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NW Austin Republican Women
February 2012 Volume 2, Issue 2
Political ad paid for by the NWARW PAC, Susan Friedrich, Treasurer.
Railroad Commissioner Smitherman speaking at March 5 meeting
Barry Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011. He is a 2012 Republican candidate for election to the unexpired term. Barry, a fourth generation Texan, has a unique blend of private and public sector experience and has long served the people of Texas with honor and distinction.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Smitherman speaking at March 5 meeting Update from Senator John Cornyn Finding Our Club Online Celebrating Presidents’ Day Supporting the Republican Party in 2012 TPPF: Fiscal Responsibility in 2013 Legislature Messages from the Executive Committee Message from the President 1 1 2 3 3 3 5 6
energy sector. Since his appointment at the Railroad Barry has a background in finance, working in the private sector in the banking industry prior to his 2004 appointment to the Public Utility Commission, where in 2007 he became Chairman. At the PUC, Barry managed with a keen eye on efficiency, ending unnecessary expenditures and programs, while managing a staff that crafted and oversaw one of the fastest-growing electric markets in the world. The move from the PUC to the RRC is the next step forward for Barry to exercise his proven, free-market principled leadership within the Barry is a lifelong conservative and has been an active Republican for 30 years. An active primary voter, volunteer, donor and past GOP Convention Delegate, Barry is a no stranger to the Party. For details on this month’s meeting, please see page 6. Commission, Barry has instituted an agency-wide review of agency processes and procedures with an eye towards increasing efficiency, promoting transparency, and being more responsive to the needs of Texans.
UPDATE FROM SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: Cornyn Vows to Repeal
Unconstitutional Healthcare Mandate for Faith-Based Employers
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on WASHINGTON February 7 made the following comments regarding the Administration’s mandate that faith-based employers provide healthcare coverage for certain services they could find objectionable and immoral based on their beliefs: Sen. Cornyn addressed the issue at a Senate Republican “This is just the latest intrusion here in individual religious liberty that represents what we believe is an unacceptable growth in the size and scope of the federal government, most clearly evidenced by the President’s health care bill, the so-called Affordable Care Act, which limits the liberties and choices that He is a cosponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Leadership press conference on February 7, 2012. “I hope the Administration will back down from this rule that violates conscience. If it does not, I can guarantee you that we will do everything within our power to repeal it.” Americans get to make in their lives.
Act of 2011 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, both of which would provide protections for
Please see Senator Cornyn on page 4
NWARW February Newsletter
Finding our club online
Catching up with political internet users
According to Pew Internet Project, approximately 54% of all American adults used the internet to get political information and join political activities during the 2010 election cycle. 52% of women in the United States use the internet for political purposes according to the same study. It is clear that in order to grow our ranks, Republican Women clubs must be present on the internet today. Last fall, the NW Austin Republican Women began using iContact, an email list manager, to improve the look and functionality of email communication. This month, we launched http://www.nwarw.org, a brand-new website with a new look, greater functionality, and increased content. The web service used to create the site is
Seven percent of adult internet users went online to organize or get information about in-person meetings related to the 2010 campaign, according to the Pew Internet Project.
Weebly.com, a free content creation and management service that will be easy to pass on as our executive board changes over time. The new URL was donated by club president Michele Samuelson. Our club is also on Facebook, for those who use social media tools to communicate. We are located at: http://www.facebook.com/nwaustinrepublicanwomen. You can help spread the word about our club using basic internet tools – forward our emails to your friends, share our page on Facebook, and talk about coming to meetings with your friends online. The internet doesn’t replace regular person-to-person contact, though! Don’t forget to talk to your neighbors and call your friends, too!
Celebrating Presidents’ Day
From About.com article by Martin Kelly
The third Monday in February is designated in the United States as Washington's Birthday, more commonly known as Presidents' Day. This list looks at facts and traditions surrounding the celebration of this holiday. 1. Not Officially Presidents' Day As stated in the introduction, the federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is not officially called Presidents' Day. Instead, it is Washington's Birthday. There was an attempt in 1968 to officially name it Presidents' Day. However, this suggestion died in committee. Many states, however, choose to call their own celebration on this day "Presidents' Day." 2. Washington's Birthday Celebrated During Washington's Lifetime Many across the newly formed United States celebrated Washington's Birthday in the 17th century while George Washington was still alive. However, it wasn't until 1885 that Chester Arthur signed the bill that made it a federal holiday. 3. Abraham Lincoln's Birthday is Not a Federal Holiday Even though many states celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday concurrently with Washington's birthday, it is not a federally designated holiday. 4. Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries Traditionally, many celebrated and continue to celebrate Washington's Birthday with desserts made with cherries. Cherry pie, cherry cake, bread made with cherries, or just a huge bowl of cherries are often enjoyed on this day. Of course, this relates to the apocryphal story that Washington would not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.
