Republican women take control at Unified State Party reorganizational meeting

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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Republican Party held its reorganizational meeting to elect new officers, and every single office was filled without the need to cast a single ballot.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to an organizational meeting that didn’t have at least one contested race,” said former State Rep. Paul Dame who was re-elected to his position as an At-large delegate to the Executive Committee. “I think the majority of our members are happy with the internal structural changes we are making to gear up for 2020.”

State Party Chair Deb Billado was re-elected without a contest, demonstrating support from some Republican Legislators.

“As we got closer to Saturday, I was honestly humbled by how many people were coming to me, not only saying they were supporting my re-election, but wanting to publicly support me at the meeting,” said Billado.

Outside of the Treasurer functions, where Charlie Bucknam won the top spot, and retired legislator Tom Koch retained his position as Asst. Treasurer, the rest of the elected state offices all went to women.

Deb Ricker was re-elected Party Secretary and former Attorney General Candidate Deb Bucknam took the second spot as Vice Chair.

Women taking the top spots has come as no surprise to those working within the party. Since the election of President Trump, the party says more and more women have been getting involved..

They saw over 40 women take over as chairs in their town committees, and a group of Republican women have been meeting regularly over the past few months in an effort to restart a Vermont Chapter of the National Federation of Republican Women.

While exact numbers will be available when the party officially files its certification with the Secretary of State in the coming weeks, the estimates of this reorganization effort have been substantial:

– At least 7 counties saw at least one new town get newly organized
– An estimated 140 towns completed the organization process successfully
– Approximately 1,300 individual voters added their names to town or county committees
– Nearly 500 of those 1,300 had not previously been involved in a reorganization
– Lamoille County was able to organize every single town in the county

In her closing remarks Billado encouraged her fellow party members that the work is not over, and that they will be seeking to organize towns year round to help rebuild the party’s grassroots structure.