by Peggy Mew
The new CRA President Retired Senator Dick Mountjoy, was elected at the convention held March 30 to April 1 at the Renaissance Los Angeles Hotel. The speakers were Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia; Pat Boone, singer and actor; and David Keene, American Conservative Union.
The first quarterly board meeting for 2001 was held in Simi Valley at the Grand Hotel near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on July 12-15. The election for State Constitutional offices of California was to be held in November 2002, but candidates were already campaigning. Businessman, Bill Simon and Secretary of State Bill Jones were gubernatorial candidates and Senator Tom McClintock who was running for State Controller were all speakers at the Board Meeting. The high light of the meeting was a special tour conducted for delegates and guests of the CRA Board meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The banquet also took place at the Reagan Library.
A CRA endorsing convention for the California Primary elections was held on November 9-11, 2001 at the Atrium Hotel in Irvine. The CRA endorsed businessman Bill Simon for Governor. TV Commentator Bruce Herschensohn was the banquet speaker with famous radio talk show, family defender, Laura Schlessinger appearing at the prayer breakfast.
The National Federation of Republican Assemblies held its annual convention from August 23 to 25, 2001 in Dallas, Texas with many CRA members in attendance.
NFRA elected Paul Haughton from Georgia as their President and CRA was well represented on the NFRA Board with Past President, Steve Frank and Peggy Mew, CRA Membership Secretary elected to NFRA Secretary. Also on the board were CRA President, Dick Mountjoy; National Committeewoman Celeste Greig; and National Committeeman, Sam Paredes, CRA also was the largest delegation to the National Convention.
In November of 2002 all the Constitutional offices except two Board of Equalization seats were won by Democrats. The CRA and the Republican Party of California were devastated. Newly re-elected Governor Gray Davis was in favor of tripling the car tax and giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens. CRA and many Californians considered his previous four years as Governor unstable, he had no vision and the surplus he had inherited from the previous Republican Governor had turned into a huge deficit of $35 million. Governor Davis was attacked by both Republicans and Democrats and finally the rumble turned into a call to resign, threat of impeachment or recall. The recall that was finally decided upon required the huge task of gathering 900,000 signatures. The petitions were soon circulated for recall.
The CRA Annual Convention was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Agoura Hills, from March 28-30, 2003. Mike Spence was elected the new CRA President. Speakers for the convention were Gary Aldrich, former FBI agent, and David Horowitz, former Communist turned Conservative activist.
Following the election of Mike Spence as the new president CRA went on a whirlwind drive. Recall Governor Davis rallies were held in Sacramento and around the state. CRA gathered over 25,000 of the more than a million signatures that were collected. The recall qualified and the election was called for October 7, 2003. If the Governor is recalled a new Governor would be elected on the same ballot.
The CRA was host committee for the NFRA Biennial Convention which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Burbank, August 7 to 10, 2003. It was billed as a Hollywood Star Studded Event. Stars, who were Republican, were introduced by Master of Ceremonies for the evening Ted Baehr and each one gave their perspective as a Republican and a Christian in the Hollywood scene. Other speakers at the convention were John Gizzi, Human Events Political Editor, John Barletta, Secret Service Agent for President Ronald Reagan, Senator Tom McClintock, William Federer and Pat Boone for the Prayer Breakfast. NFRA elected their new President Richard Engle, from Oklahoma and the NFRA endorsed George W. Bush for President.
The CRA Endorsing Convention was held following the NFRA Convention. The CRA overwhelmingly endorsed Tom McClintock for Governor and raised over $250,000 to support our endorsed candidate..
The recall election was successful and Governor Davis was recalled with 60% of the people voting for the two top Republican candidates, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Tom McClintock. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California and sworn in to office November 17, 2003..
While the recall election was going on CRA was qualifying a referendum to stop SB60, the bill to give drivers’ license to illegal aliens (Save Our License). The number of signatures necessary to place this on the ballot were collected and the legislature quickly introduced legislation to delete the language of SB 60 out of the law. SB 60 was the only bill in California history that was repealed before it could take effect. Thus making it unnecessary to referend a law that was no longer in existence.
The annual CRA Convention was held in Sacramento’s Red Lion Hotel, March 26-28, 2004. Former Secretary of State Bill Jones, the Republican nominee for US Senate, Bill Simon, Senator Rico Oller, Senator Tom McClintock, Board of Equalization member Bill Leonard, former Assemblywoman Barbara Alby, State Party Chairman, Duf Sundheim, and Republican nominee for the 70th AD Chuck DeVore, were the featured speakers. The prayer breakfast was highlighted by Assemblyman Tim Leslie giving the message and Assemblyman Rick Keene singing and leading the music.
Campaigns and Elections magazine ran a full page profile of the CRA, highlighting its success in defeating SB60. CRA’s website and the Save Our License website, designed and maintained by Jeff Evans, won “Pollie” Awards by the American Association of Political Consultants.
June 5, 2004, our beloved President Ronald Reagan passed away and the world stopped for a moment to pay him homage. President Reagan has said of the CRA “The best symbol of the grassroots worker I can think of is the California Republican Assembly….CRA provides the nucleus of the Republican candidate’s volunteer work brigade”. President Reagan described CRA as “The Conscience of the Republican Party”, a label we continue to live by in his honor.
In August, 2004 CRA with the support of Assemblyman Mark Wyland launched the Constitutional Amendment Initiative to prohibit government from giving driver’s licenses, in-state college tuition subsidies and other benefits to illegal aliens. The initiative circulated until February 2005 and unfortunately didn’t gather the necessary 598,000 signatures to qualify. CRA has vowed to continue to keep illegal immigration a prominent issue as long as necessary.
During the past two years under the direction of President Mike Spence, CRA has increased visibility statewide and within the Republican Party. CRA was the only group fighting the statewide school bond through Protect-Taxpayers.com. CRA helped dump Dan Rather through AdmitTheLie.com. CRA was months ahead of the media and the state party in our Shelley Must Resign Campaign against corrupt Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. The CRA Independent Expenditure Committee raised and spent almost $400,000 supporting CRA endorsed candidates and issues at all levels.
In April 2005 CRA is celebrating 70 years of activism at their annual convention in Pomona, CA at the Sheraton Fairplex Suites. The long list of speakers are Congressman/Judge James Rogan, Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, Charles Wiley from AIM, Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, Senator Tom McClintock, Board of Equalization Member Bill Leonard, Assemblyman Van Tran, Congressman Tom Tancredo (CO), Bill Simon, and Pastor William Turner, Jr.,
With CRA’s excellent leadership in the political arena, the conservative movement, which has expanded across America, bodes a bright future for CRA and the NFRA.
The NFRA will hold their National Convention, September 2-5, 2005 in Scottsdale, AZ. They will be holding a Presidential Cattle Call for all prospective 2008 GOP Presidential candidates.
As we go forward to future anniversary celebrations we continue to stand by our principles and in the words of President Ronald Reagan, stay the course and continue to be the “Conscience of the Republican Party”.