PRESS RELEASE ISSUED, 12:20 P.M., in regards to an guest column that appeared in the Benton County Republican newsletter Saturday, suggesting that state lawmakers need a fear of getting shot if they don’t support constituents’ views:
MEMORANDUM TO MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF BENTON COUNTY and PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2013
On April 20, 2013, the April Newsletter for the Republican Party of Benton County was sent out by email to members of the County Committee and other persons on the Committee’s email list. Since that time, I have been contacted by several members of the County Committee about the content of an article included in that newsletter. The title of the article was “Scathing.” There have also been media reports about the article and it has been a topic in blog posts.
I have now read the article as well and I find much of it to be offensive. In response to the article, I think a few points need to be made:
While appearing in the newsletter for the Republican Party of Benton County, the writer of “Scathing” was not authorized to speak on behalf of the County Committee. The newsletter has changed over the years from merely being about providing information about upcoming meetings and events to having an element of substance about political views. While such a transition is not inappropriate, it does require greater editorial oversight which has not taken place. “Scathing” being published in the County Committee’s newsletter was the result of that failure to establish oversight. If such oversight had been in place, “Scathing” either would have been presented in a much different form, or not at all. I share in the responsibility for not fostering editorial controls and will work with the Executive Committee to put such controls in place going forward. Any such controls will be based on the sole objective of the Republican Party, which is to elect Republicans to political offices.
No one is authorized to speak for the Republican Party of Benton County except for the Chair of the County Committee and the Chair is constrained in so speaking to matters upon which there is consensus.
Much of “Scathing” focused on suggested violence as a potential response to disagreement with the outcome of political events, specifically the decision last week by the General Assembly to approve expansion of Medicaid in connection with what has become known as the “private option.” I want to be perfectly clear that I personally reject such a suggestion. The proper responses to disagreement with what our elected representatives do is to lobby them to do otherwise, to protest as allowed under the First Amendment, or to try to replace them at the next election. To suggest violence as a response to a vote of our elected legislators is simply abhorrent. Moreover, I can say that the many members of the County Committee with whom I have spoken, without exception, similarly reject the theme presented in “Scathing.”
Tim Summers, Chair
Republican Party of Benton County