By Louise Leigh & Fred Davis
In 1983, Bob Thierry was elected CRA president in L.A. during a non-election year. The November 1983 issue of CRA News had a front-page photo of past president Mike Evans with the notation, “Mighty Mike Evans is the Godmother of the Texas Republican Assembly.” When the Texas RA held their first reception, there were more than 1,000 members in attendance. Thus the vision of CRA founders Ed Shattuck and Robert Fenton Craig was becoming reality.
The Republican National Convention was held in Dallas, Texas August 20-23, and Ronald Reagan was nominated for a second term.
Joe Gilmaker became CRA president at the April convention in 1984. He was the first CRA president to appoint a computer committee. CRA entered the computer age.
Governor Deukmejian kept his campaign promise to get a fair reapportionment. Over 800,000 signatures were gathered to put his initiative on the ballot to establish a non-partisan commission of former judges to draw the reapportionment lines to prevent the blatant gerrymandering by the Democrats.
At the 52nd CRA convention, January 1985, Barbara Rathbun was elected CRA president.
Governor Deukmejian’s initiative for fair reapportionment was defeated by voters fearful of “involving judges in politics,” it was said. At the same time, Republicans out registered Democrats, and there were 6.8 million Democrats to 4.7 million Republicans.
Dr. Ralph Waugh became the new CRA president in 1986-87. On September 13, 1986, a special CRA convention met in Santa Clara for the express purpose of taking a position on California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird. She had been appointed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, known as “Governor Moonbeam.” The ballot proposition to remove Rose Bird was referred to as “cleaning up the Bird mess.”
The year 1987 was the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and the CRA dedicated its March convention in Irvine to the celebration. CRA received congratulatory letters from Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George Bush, George Deukmejian, and others, but the one most treasured by CRA was the Ronald Reagan letter.
The River City RA in Northern California had a membership of over 300 members in 1984. Col. Bob Byerly became the new CRA president in 1987. He was a retired military officer and businessman from Fairfield, CA.
In 1988, the following year, Dr. Everet Roden was elected president of CRA. It was a presidential election year. George Bush was elected president and Dan Quayle vice president.
At the CRA convention in 1989, William E. Hoge became CRA president, and later was elected an Assemblyman from the Pasadena area.
Rick Staats was elected CRA President in 1990. At the pre-primary endorsing convention, CRA voted a “no confidence” for the candidacy of Pete Wilson for U.S. Senate because of his pro-abortion stance. Layne Allred was hired by CRA to become the field coordinator and to recruit support for CRA endorsed candidates.
During May 3-5, 1991, at the CRA 58th Convention in Sacramento, the featured speakers were Lt. Col. Oliver North, Pat Robertson, Senator John Ashcroft, Bruce Herschensohn, and Attorney General Dan Lungren.
Mike Schroeder, an attorney from Orange County, was elected CRA president 1991-93. He launched an ambitious fundraising drive attempting to raise $1,000 from 35 CRA members.
In August of 1991, plans were made to hold a meeting in Houston, TX, with current members from Vermont, Illinois, and Texas to propose the expansion of CRA to other states.
The CRA bylaws were changed in 1991 to allow CRA presidents to serve two years instead of the traditional one-year term. However, the rotation of CRA presidents from north to south was retained. The first CRA president to serve the two-year term was Mike Schroeder. Later, President Schroeder was elected Chairman of the California Republican Party.