Shelby Williams for Collin County Republican Party Chair - 315 Day Plan

Collin County GOP Chair – My First 315 Day Plan

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  • 02-01-2024
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Below is the outline of my plan for the first 315 days should I be elected as Collin County Republican Party Chair. For the condensed, bulleted version, click here.

Sure, 315 is an odd number, in more ways than one, but that’s the number of days between Primary Election Day on March 5th (for which early voting starts in just over two weeks!), and the start of the next Texas Legislative Session on January 14, 2025.

Be advised now, it’s a detailed plan and will take a little time to read through. It’s not pie-in-the-sky hope and change. It’s an actual plan of action meant to drive results. I hope that’s what you’re looking for in a candidate.

I chose those anchors for two reasons:

    1. I wouldn’t be sworn into the role as Chair and take the gavel until June 17th. Election day is March 5th. You can do the math. There’s too much to do in the 2024 election to wait. For this reason, I’m running not merely to win the election, but to win on March 5th and avoid a runoff election, which would be May 28th, meaning almost three more months of campaigning rather than knuckling down and getting to work. In a 3-way race, this means I would need to get more than 50 percent of the vote–an actual majority, not just a plurality–on March 5th. So I’d better have a plan. Spoiler alert: I have a plan.
    2. We don’t all pack up and go home after the November 2024 election. At least, we’d better not. Getting candidates elected isn’t the ultimate goal–that’s only the beginning. The real job (and the real fun) comes with moving the legislative needle. I’m active at the Capital in Austin every session, and that’s where all of our work culminates.

But there are a few things we need to do between now and then, and there is overlap to these. But before we get to that, since I’m pitching my business plan, I’m going to hit you up for money now and say that if you like my plan below, you can make a campaign contribution here to help me achieve it.

1) Unite the Party

This is much easier said than done. Let’s be real, there’s a lot of infighting in the party, and it’s been increasing for years. But I’ve done this; I was part of doing it with the City of Plano after years of contentious elections.

There are three key things I plan to do to achieve this, and I’ve already begun to do them:

  1. Set the tone, and treat everyone with respect and dignity. I’ve already begun reaching out to people, supporters and detractors alike, to answer questions and share what I have in mind. Not everyone has been supportive of me, but I’ve been supportive of everyone. I’ll be honest, serving on Plano City Council for the past 4 1/2 years honed this, and I wasn’t the best at it at first. But I found my footing and it’s made a huge difference and contributed enormously to my success on City Council. If it can bridge Republicans, Democrats, and Independents (sorry, Libertarians, you just weren’t in the mix), then it can easily bridge Republicans with Republicans.
  2. Expand the leadership base to bring additional people to the table. I want to work with the Executive Committee to create additional leadership roles–roles of real responsibility and accountability, not ceremonial titles, and bring people from the various factions to those roles to work together to advance our shared goals. This also necessitates a distinction between committees and teams. We don’t need more committees. We have enough, and they serve a specific and vital purpose. Committees are for focused deliberation, but by their very nature, they’re not action-oriented. Once the Executive Committee approves a course of action, a team, not a committee, is needed to take actual action. I always want to get people doing what they’re best at and what they’re most passionate about. That’s how we unleash organizational potential. We need specific roles for Legislative Action, which Brandon Burden of North Texas Conservatives did phenomenally last session, as well as Community Outreach, which Jessica Bartnick, President of Collin County Conservative Republicans, would be a natural for. We need leaders for Precinct Chair training and development, Toolkit Development, Recruitment, etc.
  3. Refocus everyone on the overarching objective: advancing Republican values. I’ve heard many times that the job of the Chair is fundraising and winning elections. I disagree. The job of the Chair, and of every Precinct Chair, is to advance the Party’s values. You do that in part by fundraising and winning elections, but again, winning elections is only the beginning. The people we elect were elected to do something with that seat. We, as a party at every level, have lost sight of that while we muck about in lower-level deliberation and bickering. There’s plenty of room for respectful debate and disagreement in the middle around the “how”, but we should all be focused on the “what.” I’ve served on the last two Republican Party of Texas Legislative Priority Committees and have been very focused on the “what” as well as the “how,” and as I have conversations with folks about that, I’m so encouraged by how many people are in complete agreement.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect to have everyone holding hands and singing campfire songs, especially not by late June when I would take the gavel. But a solid “I won’t mess with you if you don’t mess with me” arrangement will be a vast improvement, and one which, if I win the election outright on March 5th, I intend to accomplish by the time I would formally take the office. This will be necessary because I can’t just wave a magic gavel and call forth executive action into being. It requires the vote of the Executive Committee, not a pen and a phone. Working with the Executive Committee to chart out a shared vision will help us achieve our next goal:

