To this point, I have been cautious about commenting on the rumors that Rick Graber may be called up to the National Republican Party. At this very moment it is not known whether or not Rick Graber will be leaving. But the rumor mill is exploding- the time has come for me to acknowledge this and have my say.
My ears perked when I heard a couple of names thrown out as replacements for Mr. Graber. Scuttlebutt has it that either Brad Courtney or Reince Priebus could be the next leader of the Wisconsin conservative movement.
Now, I don't know Brad Courtney. I met him once, shook his hand and we gave each other a smile. In fact, because we were at a political event, there was no time to talk and get to know each other. All in all, Brad Courtney struck me as a very nice man. He made a great first impression.
However, I do know the other person who's name is being tossed around- Reince Priebus. I met Reince a couple of years ago at the grand opening of the GOP offices in Kenosha County. At the time, Reince was running for State Senator against Bob Wirch. Since I was very new to the GOP and I really didn't know anyone, I kinda of huddled in the corner for a little while just observing what was going on. A very friendly faced guy walked up to me, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Reince". Of course, I think the very first question out of my mouth was "How do you say your name again?" That was the start of a friendship.
Let me tell you about my friend Reince. Politically he is a conservative. Not some wishy-washy conservative, but a dedicated hard working real conservative. No one has been more dedicated to conservative politics in Kenosha County than Reince. Reince was there when conservatives could only garner 15% to 20 % of the vote in Kenosha. Still, nothing discouraged him- he kept working. Over the years, the hard work and dedication are showing signs of paying off. During the 2004 election, Reince received more votes when running for State Senator, than any other conservative has ever gotten in Kenosha County. I don't think President Bush even got as many votes as Reince Priebus did in Kenosha. Unfortunately, it was still only 48% of the vote. (Someday, I would love to discuss with you folks, the voter fraud that took place in Kenosha. It was stunning. We watched bus loads of people arriving from Illinois on election day, who then disappeared into Kenosha County. One can only imagine what they were doing here. Sigh.)
Not only has Reince pushed the conservative movement forward, but his also dragged Kenosha County conservatives to the state level. Kenosha County is no longer considered a hopelessly blue county, but now even the state has begun to recognize the conservative movement taking place in Kenosha. There are really and truly some conservatives in Kenosha County and we are making some noise. No doubt about it, Reince is our loudest cheerleader. It's just a matter of time, people.
Still, it is thru tragedy and defeat that you really get to see the true heart of a person. Not so long ago, Kenosha County conservatives lost one of it's greatest friends. In October of 2005, we lost a true conservative friend named Jennifer Trapp, wife of our 1st District Chair- Bob Trapp. We were stunned, we were numb, we were heartbroken and we were looking for some leadership thru this tragedy. During the weeks and months that followed, Bob Trapp, Bob Geason and Reince Priebus stepped forward and provided leadership. I don't know how they did it thru their own heartbreak, but they supported each other and got the conservatives moving again. Now we are moving forward as a team.
Reince would be the first one to tell you that he is not a perfect man. He has his strengths and weakness' like the rest of us, but Reince has chosen the Lord to be his captain, and clearly that is where he draws his strength. Reince is also a very lucky man, too. Behind him stands an incredibly supportive beautiful wife and an adorable little boy named Jack. What a great family!
Who knows what will happen in the next several weeks? In my heart of hearts I know that no matter what the future will bring, whether it be the RPW chair position or not, Reince will continue to be leader in conservative politics in Wisconsin.
When Wisconsin conservatives go looking for a new true conservative leader, there is no truer friend to the RPW, than Reince Priebus.
The days of Wisconsin being a slightly blue state are coming to an end, and Reince will be leading the charge to turn Wisconsin red! We are behind you all the way Reince!!!!!