By Tadhg Larabee
On Saturday, February 4, the MCGOP held its annual convention. From the opening of the hospitality suite doors to the final gavel, the action was non-stop. Elected officials spoke, candidates campaigned, and new officers shouldered their duties. All this activity bore a single message: last year was great, but this year will be even better.
Several TARS witnessed the proceedings. Although we weren’t running for office or representing constituents, the weekend was busy.
On Friday night, the MCTARS hosted a hospitality suite. There, we met inspirations and spread our message: attendees included National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose, former congressional candidate Amie Hoeber, term-limits mastermind Robin Ficker, County Council candidates Ed Amatetti and Tom Ferleman, MCGOP’s outgoing and incoming Chairmen Michael Higgs and Dick Jurgena, and First Vice-Chairman Dwight Patel.
The next day, the convention began. Speakers covered issues both local and national; each was different, yet inspiring. In his address, MDGOP chairman Dirk Haire stoked the grassroots. We only need five state Senate and eight House of Delegates seats to protect Governor Hogan’s vetoes. We, the volunteers, can deliver them. National Committeewoman Ambrose set a similar goal, and state Senator Steve Waugh taught us how to achieve it. And as Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh reiterated our principles, state Legislators Michael Hough and Neil Parrott explained their implementation in Annapolis.
A few TARS took the stage: Chairman Ryan Gniadek delivered our update, and Vice-Chairman Brent Jamsa administered the Pledge of Allegiance. Ryan also received the MCGOP Al Bullock Youth of the Year award for his leadership — congratulations to him!
As the convention dispersed and the hall deconstructed, we departed optimistic. The MCGOP’s next year will be triumphant — and MCTARS will be a part of it. The TARS knocked thousands of doors during the election. Now, organized and united, it is time to do more, grow more, and build more. 2017 will be monumental for us, too.