2) Modernize Our Electoral Approach

This has everything to do with technology, social media, and organizational management. I want to make real headway with this by the end of August. Let’s tackle them one at a time.

  1. Hooo boy, are we behind! Election cycle after election cycle we work with ad hoc spreadsheets and paper lists. Sometimes we make semi-effective use of blockwalking apps, but they’re only as good as the data we feed them, which too often is from those ad hoc spreadsheets and paper lists. Before I take the gavel, I intend to get our best technological minds to evaluate the best cloud-based tools to integrate for our purposes. We need all of the following at a minimum:
    1. A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). Salesforce is good, but pricey, and many alternatives would work well for us.
    2. A secure, robust database system to serve as the our go-to data source. This needs to be kept up-to-date always with the latest and best information from voter registration lists, blockwalking apps, Precinct Chairs, and volunteers. It will allow us to merge and analyze data from numerous angles with pre-built or ad hoc queries. How did precincts on the west side of the county fare versus precincts on the east side in a given race? Did neighboring precincts in Frisco and McKinney perform differently or have significantly different voter turnout? How much better is voter turnout now that we have a Precinct Chair in this once-vacant precinct? A data visualization tool would be gravy.
    3. A cost-effective mass email solution. Personally, I use Amazon SES. MailChimp and Constant Contact can get really expensive for mass mails, and the biggest benefit are the user-friendly tools and templates, which I already have built into my website.
    4. A good Content Management System (CMS) for our website to allow less-than-fully-tech-savvy folks to make basic content updates easily, including publishing events to a public calendar reliably (don’t get me started!). This also includes web forms to intake information, like new voter info, volunteers, and *ahem* Executive Committee Meeting agenda requests.
    5. A blockwalking app. We already have one, and maybe it’s the best one for us, but it’s still something we need, so on the list it goes.
    6. A good AI platform to manage all of this for us. But AI isn’t there yet. Believe me, I’ve been experimenting with it. So this part at least is just pie-in-the-sky hope and change for now.
  2. We need to make better use of social media. It would be good to have a social media management tool, like Hootsuite or Hubspot, but these aren’t critical for now. What is critical is to manage cohesive campaigns across social media platforms, including effective social media advertising. It’s cost-effective, and we don’t have to hire someone for an arm and a leg to do it. I’m doing it right now myself for my own campaign, and the best thing about ads is you break outside your own organic echo chamber.
  3. Transforming our County Party into a deep, rumbling, 8-cylinder machine. This gets me jazzed. I’m not thinking of your run-of-the-mill well-oiled corporate machine here. I’m thinking more of an old-school V8 Camero; the kind with giant rear tires and an attitude, like it’s ready to take a big savage bite out of the pastel-colored sedan in front of it. The kind of machine that dares you to get in its way. There are 252 precincts in the county. There’s no reason we can’t have that many Precinct Chairs, and three times that many volunteers. That’s about 1,000 people, by the way. But here’s the thing: we have to equip them and enable them to succeed. We have to purposefully develop toolkits and resources from flyers and graphics, to voter lists, to presentations, to scripts, to swag, to lists of venues in each precinct where Precinct Chairs can host socials, etc.

