The following remarks were given on December 13, 2014 at the State Committee meeting in Montpelier.
On November 4, 2014 the Vermont Republican Party cleared its first hurdle in re-establishing its prominence in the State of Vermont.
By gaining a net of 8 seats in the House and 2 seats in the Senate we have reversed a 14-year trend of losses in the legislature. Further, our Republican gubernatorial candidate – who courageously ran against a better organized, better known and better funded two term incumbent Democrat – surprised everyone and finished only 2,300 votes behind in a race that will ultimately be decided by the legislature in January. And – our incumbent Lt. Governor Phil Scott handily won re-election with 62%, further exemplifying his position as the people’s Lt. Governor.
We accomplished these gains not through the overwhelming efforts of a single individual, but through the combined steady and consistent efforts of the Vermont Republican State Committee, our candidates, and many volunteers working hard, making sacrifices, setting personal agendas aside and supporting the team ahead of self. This is what made the difference – it’s what ALWAYS makes the difference.
It’s good to celebrate our accomplishments – they are high achievements that were earned through the difficult and tireless work of many. But it is also important to remember that the 2016 campaign has already begun and we must now shift our focus to the future.
Our challenges in 2016 will be more difficult and we will face headwinds not faced in 2014. Let me repeat that: 2016 is a presidential year in a deep blue state — it will be more challenging than 2014.
This will require an even higher degree of unity, teamwork, and common vision.
As I said earlier, the 2016 campaign is already underway. We do not have the luxury of waiting until January or May of 2016 to get this campaign started. If we are to be successful again, we need to be working toward victory in each of the 700 days between now and November 1, 2016.
We have already outlined changes that are critical – right now – to achieve the goal of continued success in two years. You will hear later about organizational changes that are meant to begin the process of aligning ourselves with victory.
We will also be modernizing the Vermont Republican Party infrastructure — a task which has fallen behind in recent years. Elections are more and more driven in the digital and data world and we have been lagging behind the Democrats in recent memory. This year, we began the process of closing that gap and we must continue on that path if we hope to be successful in two years.
We will also work to compete in local races around the state in support of candidates that promote solutions to the problems that Vermonters are most concerned about – our stagnant economy, job creation, Vermont’s crisis of affordability and the future of our healthcare system.
For the next two years, we will continue to be a strong voice for Vermonters – holding the Democrats in Montpelier accountable for their failed and failing policies.
Together with the House and Senate caucus leadership and Lt. Governor Phil Scott, we will promote new and better ideas for solutions to the problems Vermonters are facing and give Vermont voters a clear, credible and viable option in the next election.
Some in our state have tried to downplay our recent successes as the result solely of an unpopular Governor in a non-presidential election year. Admittedly, these circumstances surely played some role in the outcome on November 4th. But we know – and we can be completely confident in saying – that by offering a viable, reasonable alternative to the status quo with high quality, hardworking candidates that were well supported by the Party they represented made all the difference.
So let’s press on – everyday – between now and November 2016 to continue our success through hard work, a common vision and a renewed commitment to unity. Vermonters deserve no less from us.