From this article online: http://americanhistory.about.com/od/holidays/tp/presidents_day.htm
NWARW February Newsletter
Supporting the Republican Party in 2012
Ways You Can Make a Difference
We are Republican Women, and that means we do what we can to help elect Republicans at all levels of government. So how do we accomplish that task? One way is to donate to the Republican Party. The party’s function is to promote candidates and run the primary, both of which rely on grassroots s support. Many people don’t know that the county party, state party, and national party do not share resources, and that supporting the party at the county and state level in particular can be a crucial aid during election years. Locally, the NW Austin Republican Women is a lican partner club for the Travis County Republican Party (TCRP), and as part of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, the club supports the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). You can find both online at http://www.travisgop.org and http://www.texasgop.org. In Travis County, Republican candidates rely on the grassroots to help spread the word and build a network of voters to win elections. You can find a list of local candidates at http://www.traviscountygop.org or talk to any of the Please see Republicans on page 4 Our club is striving to become a Charter Grassroots RW with the Republican Party of Texas. Please see Vice President Cassie Daniel ( (email@example.com) at our next meeting for more information.
Join the Republican Party of Texas Grassroots Club – contact Vice President Cassie Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org
TPPF: Budding Recovery Endangered if Lawmakers Forsake Fiscal Responsibility in 2013
By The Honorable Talmadge Heflin and Robert McDowall
Texas’ economy continues to shows signs of recovery and resurgence. According to the most recent set of employment statistics , the state’s labor market added 20,200 net new jobs in December 2011, bringing total job creation ob for the year to well over 200,000 new positions. Texas’ December unemployment rate, 7.8 percent, also outperformed the national average, 8.3 percent, meaning that the state’s unemployment rate has now been at or below the national average for 60 consecutive 0 months. In January 2013, the next legislative session will convene Bolstered by a strong labor market, economic activity, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is trending well. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts , “In 2011, Texas real gross domestic product amid a period of great budget difficulties. Current estimates project that the state will have budget deficit of at $3 billion to $4.5 billion for the current biennium, and a $10 billion to $13 billion budget shortfall for the next. The Comptroller’s office also states that sales tax collections, the state’s main source of tax revenue, are up almost 10 percent in January compared to a year ago. Collections in Texas have now increased f 22 for consecutive months. All things considered, the Texas recovery is well under way, but there is a threat on the horizon. grew by 2.4 percent, compared with 1.6 percent GDP growth for the nation.” Helped by an uptick in economic activity, the state’s revenue picture is also improving.
Please see TPPF: Heflin on page 4
NWARW February Newsletter
Senator Cornyn from page 1
individuals and organizations who, because of their religious beliefs, are opposed to certain government mandates included in Obamacare. Specifically, both bills would insert a conscience clause into the Patient Protection and Affordable
Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Armed Services and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s
US Senator John Cornyn
organization’s religious beliefs.
Care Act that would ensure these faith-based
organizations are not required to offer their employees coverage private for insurance that includes birth control, sterilizations,
subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.
and abortifacients if this is contrary to the
TPPF: Heflin from page 3
Virtually all of the deficit and shortfall accrue to the surge in obligations under the Medicaid program. If the Texas economy hopes to continue its improvement over the next few years, it is imperative that the Legislature close these two budget gaps with existing revenues and avoid any job-killing tax increases. Below are just a few ways they can reasonably go about accomplishing those goals: • Ask state agencies to find savings in their current budgets and identify savings in their appropriations requests; • Build the budget from scratch using zero-based budgeting to justify every dollar spent; By following these fiscally responsible recommendations— and avoiding new or increased taxes—the gains being made by the Texas economy can be protected and enhanced by the 83rd Texas Legislature. • Reduce the size of the education bureaucracy to focus on the students. • Eliminate costly state mandates; and • Institute a statewide hiring freeze; • Consolidate and eliminate non-essential state agencies and programs;
(Courtesy of the Texas Public Policy Foundation)
Republicans from page 3
candidates and candidate representatives who come to our monthly meetings to learn how you can help. Candidates running for statewide office have their information listed at http://candidates.texasgop.org There are many ways to help things run smoothly during election season, including serving as an election judge or clerk. If you live in Travis County, contact Lisa Messana at email@example.com and she can plug you in. Watch our website, emails, newsletter, and meeting announcements for more ways you can help in 2012!
Live in Travis County? Want to serve as an election judge or clerk for the primary or general election? Contact Lisa Messana with the Travis County Republican Party at firstname.lastname@example.org
Messages from the Executive Committee
This month, we’re answering some frequently asked questions.
