Thursday, February 19, 2015

Norm Hughes: The RIGHT Choice For Michigan Republican Chair

One must think of the Michigan Republican Party as a business as the Michigan Republican Party is a multi-million dollar operation.  Continuing with this thought  the delegates can be considered the board members who are responsible for choosing a new CEO to run the company.  When any board chooses a CEO, you would want that
Norm Hughes (right) with Ronald & Nancy Reagan
person to have the experience and values your corporation represents, especially when that CEO is also going to be paid a sizable salary.  The Michigan Republican Chair is paid a sizable salary.   

Two years ago in 2013 there were two candidates running for State Chairman, Bobby Schostak and Todd Courser and the board was split. One had experience and connections and the other did not. Do we renew the contract of our current experienced and connecct CEO or do we hire a new one that did not?  Even though Todd had a great resume, he had no experience to take over this position. He never worked with past State Chairman, never was a county chair or district chair.  This made him unqualified to be State Party Chair even though he appeared at the time and has proven through time to be quite conservative.    Meanwhile Bobby Schostak  was the incumbent Chairman and was previously the chief fundraiser for the Party.  Now Bobby had the experience and connections, but many questioned  his level of conservatism.  Weighing the two options, Bobby who might not have been as conservative as we would have liked but he had the experience and connections to keep the Republican Party in control in Michigan.   This is why I and many others endorsed Bobby last term over Todd Courser and why the majority of the delegates voted for Bobby.  What turned out to be a disappointment was how many our of fellow Republican legislators, that we helped get elected and with Bobby as Chair, turned out to not be as conservative as we were hoped. 

Flash forward to 2015 and we have the following candidates running for Michigan Republican Chair -- Ronna Romney McDaniel, Dr. Kimberly Shmina and Norm Hughes.  I know all of them and they are all fine people.  

I served with Ronna on the 11th District Congressional Committee before she became National Committeewoman to replace Terri Lynn Land when Terri ran for U.S. Senate.  She is intelligent, approachable, pleasant and friendly person, which is why so many are drawn to her.

I know Kimberly Shmina and first met her with her husband Michael at an event in Port Huron a few years ago.  Kimberly is a strong conservative, well educated as she holds a doctorate degree.  She teaches at Wayne State and has helped set up the first Republican Club on campus there.  She also has converted inner-city Democrats to the the Conservative Republican side.

Both Ronna and Kimberly Shmina though as intelligent as they are have not had any experience as a chair running a congressional district or county party.  The lack of experience is concerning.

Norm Hughes
Norm Hughes is the only candidate who has been a successful District Chair, and County Chair, and who has co-founded not one, but the two biggest grass roots movements in recent Michigan History. The Tax Limitation Amendment limiting government growth and Freedom To Work.  Norm is also the only candidate that has worked with a multi-billion dollar budget.

Norm chairs Michigan Freedom To Work, building it to 218 groups with more than 70,000 members and 20,000 businesses. Some of people backing one of our opponents asked him to wait. Norm knew there was a perfect storm in Michigan’s economy, and a narrow time within which this might be done. He would not take “no” when so many said it could never be done.  Many put blood sweat and tears into Right to Work/Freedom To Work.  This was not a new battle that came into play when Rick Snyder was elected Governor as  Right to Work has been a battle that has been going on since at least the 1970s and Norm has been in politics since that time.

He was the Michigan Executive Directer of the 1976 Reagan campaign and was a Reagan delegate to the 1976 and 1980 GOP Conventions. Keep in mind, the incumbent Presidential nominee in 1976 was Gerald Ford, a Michigander.  The quickest way to lose friends within your party is to go against one of your own nationally.   Norm felt that Ford was not conservative enough and felt that Reagan was the better choice. 

In 1982 Norm joined President Reagan's  Administration. His
Norm Hughes (left) With Ronald & Nancy Reagan
first assignment was as Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Renewable Energy, a Senior Executive Service sub-cabinet position. The annual budget was $ 1.8 Billion. He embarked on a detailed review of all programs, then all contracts. It was an 18-20 hours a day, six+ days a week experience with the program directors, contract researchers and congressional staff stonewalling and fighting all the way.  Under Norm’s leadership he cut  $1 Billion out of $1.8 Billion and  he believe he could have taken it down to about $220 million if special interests and congress didn't get in the way.

Based on Norm’s incredible success in his first position in the Reagan administration,  Reagan asked Norm to take a second assignment as Senior Policy Advisor and Associate Director Designate for Emergency Operations at FEMA, an Executive IV level (sub-cabinet) position. It was a larger budget and a national security, Continuity of Government program that due to national security he cannot talk much about, even though there have been books and articles that revealed some of the facilities and programs involved.  Norm was, essentially, trained to be the next Chief of Staff for a new or interim President should the worse case happen. 

As Norm continued to amaze the Reagan administration he was appointed to a third assignment where he was on a Presidential Commission with ten cabinet officers.
Perhaps equally important are the executive assignments he has accomplished in politics, from campaign manager and Chief of Staff for a member of Congress to directing Reagan's Michigan campaign in Michigan, co-founder of the Tax Limitation Amendment (TLA) and Michigan Freedom To Work (MFTW)
movements. Both were built to huge state-wide grass roots organizations. As Chair and strategist of Michigan Freedom to Work he built the coalition to 218 groups, 70,000 members and 20,000 businesses.

Norm has also co-founded Michigan Conservative Union and Chair Michigan
Conservative Political Action Conference, the premier Michigan conservative planning and networking event each year.

Norm's goal while chair is to help the National Committeeman and Committeewoman have the tools necessary to make their jobs more easier and productive.  Per my conversation with Norm he feels Ronna can be one of the best Committeewomen in the Country is if she was given more tools to work with, because she is smart and personable.  

Dr. Kimberly Shmina could also be a future force to reckon with if she and Norm work together.  As stated Kimberly Shmina is a fine conservative and very intelligent, she should easily learn the ins and outs of running a Party by being mentored by Norm during his stay in office.  In fact all could learn from Norm's many years of political experience and education. 

Norm has been at the forefront during this campaign answering the tough media questions.  He has not shied away from the Media.  Norm feels you must not hide from the media while running for office as if you cannot handle the media now, how will you do in office?

Norm so far has hit a grand slam with every media question thrown at him.  This is important as the Republican Chairman will be looking wits with a tough Democratic Chair, Lon Johnson who is a strong debater in his own right.  Republicans would be foolish to underestimate Lon.  

Perhaps this is why the Democrats have primarily focused on Norm Hughes in their attacks during this State Chairman race.  Norm Hughes is the one they least want as chair due to his knowledge, experience and strong debate skills. 

Based on all the qualifications that Norm Hughes brings to the table versus the other candidates, it makes sense to hire Norm Hughes as CEO of our company -- Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

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