Thursday, March 19, 2009

DCRP Convention

Heretofore I haven’t gotten formally involved in the Republican Party but I finally got tired enough of them not getting their act together, ignoring my part of town and completely forgetting that we have got to be champions for the conservative movement that I decided it was time to get involved. So now, I am a delegate to the Davidson County Republican Convention.

I attended both the caucus on February 21 and the convention on March 7. Having never been to a DCRP convention before I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was appalled at what I found. The room was filled with brand spanking new ‘Republicans’ who had some of the same frustration about the party as I did. Obviously, the party hadn’t been doing a good job of recruiting members themselves and the void was happily filled by Ron Paul supporters who saw an opportunity to take over. Yikes.

The first vote between three candidates for chairman whittled the field down to two. So successful was the effort by those new 'Republicans' that the vote for chairman was a tie between the old guard’s Katherine Starnes and the Ron Paul supporters' Matt Collins. The second vote ended in a tie and so the convention was suspended because no one had bothered to consider the hall might be needed for longer than than three hours and we flat didn't have time to finish the business of the convention.

I guess we should lay the blame for the bad planning and confusion on current Chair Tom Lawless who seemed to not have a good handle on how the convention would be run. The whole event was fairly chaotic, time was wasted, rumors included that there were extra ballots and Mr. Lawless had to cancel his tee time because the meeting ran long and the big mistake of not securing the venue for long enough were clear indicators of a need for a better leadership team.

Kathleen Starnes is the current First Vice Chair and if I’m unhappy with the party as it is isn’t she part of that problem? On the other hand I do understand that it's possible her one vote couldn't really change things. Her ‘vote for me’ speech talked about reaching out to Donelson and Goodlettsville and seemed to ignore taking back the urban core. That's fine but it's a mistake when the urban core is gaining political strength every year to ignore it. The man who nominated her stated she has a vision for expanding the grassroots outreach and embracing technology. Well, I can certainly attest to the fact that communication has been darn right awful for a while. My own note to the DCRP via their website has been unanswered for three weeks. Further, other than a focus on the 2010 redistricting and grassroots she failed to provide a vision or mission statement that would convince me that she's the man for taking back Davidson County.

Matt Collins works at WWTN producing for conservatives Phil Valentine and Michael DelGiorno. An association which seemed to be the prime reason he wanted us to vote for him. As if association = competence. Since the convention was suspended I’ve had a chance to do some research on him. Obviously, he’s got the social networking down (something the DCRP could certainly use) and obviously he’s passionate (something else they could use) but I’m not ready to hand over the mantle of what should be the conservative pulpit in this county to a 27 y/o with a Facebook profile that doesn’t seem to understand that folks who are going to be ‘interviewing’ him for this job are looking for some proof of maturity, leadership and vision for the party. A public profile and a photo more akin to his February 21 professional costume would have helped. Between the time this photo was taken and the convention he found a hair stylist and a good suit.

It was pretty creepy to learn that Collins attended the March 11th Nashville Republican Women’s meeting. His appearance was jarring to some of the ladies. Phil Valentine was the scheduled speaker and Collins told folks he was just there to hear what Phil had to say. What? He had made it clear he works with Phil. Phil’s on the air every afternoon. Collins ought to have memorized what Phil has to say about nearly every topic. Collin’s explanation was not believed. What was believed was that he wasn’t going to give Katherine Starnes (an actual Republican woman) the opportunity to campaign for chair. Frustratingly, Collins’ presence also kept the ladies from being able to ask Valentine for an honest assessment of his co-worker.

On Wednesday I got an email from someone, not the party or a leader, giving me a heads up that the meeting was scheduled for two days away on Friday night, downtown at 5:30. Obviously, DCRP communication hasn't improved. Sadly, it seems no one seriously considered the need for folks to have more than a couple of days notice, or the practicals of getting downtown at that time of day and then having women walking back to their cars after dark. Yes, some basics have to change at DCRP and then maybe we can start working on making a difference in Davidson County.


Michael J. Bernard said...

It’s funny how Rep. Bart Gordon calls himself a “blue dog” but is basically walking in lock-step with the expansion of government while also wasting taxpayer money on trips to Europe for him and his wife.


Kay Brooks said...

Thanks for commenting...but maybe next time you could stay on topic?

Matt Collins said...

Mrs. Brooks,

I don't know if we have ever met in person but next time we are in the same room we definitely should introduce ourselves.

Reading your blog I absolutely agree with you that the Republican Party needs to "get their act together" and that we must "be champions of the conservative movement". And you are right to get involved because that's exactly why I'm running for chair. I did not decide to run for the DCRP chair because I wanted the position, I decided to run because I felt that it was time for a principled limited-government conservative to step up and move the GOP into a winning direction resulting from strict adherence to the Constitution and limited-government conservatism.

In addition to producing talk radio at WTN I also work in the music industry as an audio engineer. But as you mentioned I have of course gotten a hair cut and of course realize what responsibilities are entailed as the DCRP chair.

