Friday, May 20, 2011

Looking Forward to the RPW Convention This Weekend

I am looking forward to the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s annual convention, which begins today in the Wisconsin Dells.

It is sure to be an important and exciting weekend.

As many of you know, I am in the process of deciding whether I will be a candidate for the United States Senate. Recent news has focused more attention of this seat than at any time in the last quarter century. Yet, my personal and professional agenda this weekend in the Dells was not altered by Senator Kohl’s announcement last week.

I have spent the last few months discussing the possibility of a run for the US Senate seat with my family and my closest friends. Now, this weekend, I will solicit the opinions of the hundreds of Republican Party delegates from across the state. I want to hear about their concerns. What are their top issues? What qualities are they looking for in their next US Senator? Do they think I should pursue such a run?

I want to make sure that my decisions are well informed. This includes deciding whether or not to run for the US Senate.

As a delegate from Waukesha County I’m also attending the convention to vote on the official state platform and the resolutions as well. Ours is a ground-up party and the opinions of the members of the county party members from across the state matter. This is our chance to have our voice heard.

Finally, and this should not be overlooked, this weekend is a time to celebrate the incredible campaign success our party has enjoyed since the last state convention. Because of the hard work of party members and others, Republicans swept into control of both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature. We elected two new members of Congress. We elected a bold, young, conservative governor. And Ron Johnson ran a great race and won a seat in the US Senate. While we have more work to do, it is ok to take a moment and raise a glass with friends to toast the success of 2010.

Last year Wisconsin Republicans proved we could work together to accomplish great things. Fueled by a new insurgence of energy and enthusiasm from the Tea Party movement, Republicans in Wisconsin led the nation in voter contacts and victories. I am happy to see my party grow, and I am glad there will be new faces in the crowd this weekend. I, too, want to meet up with familiar faces, like the members of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women and College Republicans who continue to be the heart and soul of all the volunteer activities this party relies on. It is important that we appreciate the fact that it takes a combination of new blood, experience and hard work to win.

To be sure, as I join my fellow Republicans at the state convention this week, there is more work to be done. We need to band together to fend off the recalls against my former colleagues in the State Senate (and work on picking up a few seats, too!). We need to rally around Governor Walker and make sure those who have embraced the fiscal common sense laid out by Congressman Paul Ryan receive our unwavering support.

Together, we also need to set our sights on 2012. We need to preserve our majorities in the legislature, protect the freshmen in Congress and retake the White House and the US Senate so we can get America working again. Whether or not I run for office, I will be a part of this effort. Always.

I’m looking forward to kicking things off this weekend, and I hope to touch base with as many of my fellow Republicans as possible over the next three days in the Dells.

Even without a trip down a water slide, I know it will be a good time with old and new friends.

Kanavas lives in Brookfield and is a delegate from Waukesha County.

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