Letter to the editor: Wray gives rebuttal to criticism
To the editor:
Following my letter (July 23) concerning the current conflict among Republicans in Kansas, there have been a series of letters subsequent critical of both me and my politics, which I feel warrant a response.
I would first like to state that I am a lifelong Republican, and come from a family of Republicans.
I am also a lifetime resident of Shawnee, and have been active in politics for 10 years, starting in 2008 when I volunteered for John McCain for President.
Since then, I have volunteered for the campaigns of Republicans like Nick Jordan, Kevin Yoder, Jerry Moran, Pat Roberts and many others.
I have not only supported these people with my time, but have given thousands of dollars to both the Republican National Committee and individual candidates.
Needless to say, there has been a major shift in the Republican Party over the last few years, especially in Kansas — there is no denying this.
I call myself a traditional moderate Republican because the Republican Party that I know is that of Bob Dole, Nancy Kassebaum and Bill Graves.
I believe in individual rights above all, strong public schools, and limited government. This includes taking the focus away from divisive social issues.
Part of the reason the U.S. exists is because people were fleeing the oppressive control over every aspect of their lives in Europe.
In 2016, I ran for and was elected as Republican Precinct Committeeman.
As stated, I have lived in the precinct I represent for my entire life, so people know me.
My beliefs have not changed, the party has.
As far as my support for Democrats, I have in my capacity as precinct committeeman supported a single democrat, Vicki Hiatt for State Senate.
I was not alone, many Republicans including former Gov. Bill Graves supported Hiatt.
This was a unique case in which the Democrat was more aligned with the view of my Republican constituents than was the actual Republican.
Does a lifetime of support of the Republican Party get negated because of one election?
Apparently so in the minds of the conservative wing of the party, some of whom I helped elect in the past.
Despite what some have said, I have an acute understanding of my position, which is to represent Republicans in my precinct.
I strongly believe that I have done so, including when I supported Ms. Hiatt, on which action I never received any feedback to the contrary.
The vast majority of people believe that neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties have a monopoly on what is best.
People have certain values that are important to them, and they vote by those issues regardless of political party.
To this point, Bob Dole was a founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.
Kansas Republicans have a strong history of bipartisanship. This hyper-partisan tribalism of the current party is new, and not supported by Republicans, as the 2016 legislative elections showed.
Another charge made in a letter was that I should not be re-elected because I am barred from voting in county party business. This is true.
Sadly, though, it is not indicative of misconduct by me, but of an attempt by current leadership to remain in power regardless of the fact that many Republicans want a return to our traditional ways. A precinct committeeperson does not represent party leadership, she represents their constituents.
In essence, it is not I who has been censored, but the hundreds of Republicans in my precinct.
Just like our government, the party must be representative of its members, not vice-versa.
Threats from those who are not representative of the party at large will not keep me from speaking up for what I believe is right, nor can they tell me that I am not a “ true Republican.”
Nothing can hide my years of support of support for Republican values and candidates everywhere.
Ward 4, Precinct 9 Republican Committeeman