Local Republicans gather for annual convention

Pipestone County Republicans held their annual convention Saturday, Feb. 25 at the community room at the Pipestone County Courthouse. Twenty-one people attended the nearly two-hour meeting to take care of party business and hear from various speakers and officials.

Among the business conducted at the meeting was the election of delegates and board members. Brandon Berkenpas was elected chairman, Benjamin Denton was elected deputy chairman, Julie Blom was elected secretary and Marge Urlick was elected treasurer. Additional non-officer board members and alternates were also elected.

Board members serve two-year terms and are responsible for organizing activities and promoting Republican candidates. The board meets a few times a year to conduct business.

The speakers and officials at the convention included Congressional District 7 Republican Chairman Craig Bishop, representatives of Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach, Minnesota District 21 Sen. Bill Weber and Minnesota District 21A Rep. Joe Schomacker.

Weber and Schomacker spoke for the longest amount of time, providing an update on the state legislature and taking several questions from those in attendance. The two expressed their dissatisfaction with several bills passed into law or under consideration by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor controlled legislature and Gov. Tim Walz. They included abortion rights, a 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040 initiative, restoring voting rights for felons, a driver’s license for all bill, and a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a driver’s license, state identification card or learner’s permit.

“It is a sad day up in the legislature right now, to be honest with you,” Weber said.
He said Republicans need to work together with other Republicans who don’t share all their views and try to pick up seats in the suburbs or risk being permanently relegated to a minority party.

“If we wind up with some candidates once in a while, even on a statewide basis, who aren’t as strong as we want them to be on certain issues, I don’t care if you have to hold your nose to vote for them, that’s the only way we’re going to make substantive change,” Weber said.

Area Republicans will meet next at the Congressional District 7 Republican Convention March 24 and 25 in Alexandria.