Rowan GOP pledges continuity In unanimous vote, Leatherman succeeds Edds as party chair
SALISBURY — Continuity was one of the themes that ran through Saturday’s Rowan County Republican Party convention.
Determination was another, as members of Rowan’s delegations to Raleigh and Washington, D.C., pledged to continue fighting for their principles.
In a unanimous vote, delegates elected the nominating committee’s slate of officers.
John Leatherman replaces outgoing county GOP Chairman Greg Edds, who’d held the post since 2010.
Last month, Edds said family, business and the demands of three elections had led him to the decision to step aside.
Speaking to the Post before the meeting, Edds praised Rowan’s GOP delegations to the General Assembly and the U.S. House.
“They’re heavily involved in legislation that will help return N.C. to a competitive state economically,” Edds said.
With gridlock in Washington, “It’s going to be up to the states to take a leadership role, and to the local delegations,” Edds said.
Addressing Republican elected officials and 69 registered delegates gathered in the county commission chambers, Edds thanked members of the party for their support.
“I’m just proud of John and his willingness to serve,” Edds said.
Newly elected Chairman Leatherman then took the podium, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
He challenged attendees to continue getting other Republican voters involved — “to expand the base, to tell people you come in contact with what our message is.”
We want to provide a better Rowan County for everybody,” Leatherman said.
And, he added, leaders want to know whether there are any problems of perception regarding the county GOP.
“Let’s have more communication, let’s have more cooperation,” Leatherman said.
Will McCubbins was elected vice chair of the party.
Elaine Hewitt was elected secretary, and Josh Wagner was voted party secretary.
Ten at-large members were elected to head different efforts within the party.
Republican U.S. House members Virginia Foxx and Richard Hudson spoke on a range of issues, from sequestration to the Second Amendment.
Both also praised local Republicans for their interest and support.
Foxx, who represents N.C.’s District 5, said she was glad to see the strong turnout on a Saturday morning.
“I think it’s important that we still have people who still want to participate in our government,” Foxx said.
Both spoke on “sequestration” — the automatic budget cuts that took effect after no compromise on spending cuts was reached by the Friday deadline.
“This fight … is controlled by the Democrats,” Foxx said. “We do our job.”
Foxx said some had asked why Republicans in the House aren’t willing to compromise.
She said the gridlock is due to “fundamentally different philosophies” between the parties about the way the country should be run.
“We’re doing our best,” Foxx said. “We have work to do every day, every year.”
Hudson, who in January replaced Democrat Larry Kissell in District 8, said even the automatic budget cuts of sequestration aren’t enough.
He said the sequester was like “cutting with an ax instead of a scalpel,” adding that it would be better to cut what he called “wasteful spending” from different departments.
Hudson and Foxx also took up the issue of gun control. Both said they would oppose any new laws that would curtail citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Hudson said the Dec. 14 shooting of 26 children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut made him feel sick.
But Hudson said President Obama and Democrats are wrong in responding by focusing on gun control legislation.
Hudson made the claim that some of the U.S. cities with the strongest gun control laws also have higher rates of violent crime.
“Why would we support laws that we know won’t work?” Hudson asked the audience. “What about the fact that every one of these school shooters was taking a behavioral drug?” Hudson continued. “…There are so many different and complex issues that are causing this violence.”
Likewise, Foxx said, “Stop blaming guns and start teaching the value of human life.”
In response to an audience member telling her to “stick to her guns,” Foxx replied, “I do, literally and figuratively.”
Following the meeting, Hudson and wife Renee stayed to greet the audience, as did other elected officials.
Leatherman said he was ready to continue the strong leadership the party had shown in Rowan County in recent years.
“We’ve had a tremendous success and effort,” Leatherman said. “It can be done.”
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.
2013 Rowan County GOP Members at Large
Elected unanimously during the Saturday morning county convention:
Daryl Cox, precinct organization
Mac Butner, candidate recruitment
Angela Ford, voter registration
Karla Constantino, special events
Kate Robertson, voter turnout
Susan Morris, issues
John Constantino, youth and minority outreach
Tony Hall, public information
Kathy Yost, audit
Rip Kersey, fundraising