The Mamie Eisenhower Literacy Project
Our club’s traditional focus is on education and literacy. In an effort to expand our outreach, we are participating in the Mamie Eisenhower Library Project. Each month, we will donate a book on conservative issues or personalities to a local library, on behalf of our guest speaker. MELP is the National Federation of Republican Women’s oldest literacy program, celebrating more than 45 years of book donations from an approved list to schools and libraries.
How can we RSVP for meetings?
You can RSVP for a meeting three different ways. One, go to http://www.nwarw.org and fill out the form. Two, email Susan at email@example.com. Or three, if you are a member, you can RSVP to the person who calls you the week before the meeting.
I sent an RSVP. Why am I still getting phone calls about meetings?
Our Telephone Committee (chaired by Carol Gontko) makes calls to members each month to remind them about the upcoming meeting, even if they sent an RSVP to the treasurer. We all get busy and sometimes things come up, so we’re calling to make sure the meeting is on your calendar and confirm your attendance. The Telephone Committee is also there to keep in touch with you, in case we haven’t seen you in awhile.
I would like to get more involved, but I don’t want to be a committee chairman or officer. What options are there?
One of the best ways to get more involved is to sign up as a greeter for one of our monthly meetings. We get a lot of visitors, candidates, and of course our regular members at meetings, and we need friendly faces to help welcome them all! Sign up to be a greeter by emailing Hospitality Chairman Elaine Lehmann at firstname.lastname@example.org – or talk to her at our next meeting! Another way is to pitch in to organize fundraisers, for our club and for projects we do. Fundraising Chairman and VP Cassie Daniel is always looking for enthusiastic helpers, and maybe this is the right fit for you! Email Cassie at email@example.com. Maybe you’re a social butterfly, or you’re not shy talking politics with friends and acquaintances. You might enjoy creating membership drives and helping us reach our goals to grow the club! Talk to VP for Membership Jennifer Stratton (email firstname.lastname@example.org) to see how you can get involved! Do you know of community volunteer opportunities that your fellow members might want to do? Talk to Caring for America Chairman Evelyn Farmer (email@example.com). What about campaign or political opportunities? Talk to Campaign Activities Chairman Dr. Rosemary Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) Do you have a completely different idea for how you might get involved? Talk to Club President Michele Samuelson (Michele.email@example.com). There are no limits to what we can accomplish!
NWARW February Newsletter
A Message from the President
RSVP by March 1 NW Austin Republican Women March 2012 Meeting Guest Speaker: Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman Lunch is $16 – Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT Sandwich with French Fries Social at 11:!5am, Meeting at 11:45am Dave & Buster’s, 9333 Research (183/MoPac)
If I go by the buds on my Arizona ash tree, spring has sprung in Travis County! But when I look at the calendar and still see no primary date set in stone, I question this certainty. At the time of this writing, the court in San Antonio has eliminated the possibility of a primary before May 29, and we are still waiting for an agreement on interim electoral maps. This is totally uncharted political and legal territory, and everyone is improvising as they go along. I feel as though I’ve said this thousands of times, but as soon as we know more, I will pass it on. In the meantime, there is still a primary season taking place! Have you decided whether to back one of the Republican candidates left in the race for president? Or are you among those holding out hope for a brokered convention? Either way, it has been a wild, long ride that is still going. Super Tuesday promises to be a lot of fun – that’s the day after our March meeting, come to think of it! Speaking of our March meeting – Commissioner We’ve
Smitherman will be joining us, wrapping up our series of
President – Michele Samuelson Vice President – Cassie Daniel 1st VP Membership – Jen Stratton 2nd VP Programs – Joyce Melugin Treasurer – Susan Friedrich Recording Secretary – Rhonda Murphy Corresponding Secretary – Cherri Spradling Chaplain – Chris Sale
speakers on the Texas Railroad Commission. heard from some well-qualified and
individuals in the last several months, and we’re now one of the most well-informed groups on the energy issues facing our state. I hope you’ll help your neighbors, family and friends make an informed choice about who they’ll support for our Railroad Commission candidates. I say this every month, but I really do hope you’ll bring a
Campaign Activities – Dr. Rosemary Edwards Caring for America – Evelyn Farmer Fundraising – Cassie Daniel Historian – Carolyn Isbell Hospitality – Elaine Lehmann Legislative – Murlene Johnston Telephone – Carol Gontko We are in need of chairmen for Awards and By-Laws – please see Michele if interested
friend or two to our March, April, and May meetings. Every election year seems like the most important one of our lives – but I think you’ll agree, that’s because they are all that important. Ending Obamacare, achieving real energy independence, and saving our financial future are all on the line this year. Remember to RSVP by March 1 to Susan (firstname.lastname@example.org)! See you on the 5th! Michele Samuelson 2011-2012 NWARW President
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