I am writing to inform you of a leadership change in our party. As you know, all of us -- from the national executive committee on down -- are volunteers. Each of us gives all we can to this effort to see this movement grow, and all of us take both pride and pleasure in serving something larger than ourselves.
But as we move forward with our effort to break the duopoly and return political power to the people, we often lose great leaders due to commitments in their personal lives which must come before all other considerations. Dale Ritchie, our national chair, has encountered just such a challenge and has thought it best for the party to step down. Our executive committee decided I should move up from the national vice-chair position to take his place. Michael Burger, our former national chair and current West Region chair, was elected by the committee to take my place as national vice-chair.
Whenever there is a new leader of an organization, it’s normal for the other members to wonder “who the heck is this guy.” So indulge me for a moment as I tell you a little about myself.
First, like you, I'm a regular person and not a member of the professional political class. I grew up in a blue collar union Democratic home in a small corner of Washington state, became an evangelical minister after college, and eventually joined the religious right in California.
In my late 30s I embarked on a spiritual and political journey and found myself moving more and more towards the flexible and pragmatic center. Working first in education and then in the wine industry (where I make my living to this day), I joined the Modern Whigs in 2010 while living in Colorado.
In 2012, I got more involved thanks to T.J. O'Hara's campaign. I was appointed Washington state chair in 2014 and West Region chair the following year. During our 2016 National Convention in Indianapolis I was elected vice-chair in the same vote which elected Dale as national chair.
I must say, I'm excited to lead our party during this pivotal point in our growth. There are several new state chairs and other party officers coming in each month, and our leadership committees at both the state and national levels have never been so complete.
We also now have experienced operatives at the Regional Chair positions, along with a bigger technical staff than we’ve ever had. And our former California state chair, Alan Reynolds, is running a valiant Whig-endorsed independent campaign with a good chance at unseating the incumbent in the CA-41 assembly district.
Going forward, we are focused on gaining ballot access and running candidates in local elections in as many states as possible in 2019, while we continue to build a strong party infrastructure to support our grassroots movement and prepare for many big races in 2020.
We need everyone to continue to pitch in recruiting, volunteering and donating in order to make those efforts a success. I know I can count on you to support our party, and I look forward to working with you in the days ahead..
Courage. Common Sense. Country.