Chicago, IL, April 14, 2013 – Activist William J. Kelly releases this statement concerning the treatment of Republican voters at the State Central Republican Committee meeting at the Tinley Park Convention Center Saturday April 13th:
Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady’s treatment of Republican voters and activists at Saturday’s State Central Committee meeting was nothing short of disgraceful. Today, I am calling on Chairman Brady and the members of the State Central Republican Committee to apologize to all the Republicans you treated with such utter contempt and disrespect.
A diverse gathering of Republicans, both young and old, of many races, ethnicities, and creeds, some in wheelchairs or with walkers, came in unity to join the call to oust Pat Brady from the chairmanship. Collectively, we have experienced Brady’s election failures. We have experienced how he tries to destroy Republican candidates. We have witnessed how he involves himself personally in Republican primaries. And we have seen how he disrespects the GOP party platform – a platform which he was charged to support and serve. As chairman, he is also supposed to serve the Illinois GOP – which means the people. The Republican rank-and-file.
But on Saturday he disrespect the people instead. Now, we can add what happened on Saturday to the list to all of all the reasons why Pat Brady needs to resign.
Pat Brady began the meeting by droning on about all of his accomplishments. He spoke for about 45 minutes or more. Other speakers followed. There was no mention about the controversy over his chairmanship or his ouster.
After I asked him about public comments, Brady told Republicans that they would need to leave the room for 20 minutes so that the Executive Session could begin. Instead, the Executive Session lasted more than three hours. Pat Brady lied to Republicans. He was hoping that Republicans would just leave and he wouldn’t have to hear their comments.
We began our own speeches in the hallway. We chanted, “We have rights,” “Let us in,” “Support the platform,” and “He must go.” Four minutes later, Pat Brady and the members of the State Central Republican Committee called security who told us “to shut up.” A few minutes after that, the police began to arrive. I guess they were afraid of the grandma in the wheelchair. Member Jim Oberweis came out and offered people ice cream from his company. I felt like I was on a Carnival Cruise line.
The minutes became hours and still the people waited and waited and waited. Then Pat Brady came out and stood at the back of the hallway, in the corner, wearing a jacket. The members were voting on something related to him and his chairmanship. A security guard came and made sure Republicans didn’t approach Brady. Then five squad cars showed up and police came into the building. They forced Republicans out of the hallway and locked the doors behind them. Is that respect? Is that how Pat Brady treats Republican voters? Is that how the State Central Republican Committee treats Republican grassroots activists and candidates?
After more time passed, the SCC began allowing mainstream media outlets into the room but they barred members of the conservative media – including Fran Eaton of the Illinois Review and David Diersen of GOP USA. So the Daily Herald is allowed into the room to cover but conservative media are not? Whose party is this? This certainly isn’t the Republican Party.
Conservative media and others began banging on the locked doors. We deserved some answers – none were being given. They were treating Republicans like animals.
We noticed members of the SCC were leaving the parking lot – having exited the back way. They finally let Republican voters back into the room. Brady chastised Republicans and called for some adherence to “the rules.” He called for some “respectfulness.” Did he mean how he and the SCC had treated Republicans for the last three hours? With lies and police squad cars?
The crowd booed him and shouted out comments. He didn’t like it. He told Republicans they had two minutes each to speak. John Fogerty, Pat Brady’s lawyer, then told people they only had one minute to speak…from the back of the room. Many former candidates and current office holders who came to voice their disdain for Brady, among them Paul McKinley, Rich Grabowski, Carl Segvich, Sherri Griffith, Lori Yokoyama, and numerous candidates for school board. During the public comments – which were directed at him – Pat Brady decided to take a bathroom break. People were outraged and told him so. As more comments continued, he walked to a corner and started having a conversation with someone. One Republican told him to “wipe that dumb grin off his face.”
Respect is a two-way street. But Pat Brady and the SCC think it is just a one-way. They demand civility but they then they treat us without any civility. Brady attacks Republican candidates behind-the-scenes and regularly disrespects the grassroots.
The Republicans who attended the meeting are the people who get the petition signatures, make the phone calls, and walk the precincts. They are the real Republican Party. But Pat Brady and the SCC doesn’t recognize the real Republican Party. Real Republicans shouldn’t recognize them.
I am very proud of the Republican activists and voters who came on Saturday. You were seen and…heard. You made a difference and it is just the beginning.
Note: There were numerous candidates and office holders who stood united in protest against Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady – too numerous to mention every one of them. But I want to thank every one of them for attending and having the courage to stand up and speak out.
Conservative columnist William J. Kelly is a lifelong Republican and a former 2010 candidate for Illinois comptroller. He currently writes for the Communities at Washington Times and national publications like the American Spectator. He is an Emmy award-winning TV producer with offices based in Chicago.