Thursday, March 19, 2009

County Spotlight: Union County GOP Makes History

Historic Vote

By Tamara Wilson
The Enquirer Journal
March 14, 2009

The Union County GOP made history Saturday when it elected the Rev. Jim Bention, the county's first black chairman. …

Bention served as vice-chairman of the Union County GOP for the past two years. As the majority party in Union County, Bention stated that the focus in the past was to "keep our finger in the dam, if you will." But as the newly elected chairman, Bention sees an opportunity to educate all voters and reintroduce black constituents to the Republican Party. Bention noted that most would assume the Union County Democratic Party would have elected a black chairman before its Republican counterpart. "So we have made history and hopefully we have made a statement to the black citizens of Union County that the Republican Party is your party and we welcome you. And in some cases we welcome you back."

Bention hopes that his election will offer others inspiration to get reacquainted with the local party and local politics. "There is a rich history, especially when it comes to the black community. Some have muddled our message." Bention conceded that he had opposition, but hopes that his election will serve as a positive example. "Hopefully they will see that a black person can come up through the party, work as a precinct chairman, work as a vice-chairman…and ultimately can become the chairman of the county party."

Bention will also concentrate on building a grass-roots "machine" in Union County. Bention believes Democrats during the last election "out-communicated" us. Bention says the party will focus on creating a message and distributing that message in a fluid, efficient way. ….