Regarding the Nashville Republican Women's meeting a couple of weeks ago, I am not sure if you are aware, but those meetings are open to anyone, including those of us who happen to be male ha ha. In fact there were several other men in the room which is not unusual as it was explained to me that men are even encouraged to participate. I attended the meeting because I sincerely wanted to hear what the topic of discussion was. While I am of course familiar with Phil's typical discourse I have never seen him give a public address outside of the WTN studios so this was a first for me. And considering he was speaking to my fellow local Republicans I felt it prudent to come and take a listen.

Also I wasn't there to campaign however I thought it would be respectful to at least show up to one of their meetings since the Nashville Republican Women truly are the crux of the local Republican Party. While I had no intention to speak or actively campaign at the event I didn't want the Nashville Republican Women to think that I had not ever bothered to at least show up at their meeting. What I have come to realize is that the Nashville Republican Women are very well organized, passionate, and are the stronghold of Republicanism in the county; I know I can learn a lot from them and their organization.

And anyone is of course free to call or e-mail Phil at anytime if they would like to "ask for an honest assessment" about me. You can get ahold of Phil by voice or e-mail: 1-800-618-PHIL or

Also as an aside I applaud your homeschooling efforts. While I did not have the privilege of being home schooled myself I absolutely recognize that the government is NOT the best entity to educate our children. Liberals, conservatives, Republicans, and even Democrats are all unhappy with government schools. The fundamental problem is that government is intruding into the free market of education. In the early 1800's government schooling was not widespread and the US was considered the most literate nation in the world. One of the worst decisions ever was to entrust something as important as the education of our children to the politicians and bureaucrats. The government, at all levels, needs to back out of education and allow for free market competition!

Anyway, that being said, feel free to e-mail me with any questions that you may have. I look forward to opening dialog with you because I would like to earn your vote.

I wish you the best,

-Matt Collins
Candidate for Chairman- Davidson County Republican Party

Lesstressrx said...

Kay, I couldn't agree with you more about the confusion at the caucus in February and the March 7 convention.
I am also newly involved with all the political process and was very disappointed in the way Chair Tom Lawless handled the meetings. He after all was in charge. It appeared to me that Kathleen, Matt & others were trying to have an election without leadership. From this prospective, I felt really bad for all people that were wanting to be the new Chair in such an unprofessional setting. Thank you for your honest assessment of the situation. The Friday night meeting downtown, as you said,
wasn’t announced to most of the delegates. Many that were waiting for a message to attend the meeting, never even knew it was happening. The night before, my husband and I were informed by a good friend, that heard rumors, that the vote was to be downtown. When the meeting was adjourned at the Hillsboro High they told us that we would be notified when to re-vote. They said they had to see when the school would be available. Who would have thought a meeting would take place on Friday night, downtown, during rush hour traffic. By the way, Kathleen had no idea they had planned to have a delegate vote that evening. It was my understanding the vote downtown was only to get clarification for the month, March or April, for the re-vote. Talk about confused. Once again, it appears to me, that the Chair Tom Lawless has been remiss in his responsibilities.
I was so unhappy after the March 7 meeting to learn that Mr. Lawless was publicly endorsing Matt Collins and saying uncomplimentary things about Kathleen Starnes. You can read his remarks at: I responded to his unprofessional action there.
I honestly know very little about Matt Collins ability to Chair the Davidson County Republican Party, but I do know that Kathleen Starnes is a true Conservative, that she has much respect within the party and the people that really know her. She is a person with integrity and speaks her truth. She is a hard worker and has done so much the last year, along with the Republican Women to keep the party together. I personally wonder where our party would be if left to the Chair Tom Lawless.
I am a delegate and will be at the school on Saturday, April 4. I will be looking forward to meeting you and shaking you hand for stating your truth on your website. We all must work together to give our party the strength it is lacking.

Alex Witoslawski said...

What exactly is wrong with going to see your employer talk at a conference open to the general public? Presumably, if a male is giving a talk to an audience of [mainly] females, it cannot be something so super-secret that only females are allowed to hear.

Matt Collins said...

Mrs. Brooks,

It was your mistake to decide against me without at least holding a conversation with me. This was offered as you mentioned several times by both myself and by a mutual friend.

Your actions of innuendo, smear, attack, and FUD against me were damaging to the Party and unnecessary. If you had asked me about the issues of which you raised I would've been more than happy to explain. I still maintain that you were working for my opposition, and being used by her camp as a tool or proxy, even if not consciously or knowingly.

But since you took the time and effort and have come to me in person I will take the next step forward in an effort to put this behind us. Because as I mentioned you and I probably agree on more than we disagree and we should work together to get limited-government conservatives elected into office so that we can fix the Party with the ultimate goal of fixing the country.

If you would like to delete all posts and comments in this blog regarding this subject I would be willing to support you in that. I see no reason why this correspondence needs to stand as it would only serve as a distraction from this point forward.

-Matt Collins
Vice Chair - Davidson County Republican Party
Vice Chair - Republican Liberty Caucus
Davidson County Coordinator - Campaign for Liberty