Henson elected GOP chairman

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 13, 2017
Michelle Nix, the N.C. GOP vice chairman, addresses the Republican convention in Haywood Saturday.

At the Haywood County Republican Convention Saturday, Kenneth Henson was elected to a second two-year term as chairman. Other officers elected included Debbie King, vice-chairman, Linda Bennett, secretary and Pat Carr, treasurer.

About 100 or so party faithful came out on a snowy Saturday afternoon to handle party business and to hear campaign pitches from party officials making a case to serve in district or state party positions.

Henson said the largest turnout was at precinct meetings held about a month ago where 200 people showed up to weigh in on who would serve as officials in the 29 election districts in Haywood.

Under the party’s by-laws, each precinct chairman is a member of the county executive committee.

“People tell us we have the most people attending of any county convention of all other 99 counties,” Henson said. “The party parliamentarian for North Carolina came to our convention because it is so big and there are so many people. We’re definitely the biggest in the 11th district.”

During his second term, Henson has plans to grow the Republican Party even more than it has in the past several years.

“I’m looking for this to become a Republican county with more Republicans registered than Democrats,” Henson said. “We’ll be getting qualified people to run for office — serious people who want to do what’s right.”

Henson said Democrats have had the majority in the number of registered voters — and in the number of local elected officials in the county for decades.

“We want to get as many Republicans as we can in leadership positions and try it that way for a while. We want to get spending under control in this county,” Henson said.

There were no major resolutions or issues discussed at this year’s convention. The slate of officers was nominated from the floor and approved by acclamation.

Michele Nix, N.C. GOP vice-chairman, gave the keynote address at the convention.

Nix gave an overview of the many reasons she is a Republican.

“I believe in God,” she said. “God says to us, ‘you are my people.’ Republicans honor God. We pray at meetings, at events and for guidance.”

She called Democrats immoral for their support of HB2.

“Do you want young girls to shower with men?” she asked. “That’s just not right. God made man and woman. We know what we are when we are born. If you are confused, you need a psychiatrist.”

Nix spoke of North Carolina’s solid victory for Trump and called Haywood County “the lynch pin for the 11th Congressional District. You have a right to be proud of yourselves in taking this county from blue to red.”

She spoke of the Republican victories across the state, from local races to legislative seats to Council of State seats and seating Republicans in 10 of 13 Congressional districts, plus having two Republican U.S. senators.

Another key tenet of the Republican party is local control, Nix emphasized, noting the new N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction will dismantle the Common Core and return control of school boards to the local level.

Republicans will have to fight hard to keep their majorities in the state, she cautioned, and she shared tips for doing that, stressing increased use of social media.

The district Republican Convention will be held in Haywood County on Saturday, April 29. Haywood will have 53 delegates and 53 alternates. All who expressed a desire to be a delegate at the district convention was included on the list.