And at all times we have to have more to do than we have volunteers to do it. There’s nothing more demoralizing to a volunteer who’s energized, and raises their hand to get involved, only to be told, “We’ll let you know if anything comes up that you can do.” You can almost hear the sad deflating balloon sound from them when that happens, and it’s inexcusable. We have to have an inexhaustible list of tasks and work to match to anyone, no matter their talents.

This is, incidentally, how we amp up our fundraising tenfold. Here’s my simple plan for raising $2 million a year for the Collin County Republican Party. Collin County is Texas’s 6th largest county, with more than a million people. 100,000 of them are expected to vote in this Republican Primary election, identifying themselves as adult Republicans who care enough about politics to show up and vote in a primary election, and we know how to get in touch with all of them! All it takes is an average contribution of $20 per year from each of those adult Republican voters to hit $2 million. Some won’t give any, some will give $1,000. The real keys will be reaching them all (with that machine of 1,000+ people), and making sure they feel they’re getting a good enough return on their investment to invest an average of $20 per year each. Easy Peasy.

But fundraising isn’t the most powerful thing the machine can do…

3) Reach the Countless Republicans Who Don’t Yet Know They’re Republican

Here’s where things get really interesting, and I want to get the machine moving on this before the summer is over because we have an election to win in November. Sure, in North Texas summer isn’t over until around mid-November, but I still want to start this by September. Based on personal experience, I believe that at least 10 percent of non-Republicans actually align with Republican values and would vote Republican, but they don’t know it because they don’t actually know what the parties stand for! Everyone I’ve spoken with about this thinks it’s more than 10 percent. No one I’ve spoken with thinks it’s less than 10 percent.

So how do we get them to vote Republican? First, we pump the brakes and not do what we’re inclined to do which is knock on their door or approach them on the street and start preaching Republican Party values. Remember, they’re not Republican. We need to first reach them on a human level, not a political level.

We go out into the community, on their turf, and we engage them in the things they care about where we have common interests. It could be a PTA or a volunteer project or a community class. We don’t even need to come equipped with the Republican Party of Texas Platform or our talking points. All we need to do is come with a genuine shared interest and wear our Republican flag on our sleeve. Don’t hide it. Let it be known, not confrontational, but matter-of-factly… incidentally. Engage with them and let them see for themselves that we’re not the fascists they’ve been taught. Let them start to doubt their own assumptions while we keep smiling and treating them as fellow children of God. For some, their assumptions will break down in just a couple of days. For some, it may take years. For some, it may never happen because their mind is made up because Don Lemon told them so, and that’s that. And that’s fine because we’ll reach countless more.

In addition, we should equip Precinct Chairs and volunteers to hold community socials in their precincts. We should make it as easy as possible for them to do so, and give them essentially a community-event-in-a-box. These aren’t the average club meetings that attract the echo chamber. These are meet & greets, happy hours, and other social events to bring in people outside the echo chamber.

A 10 percent voter shift represents a 20 percent electoral shift. That will win elections. That is a return on investment. But that will take time and will be an ongoing effort over years.

4) Win the 2024 Election

This one is self-explanatory, but everything we’ve discussed thus far feeds into it. We equip our team with the updated tools, technology, and training to take on the county by storm. But, you guessed it, that’s only the beginning.

5) Legislative Action

Subtitled “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.” The day after election day, the real work begins. Now is NOT the time to leave the field and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. All these newly elected or re-elected people were elected for a reason, and now it’s time to work with them to do it. The new Congress and the Texas Legislature will convene in just a couple of months. Early bill filing will begin in a month. The next President will be sworn in in January. Now is the time to make our voices heard and start rallying the troops to make our voices heard and prepare to get them to the State Capital once session starts for committee hearings and floor votes.

But that will be in my subsequent 140 day plan (which is how long the regular legislative session lasts).

 

If you’ve made it this far, and if my plan resonates with you, I’m going to hit you up for money again now. Just click the button below and let’s start revving this machine.

 

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