State Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox didn’t sugarcoat the damage his party suffered during the 2012 election.
He acknowledged losses at both the federal and state levels made it a year of “bad news” for the GOP. But he also sees the pendulum swinging back.
He sees tax increases at the state level and a per capita debt that is unequaled. He sees an ambitious Democratic governor who borrowed the Republican mantra of fiscal conservatism to get elected, and then rammed home gun control legislation that attacks the Second Amendment.
He sees the country moving in the wrong direction because of the Democrats. And he sees a giant window of opportunity for his party to offer itself as an alternative to voters.
“There’s not a better time to be supporting the Republican Party, because our country is not in good shape,” he told a gathering of roughly 75 at the Schenectady County GOP Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner Wednesday. “There isn’t a better time for the Republican message and substance.”
Cox urged the party to find strong candidates and finance them well, both locally and in state races. He urged them to organize carefully so they can spread the party’s message of hope into the future.
Cox, the keynote speaker during the event at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, vowed to regain Republican control of a clear majority in the state Senate, which now has more Democrats but is still under GOP control. He also vowed to restore the party’s “super minority” in the state Assembly — a term he’s used in the past to describe the Republican’s voting block in the Democratic stronghold.
Cox cited other times when the party seemed to be facing an uncertain future. But with a Democratic president starting the first year of his final term in office, he said the time for the party to realize gains is upon them.
“The good news is, it’s turning,” he said. “History will tell you it’s turning.”
State Sen. Kathy Marchione echoed this sentiment when she addressed the party. The newly installed legislator was given a standing ovation as she approached the podium to stump for the party ideals.
Marchione urged her fellow Republicans to stand firmly against tax hikes, fee increases and wasteful spending. She also urged them to strongly fight for Second Amendment rights and against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control legislation.
She also urged them to increase the role of women in leadership roles in the party, citing a number of strong female leaders now operating in town committees across Schenectady County. She said party leaders should do more to recruit, mentor and support women in the party.
“We need to recognize and break down the real barriers that exist for women,” she said.
Speakers also included Mike Miller, the director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. Miller blasted Cuomo’s gun control legislation as unconstitutional and urged Republicans to embrace the fight to protect the Second Amendment.
“We need to tell them this is the part that will stand up for your party rights,” he said.
County Committee Chairman James Buhrmaster urged his fellow Republicans to reflect upon their past losses, but not dwell. Calling the Republicans “the party of ideas,” he said the time to rally is now.
“This is where we are. We know where we need to go,” he said. “Don’t stop now.”