On May 7th, the residents and Executive Committees of the Fargo Legislative Districts will be convening at the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center for local elections.

From personal experience, I can tell you that these elections are important.

Executive committees have a number of responsibilities over their two-year terms. They assist in the campaigns of their State Representatives and Senators, help raise money for those campaigns as well as the districts themselves, coordinate various political events, and promote community awareness and intercommunication.

Above all, they help set the tone and direction that the state party will take in two ways. First, they are major players in holding our State Representatives and Senators accountable – if our public servants promise one thing and do another, our district executives will promote awareness and threaten to remove support in the next election. Second, the chairpersons of each individual district are the sole voters of the State Executive Committee, which is comprised of 5 members.

Who the chairpersons elect to the State Executive Committee goes a long way in influencing State and Federal elections, including and especially which candidates are endorsed and supported, especially at the State Convention.

For example, if you recall last year, almost 70% of ND Republicans supported Rick Santorum and Ron Paul during the primary, yet the delegation that was sent to the GOP National Convention consisted of over 70% Romney delegates.

Our system of government has been built bottom-up for us, so that everyday people like you and I have a chance to be involved in public policy. This is a perfect chance to get involved locally and influence that policy, all the way to the top. So here is what you need to know about the Reorganization Meeting:

It will be held May 7th at the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center.

Visit the Cass County ND website and review the legislative district elections maps to find out what district you are in if you don’t already know.

Visit the NDGOP.org website and search for your District Chair under the “Leaders” tab.

Give your leader a call and ask what you need to know and need to bring for the meeting. Some districts charge membership fees as a means to raise money for the district and increase delegation to the state convention, but not all, and some are more strict in their identification requirements than others.

Also ask your Chair if your executive committee will be voted on at-large by the district or by precinct chair alone, and ask for a copy of the bylaws. You have a right to review them. I is very hard to fill all of the local positions available, so when precinct chair positions are vacant, executive committee elections are typically at large, even if the district bylaws state otherwise. If it is established that the residents of a precinct (the subdivision of the whole district) can only vote on the precinct committee, and only the chair of that precinct committee can vote on the executive committee, you will want to place more emphasis on your precinct committee vote.

You should also familiarize yourself with Roberts Rules of Order – the basic system of communication to keep political procedure running smoothly – if you aren’t already, so that you will be able to follow along and be thoroughly engaged during the meeting.

During the meeting, feel free to ask important questions of your executives – what they believe in, what their goals are for the district, and who they plan on supporting for the State Executive committee (this, of course, means you should familiarize yourself with who may be taking part in the next state race).

Above all, let your executive committee know the pace at which you feel the meeting should run. Newcomers are always welcome, and everyone should feel free to encourage the meeting to move at a pace with which everyone is comfortable and can follow along.

Truly, I hope to see you there.