May 19th, 2016 was a jam-packed evening for the Beach Cities Republicans.
Before the evening begins, key board member Peter Michel was ready to go with all the information, the set-up, and everything else.
This was an exciting meeting waiting to happen for me, since I had contacted community leaders in the Republican Party, and local elected officials who have brought incredible hope as well as positive change to their cities.
Our flyer for the meeting advertised some high-power Hispanic Republicans in the state of California, focusing no the South Bay:
Rube Barrales, the Founder of GROW Elect, was one of the first people I contacted to serve as a guest speaker.
I was really thrilled that he took up the offer.
I reached out Mayor Suzanne Fuentes of El Segundo (who was recently re-installed as mayor despite the change in councilmembers in the last election). She has done an incredible job in "The Second City", fighting for fiscal discipline and public safety.
|Chris Castillo (right) brought fellow conservative Cudahy activist|
Francisco Torres (left) to BCR meeting
Last--but in no ways least--Mayor Alex Vargas of Hawthorne came, too.
I noticed that he had spoken in other clubs in the past, including the San Fernando Valley region. The lack of outreach to these successful Republicans in our cities, particularly the heavily Democratic cities like Hawthorne, Lawndale, etc., really bothered me.
Vargas has been tirelessly working for his city, too, and he needed all the help he could get for his bid for mayor.
And he won!
What can California Republicans learn from Alex, from Suzanne, from Ruben?
Our meetings hold a no-host dinner, then our meeting begins in earnest at 7pm.
We had a packed room, fifty people, including first-time guests as well as a few individuals who had not had time to attend the meetings for the past few months.
Our May 19th meeting was busy and filled. Incredible and wonderful? Who would have thought that a Republican club in Los Angeles County would be taking in more members? Most liberal politics have determined that with a wild, unfiltered front-runner like Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, Republicans across the country would be hurt.
All of this is a lie. I know Republicans of diverse backgrounds who support Donald Trump.
The three Hispanic Republicans who addressed the group had diverse opinions about Donald Trump, but unity increased in the room.
Before the three guests spoke, a number of guests talked about their respective bids for Congress.
Surprisingly enough, two young Hispanic Republicans are running for Congress. Omar Navarro is challenging Maxine Waters, and Chris Castillo is running to replace Janice Hahn in the 44th Congressional District. Navarro is assured entry into the Top Two against Waters. Recent polling has shown Castillo making into the Top Two despite a wide field of candidates running.
Ken Wright of Marina Del Rey is challenging Ted Lieu in the 33rd Congressional District, stepping up to ensure that no Democrat coasts to re-election without a challenge. He spoke for five minutes about his concerns for the district, including Lieu's power grabs. All of this is wrong. The Santa Monica Bay needs fiscal discipline and respect for the rule of law. Lieu has tried to play himself up as pro-Israel, and that he voted against the abhorrent Iran deal.
Actually, no deal.
|Ken Wright for Congress|
I wish Dr. Wright (he's a pediatric ophthalmologist) the best.
This evening was special also because four people were running for a seat on the BCR board. It's really inspiring that so many people want to play a larger role in Republican Party and Republican club leadership. In November 2015, four people wanted to be BCR President, and two people sough the Second VP slot.
|Omar Navarro, newly-installed Second VP|
with Ruben Barrales
The winner? Omar Navarro! He is running for Congress, and will help grow the Beach Cities Republicans in the process. I have to step back and really appreciate the growing bench of talent in the club. David Hadley served as President of BCR, then chaired the 66th Central Committee, and now represents us in the state assembly! What a road, what a record!
I am really glad that more people are getting involved! Who submitted their names for the Second VP slot? Charlotte Svolos, special ed teacher who is also running for state senate. Claude Todoroff of the Torrance-Lomita Republican Assembly. Omar Navarro and also Arthur Plourde submitted applications. Charlotte could not attend because of another commitment, and Plourde did not show up, either.
For the remainder of the meeting, our three guests spoke about their local events, how they got elected, and what Republicans need to do to expand their outreach, influence, and success in the state of California.
|Fuentes talks El Segundo!|
Fuentes served on the El Segundo planning commission before her election to city council. She followed the call to serve her city: "If not you, then who?" Unlike most Democratic politicians, she has a day job--an engineer!--and yet she still makes the time to take the role of conservative leadership in her city. Once again, El Segundo is the most business-friendly city in Los Angeles County!
She fielded a number of great questions from the audience. She is standing up to Big Labor in her backyard, and presides over a city working closely with another refinery--Chevron--which has experienced no problems compared to the Torrance refinery.
For an interim, founding member Tom Bristow walked about the first President, Harry Eicher, who unfortunately passed away earlier this year. His vision to unite the South Bay Republicans. Eicher enjoys an estimable legacy, with Republicans in local office and in the state assembly, too!
RIP, Harry! The BCR would be nothing--literally--without you!
Founder of the Beach Cities Republicans
Then Alex Vargas talked about his outreach to different communities, and how the residents of Hawthorne had suffered through three corrupt, incompetent (and Democratic) mayors before electing him. The city is already on a better track. I have spoken with residents who say that the city is in good shape, better than in the past twenty years. Incredible work.
|Alex Vargas talking with conservative activist|
Vargas advised the audience to look for common interests and unity. Too often, Republicans tear each other up, and that kind of dissension needs to stop.
Last of all, Ruben Barrales of GROW Elect addressed the audience. His organization. GROW Elect, has accomplished amazing victories. Latino Republicans are winning seats to school boards and city councils all over the state. A tireless worker intent on expanding the Republican brand.
It's about networking ... and working. Make the calls, knock on the doors, walk the precincts. Ruben himself became a County Board Supervisor ... in uber-liberal San Mateo County! He has walked the walk, and has every right to talk the talk!
Barrales was walking precincts for two other candidates later that week, and beyond. What an example to follow!
BCR meetings have transformed into incredible, lively events, even long after the meetings ends.
|El Camino College Republicans|
with Chris Castillo and Omar Navarro
Seven more people joined our club, as many member eagerly renewed their membership. More young people are joining our ranks, many of diverse ethnic backgrounds, from Inglewood, Hawthorne, and San Pedro!
We the People are taking back our state, one city at a time, one district time.
|From left to right: Ruben Barrales, Arthur Schaper, Suzanne Fuentes, Alex Vargas|
Assemblyman David Hadley has reached out to every corner of the 66th Assembly District and beyond. Local leaders in heavily Democratic as well as Republican area are proving the liberal naysayers wrong, showing that the Republican Party has a big tent ready to welcome all who want life, liberty, and opportunity.