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An interesting front page article in today's Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel about our sister organization there.

Text of the article:

The life of the Grand Old Party

Women’s group is driving force for local Republicans

BY JOSH EDWARDS jedwards@dailysentinel.com

Ask any Republican elected official here who the backbone of the local GOP is and the answer is always the same — the Nacogdoches County Republican Women.

The group began with four members in 1984 in the midst of the Reagan era, and hasn’t slowed down.

Today nearly a third of local partisan offices are held by women, the vast majority of them Republicans.

“We’ve got Republican Women shirts that say ‘The life of the party,’ Republican Women membership chair Anita Kite said. “They’re not kidding.”

Kite holds a non partisan office on the board of Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. Local Republican Chairman Dale Morton credits the growth and success of the local party to the group of women.

“The Nacogdoches County Republican Party as we know it today came to be because of the work of The Republican Women,” Morton said. “They are the people that get things going and get people involved.”

The mid-1980s were a tough time for Texas Republicans when founders Lucy Dewitt, Glenda Lilly, Joan Cason and Pattye Greer began meeting, Greer said.

“We have a lot more elected officials now than we did then,” Greer said.

In the decades since, the party has grown and so has the service of the Republican Women. They frequently donate to charitable causes, and its regular meetings have become a must-stop for any Republican candidate on the campaign trail. Each Texas Blueberry Festival and Pineywoods Fair also

GOP » 4A

Members of Nacogdoches County Republican Women sign up to volunteer at GOP headquarters, which is set to open Saturday.

Josh Edwards/The Daily Sentinel

County Clerk June Clifton, president of Nacogdoches County Republican Women, speaks during Monday’s meeting of the organization.



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features a booth sponsored by the women.

“During election time, we sponsor a debate. It’s a great opportunity for candidates and to keep the public informed,” County Clerk June Clifton said.

Clifton serves as president of the group, which she joined after first declaring her candidacy for the clerk’s position.

“I was told immediately that I needed the support of Nacogdoches County Republican Women,” Clifton said.

Member Rhonda Ward ran for Precinct 4 Commissioner in the March primary and found support and friendship within the Republican Women.

“I have told people so many times that I have found my people,” Ward said. “I’d been a member of other groups, but here I found my people.”

The group also actively encourages women to seek office to let women’s voices be heard in government.

“That is something we will continue to work on,” said Jerri Jones, district director for State Rep. Travis Clardy.

The group has not let itself just become an incubator and stumping ground for candidates though.

“It’s really to inform women about what’s going on,” Greer said.

Tuesday’s meeting featured Nacogdoches ISD interim Superintendent Alton Frailey answering questions about an upcoming bond election.

In 2014, the group started sponsoring an essay contest for high school seniors. This year they will give away $1,000 as a top prize, Dorothy Smith said.

“We were able to increase it because we have some really generous members,” Smith said.

The group also allows men to join as auxiliary members, but they are not allowed to vote on organization business.



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