Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s All About Outreach

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Outreach has become a buzzword in the Republican Party the last few years. We elect Outreach Chairs, we create Outreach Initiatives, and write Outreach Literature. We are desperate to be “outreaching”.

However in the last nine months as Chair of the Ottawa County GOP Outreach Committee, I’ve asked what we can do to reach out and I’ve found that we are already “doing” outreach pretty well. We participate in different fairs and festivals, such as LAUP’s Fiesta, the Multicultural Festival, Junteeenth and the Hudsonville Fair. Every parade is a chance for us to connect with voters. This September we did our first round of outreach focused events, one in each part of the county, to begin developing more meaningful relationships with voters and potential future party members.

These are all good and important things that we should and will continue to do. But is that all outreach is? In recent years, our form of outreach has truly been to ask people to join us. But in reality, shouldn’t we be asking the community how we can be more involved with them?

I believe outreach shouldn’t just be about asking people to come to us, by developing new programs, new meetings or activities. It should be about bringing the message of limited government with us wherever we go and becoming more integrated in the community. We should be going to people instead of asking them to come to us.

As we move forward toward Election Day in 2016, we will continue to hold our gatherings and you will see us at community events, however we are also committed to joining existing groups in the community and listening to them- what is important to them and how can we as Republicans, advocate for their freedom and opportunity?

The Executive Committee, our elected officials, in whatever capacity we are serving, be it as a member of a trade organization, as a business owner, as a member of the many excellent Chambers of Commerce, will also represent the Republican Party. We will take opportunities to speak truth about the damage that government overreach is doing to our country, but also, most importantly to our community.

I challenge you, as like minded Republicans, to join us in speaking up where you are, and reaching the one, two or 10 people in your circle of influence, and show them how the Republican Party is working to give them more freedom and opportunity.

This is outreach. It’s not one of the things we do. It is a lifestyle of truly becoming a part of the community we live in.

Ottawa GOP takes over Mackinac

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The Ottawa County Republicans were out in full force during the 31st Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

The weekend started Friday afternoon with the Pink Elephants Reception co-hosted by Ottawa GOP Chair, Amanda Van Essen. The networking event was geared toward the Republican Party’s outreach to women.

Later on Friday night Senator Arlan Meekhof, Senate Majority Leader, hosted a reception for all conference attendees. The Senator was seen happily greeting the crush of guests who attended.

Saturday the Leading Ladies Reception, cohosted by State Representative Daniela Garcia, was visited by Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina. The lunch reception was standing room only and also featured comments by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Saturday afternoon Congressman Bill Huizenga hosted Get the Scoop with Congressman Huizenga, an ice cream social featuring Congressman Ryan Zinke from Montana. As a former Navy Seal and Seal trainer, Congressman Zinke talked about current national security issues and how Congress is working to keep Americans safe.

In addition to his event, Congressman Huizenga sponsored a group of eight high school students from West Ottawa High School and Holland Christian High School. These students were given the opportunity to hear all of the Presidential candidates on the island speak, attend many VIP receptions and meet the candidates personally.

Senator Arlan Meekhof made news when he announced his endorsement of Governor John Kasich Saturday afternoon at a reception in honor of the Governor. He joins former Congressman Pete Hoekstra in supporting the Governor from Ohio’s Presidential bid.

You can check out #ottawagop on Instagram to see some of the other notable Ottawa County Republicans at the conference!


Life of an Intern

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I began my internship with Ottawa County Republicans in June planning to help out only in the summer. But as the end drew closer I decided to extend my internship through the fall.

Politics have always been something that interested me and this internship seemed to be a good way to get more experience. I am currently in my senior year at GVSU studying Public and Nonprofit Administration with a minor in Political Science. Thus, Ottawa County Republicans was the perfect fit for me! Staying through the fall served the dual purpose of getting GVSU credit for an internship as well as continuing an incredible experience.

Interning at Ottawa GOP has taught me so much in only a few short months. I have been able to get a behind the scenes look into how a nonprofit is run as well as challenges that Ottawa GOP faces on a regular basis. Fundraising, event planning, and office maintenance are just some of the things that I’ve had the privilege of helping with during my time as an intern. I feel well-equipped to continue working with various organizations due to the skills and knowledge gained at Ottawa GOP.

Working the 2015 Lincoln Day Dinner, hosted by Ottawa GOP, was an opportunity I would not have otherwise have had. It was most assuredly one of my favorite experiences during my internship. Being involved in the planning for the dinner from start to its completion taught me a great deal about how to plan an event. It caused me to realize how much work and planning goes into an event and it was neat to see it all pulled off so wonderfully. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the guests at the dinner as well as being able to hear Governor John Kasich speak.

