Representatives from all of Forsyth’s voting precincts turned out for the local Republican Party’s county convention.
The representatives gathered Saturday morning at South Forsyth High School’s east hall cafeteria to elect new leaders, as well as delegates to the district and state conventions. They also worked to decide new party rules and resolutions.
The new leaders of the local party include:
• Chairman — Brad Wilkins
• First vice chairman — Amanda Nixon
• Second vice chairman — Joel Natt
• Treasurer — Dennis Brown
• Recording secretary — Robert Rorke
• Corresponding secretary — Sherri Gilligan
Outgoing chairman Ethan Underwood, who decided not to pursue another term after four years in the position, was honored by the county’s state legislative delegation during the gathering.
Presented with a framed copy of a state proclamation in his honor, Underwood said he felt it was time to step away from the position.
“At some point you need to hand over the reins and get some fresh blood in there and some new ideas, and I think Brad Wilkins is going to do a great job with that,” he said.
Wilkins, who ran unopposed for the chairmanship, said he was “excited for the opportunity to serve.”
“This is something that’s been near and dear to my heart for a good four years now,” he said. “I served on the executive committee with Mr. Underwood for the past four years, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”
Wilkins’ goals for the local organization are to continue to “push for Republican values and help Republicans win elections.”
“We know the [President Barack] Obama campaign nationally never really goes home after an election,” he said. “They’re still out there trying to win new votes for the Democrats in Congress in the next elections, and so we really can’t go home either.
“We need to be in the field, ready to win elections.”
According to both Underwood and Wilkins, Republicans need to stay focused on upcoming Senate and gubernatorial contests.
“I’m planning to continue to work just in a different capacity and I hope we well all pull together,” Underwood said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do for the gubernatorial election and the Senate elections in 2014.”
Wilkins agreed that the Senate race is “very important not only for Georgia but for the whole country.” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican from Moultrie, has announced that he will not seek a third term.
“And we have a governor’s race coming up and that has immense ramifications for the state,” he said. “We want to make sure that stays in Gov. [Nathan] Deal’s hand and we keep a Republican in the office.”