Chicago, Illinois, June 8, 2012 – Here is an advance copy of William J. Kelly’s speech today at the Illinois Republican Convention:
As a candidate for statewide office in 2010, I have traveled all over the state of Illinois. I have spoken to real Republicans.
I know what they are thinking.
And as National Republican Committeeman I pledge to go to wherever two or more Republicans are meeting and give them the speech that Illinois’ best days are still ahead.
But right now is not the time to give that speech. Rarely in life do we say what we really mean because we are afraid of what we might lose.
But we have lost too much already. And we are on the brink of losing it all. So before it is too late, this is what you need to hear.
The Illinois Republican Party is a joke and the only way to fix is to give it back to the people.
As National Republican Committeeman, I will enthusiastically support direct elections of State Republican Party leaders. This will bring accountability to our party once more.
How can we continue to deny Republican primary voters the basic right to vote? How can they trust their party when the party doesn’t trust them?
No one on the selection committee here was elected by ANYBODY. And everyone here was ALSO appointed by someone who was ALSO not elected by ANYBODY. Isn’t there something wrong with that?
Now I understand that you have been charged to produce one name to the delegates for National Republican Committeeman.
And you probably have already been told who that one name should be with the hope that the delegates will vote for that one name.
And voila – we will have four more years of insider mediocrity at best. Corruption at worst.
What I am asking is for you – in the truth spirit of the principles that made our party great. In the true spirit of trusting the people.
Make your report all three of our names. Rank us if it will make you feel better.
Sandy Stuart 98%,
Rich Williamson – 96%
William Kelly – 1%
Whatever – be my guest.
But do this. Be the heroes of this convention. Maybe your brother, the committeeman, is going be mad at you. Maybe your finance chairman there in Lake County is going be mad at you.
But be a hero – right now. Throw all three names to the convention floor and let the delegates decide.
Let the people decide.
Why even invite delegates to the convention if you are not going to let them vote for anything? Or preselect a candidate for them? Or deny them the right to vote for direct elections? Why even have delegates? Why call them delegates – why not call them observers? And why has the party denied so many Illinois Republicans the opportunity to become delegates?
I’m calling on my two opponents to agree. Sandy and Rich, are you willing to let all three names go to the delegates and let the people decide?
As National Republican Committeeman, I will also focus my efforts reshaping our party’s fundraising strategy.
We need to renew voters’ faith in our party in order to bring in new donors. Not the same ONE Obama bundler and top contributor to Rahm Emanuel that wants to buy influence in the Illinois Republican Party. I will help refocus our party’s efforts on ethical fundraising, not schemes that raise the specter of financial impropriety.
If you don’t think the people see through all of this you are wrong. That is why we don’t have new donors or volunteers. The people know that these Obama bundlers and insiders are calling the shots.
Just last week, they saw Illinois GOP leaders voting against the Republican Party platform – at least the party platform that was intact when I walked into this room – the platform that is against ObamaCare, higher taxes, and gambling expansion.
Sandy and Rich, would you be willing to return these tainted contributions and give our party a fresh start with the voters?
People often ask: What would Reagan do? I can definitely tell you that Ronald Reagan would not give or receive money from a campaign bundler to Barack Obama.
It is time to give the Illinois Republican Party back to the people.
Restore direct elections. Retain the conservative planks in the party platform. Stand up against Republican leaders who vote against the party platform – who violate the trust of voters. And give the delegates a choice for Republican National Committeeman – not just the name of one party insider. Trust the delegates – after all – they paid their $50 bucks to attend this convention. That is the least that you can do.
I’ve told the truth that is all that I can do. I have a clear conscience. We all say that 2012 is the most important election and we will say the same about 2014 and 2016.
But whether or not we will truly be successful in these elections will depend on the Illinois Republican Party and what you decide to do in this room today.