Anne Chanski and Amanda Van Essen have made my time here at Ottawa GOP so incredible and I am so thankful for all that they do for Ottawa GOP. It has been an honor getting to know Amanda and to see her hard work ethic shine through in all that she does for the party.

As the executive director, Anne has imparted to me endless amounts of useful information on how an organization should be run. I have been able to observe her skills at interacting with members of the local community as well as those involved directly with Ottawa GOP. She has taught me so much and I am so thankful for all she has done for me during this internship.

I would not trade this experience for anything! It has been great getting to learn more about the Ottawa County Republicans and I look forward to learning even more in the weeks ahead.

Campaign update

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The ingredients of a successful campaign always are a work in progress. Your Ottawa County Republican Party is hard at work to make sure that we optimize the Republican vote in the county.

Our 2016 efforts will use modifications of technology and methods that we have field tested for the last fifteen years. You reach voters where they are at. A county party needs to be aware of and address local traditions. That means a lot of activity in a lot of places. The county parties that make the most impact on statewide races are those which have regular offices and recognize that advance planning is crucial. We cannot duplicate state and national fundraising efforts, but need support from donors who recognize the importance of the county party.

Our efforts make a major contribution to statewide vote totals. You can never be certain which statewide race will be impacted most in advance, but you do know that the Ottawa County GOP margin will make a difference. Governor Engler’s statewide margin in his first 1990 race was less than his Ottawa County margin. In 2014, Governor Snyder’s statewide margin was less than his combined margin in Ottawa, Kent, and Oakland Counties. You never know how close individual statewide races will be until a few days before the election. To be effective then, you need to organize at least a year in advance.

Past success does not guarantee future success. That is why we are modifying our traditional programs to account for changes in political dynamics. With your help, we will make this happen.

Getting Out The Vote Starts Now

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With background preparations already complete, September begins the focus for some of us in the Party on GOTV – Getting Out The Vote.

Ottawa County has 110 precincts – so you can imagine the time, preparation, and volunteers it takes to have poll challengers at each voting location; to have people calling and encouraging people to vote; to reach out to as many businesses and organizations as possible asking that their signage remind people to vote. It’s quite an operation.

Over the last two years, with the assistance of the Michigan Republican Party, we’ve been testing a smart-phone application that tracks voter turnout in real-time. We tested it in 3 precincts in the 2014 race in Ottawa County, and expanded the test in the May 5 election. It will be tested again before the General Election in 2016.

Ottawa County has enjoyed high voter turnout over the years due to our Get Out The Vote efforts in the past. This smart phone app will help us get even more Republicans to the polls.

In September we started laying the groundwork by holding meetings in each of the four quadrants of the county. We are already signing up volunteers and selecting target precincts. This is where the fun begins, and where we start mapping out the County!

Starting early, and meeting often, with lots of training is going to be the key to our success, and key to keeping our Republican victory momentum going!

The stage is set for an extremely efficient, effective and successful election cycle. Your contributions are helping make that happen. If you have any suggestions, or know someone who wants to get involved on Election Day, please reach out! My email address is The more people we have involved in our GOTV effort the higher our chance for success! I’m looking forward to working with you over the next year toward victory in 2016.

Welcome to the New Ottawa County GOP

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For over 150 years Ottawa County has been a beacon of conservative values and voting. Easily the most Republican county in Michigan, we provide statewide candidates more republican votes than many counties double or even quadruple our size. More importantly, as a group of true fiscal conservatives we do this at a fraction of the cost of comparable counties.

Past success, however, is meaningless if we fail to adapt to the way the world is changing. As Chair of the Ottawa County Republican Party I have made it my mission to build on our past success and help us move forward into a diversifying and increasingly digital world. This is just a taste of some of the new and exciting things that have been happening at the Ottawa GOP this summer.

Increased outreach activities

The Ottawa County GOP has made outreach a priority by engaging with community organizations such as LAUP, Upward Bound, and participating in community events such as the Multicultural Festival and Junteenth Celebrations. We are also intentionally engaging younger conservatives online and by participating in new networking organizations. Find out more about our outreach efforts on page six.

Improving Digital Communication

If you haven’t been over to lately, you should take a look. From our online donation button to a volunteer sign up form to our Google Calendar with real time updates we are always updating and improving our online presence. Like to spend time on social media? Find us on Facebook at which is kept up to date with events, volunteer opportunities and updates about our local Ottawa County elected officials and how they are working for you. You can also find out what we are up to by following us on Twitter and Instagram.

Streamlining our Operations

We have found many ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently by streamlining our office operations. This summer we set up a volunteer and donor database, collecting information accumulated over the years in one place. We are so excited about the many changes we have already put into place but more is on the horizon, so keep in touch and learn how in 2016 victory starts with us.