been dead for quite some time.  I knew nothing about its activities of late, though I am active in both Republican Women and countywide groups.  See where I'm going with this? If someone like me doesn't know about them, how is the regular Joe or Jane going to be informed?

Committee Chairman Chris Carmona opened the event and mentioned that clearly more outreach efforts are needed, as the audience was quite small.  Without counting various candidates who came out and committee members, the audience consisted of about 14 others.  The room was capable of holding a large crowd.  It seemed like a wasted opportunity.  The people there, including myself, were not who an outreach committee should be bringing in for an event.  We are already Republican voters.  

I don't want to criticize outreach efforts.  We need all involved who are willing to step up and help spread the word about Republican principles and ideas.  We want to encourage a big tent outreach plan that targets all communities and reachable voters.  

I am happy to read that this committee is not simply targeting Hispanic outreach.  While very important, the Hispanic voter is a piece of the puzzle.  I am frustrated that every time I hear about outreach, I never hear about reaching out to women, especially young women.  Women comprise 56% of the voting population, did you know that?  The last election cycle showed a sharp decline in women voting Republican.  As a Republican woman, I find this unacceptable.

I have a suggestion.  I think the HCRP Outreach Committee should hold a public meeting and invite as many people as they can reach - from GOP clubs, college groups, business groups, etc.  Ask for help while educating the community on who the committee consists of and what the goal is for them.  I can safely say that few know anything about the committee.  That has to change as the first step before more people are interested enough to show up for future events.

We still have much work to do to get out of our comfort zone and speak to those not already on the same page.  

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