BY JOHN TRAIER Good Morning!
Seven months ago, you bestowed upon me the Chairmanship of the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization. While at times the job has been grueling, challenging and frustrating; it has also been very rewarding and satisfying.
I felt before we get started with the program today – I would address you as to the state of our party.
Our record for the past 12 years has not been good. Since 2001, we have only been successful in one county election – 2009. In 11 elections, only one win. That is a 9% success rate. I know we can do better.
But how do we accomplish this.
I see no way to be successful without the rebranding of the Republican Party in Passaic County. In fact, our Party needs to be rebranded throughout the entire country . . . . however, my mission and responsibility is Passaic County – not the nation. And I assure you I am not into empire building.
The Republican Party through policy and lack of a cohesive message has left many potential voters on the sidelines and frankly we will never be successful unless we change. I am an accountant, but it doesn’t take a CPA to figure out the math — if you want to be the majority party you need a majority of the people.
Our core values have always been individual freedom, smaller and lesser government, personal responsibility and opportunity for all Americans.
I had advocated and worked for our Republican nominee — Mitt Romney as I felt he would be a more effective President than our current one. At the same time, I felt that I was not welcome in the Republican Party.
As a gay man in a 26 year relationship, I felt that I did not belong in the Republican Party any longer. At a poignant moment during our Transition Team meeting, Rev. Nance told how her friends were annoyed that she was still a Republican and some would not talk to her. I knew exactly how she felt.
And not only did we feel this way, so did Hispanic voters, young people, soccer moms, women in general, new citizens, and some of our historically Republican voters.
We need to make people feel welcome in our party — even if we do not agree on every single issue. This organization needs to be open to new people with new ideas. We have to put the welcome mat out for people who want to be part of a political organization that stands for something important and offers something different than the failed policies of the Democratic party.
Our county is changing on a very rapid basis. Our party in Passaic County and in New Jersey cannot survive unless we open our doors to ALL communties and break through the stereotypes that divide us. We need to work on finding the common ground that unites us, not on what divides us.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, people came to the Republican Party because they felt that they did not belong in the Democratic Party — the Democrats had left them behind. In the 1980’s we called these folks Reagan democrats. In those years the party became successful both nationally and locally because we reached out to voters with a message of hope, strength and faith based on our core principles.
The Republican Party of the late 90’s and beginning of the 20th Century did the opposite. One could not be conservative enough, it was not good enough to be a conservative, you needed to be very conservative. So now we lost the Reagan Democrats, and African American voters, the growing Hispanic voters, many young voters, suburban voters — who is left? At the rate we are going. . . there will be no one left.
But there is hope! We are still the party of low taxes, smaller government, responsible spending and personal responsibility. We are still the party that’s tough on criminals, and the party that believes in creating jobs not government dependency.
I challenge you to be an activist Party that wants to work in our cities and suburbs to bring back voters that we need to be successful. In order to reach out to voters we do not need to leave our traditional voters behind — this party is big enough for all of us.
I became a Republican voter in 1975 and voted faithfully in Republican primaries and all elections since. I have worked in the vineyards many years and I do not want my Chairmanship to continue this further decline. I want to move us forward and I implore you to help.
As the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Gov. Tom Kean, and Pat Kramer, we had a rich history to be very proud of; as the party of Gov. Chris Christie we have a great future to look forward to. As your county chairman, I want to make the best of that future. Please join me in this mission.
John Traier is the Chairman of the Passaic County GOP Committee