Recently, I was elected to serve as the new chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. To be elected to this role is an honor and a privilege, and I commit to carry out these responsibilities to the best of my ability and with humility. I begin this task with a grateful heart and I thank those who have entrusted me with the tasks of leadership.
Over the past two decades, I have witnessed firsthand Kentuckians embrace the Republican Party, and its belief in America’s long-standing conservative principles. As a result, the Republican Party of Kentucky has grown from an inconsequential minority party into a political and public policy powerhouse. This historic political shift did not come about by coincidence or happenstance. Rather, it was achieved through the hard work and dedication of many, far too many to mention here.
Yet, the citizens of the Commonwealth are the true force behind this political shift – a shift away from the failed policies from the liberal left and towards the proven success of conservative policies. The men and the women of Kentucky sought a better governance for Kentucky and they have entrusted the representatives of the Republican Party of Kentucky to lead the way. Having been given this great responsibility, the Republican Party – its organization and its members – must continue to rise to the challenges which face our Commonwealth by developing, defending and delivering conservative reforms. The strength of the Party rests in its unity; a unity that, in turn, finds its strength in the wisdom of our conservative forefathers. By holding to this course together, the Republican Party of Kentucky can further tap into the passion of Kentuckians who have already entrusted to us the responsibilities of leadership.
Kentuckians went to the ballot box in November and overwhelmingly selected Republicans to govern. Russell Coleman, Michael Adams, Allison Ball, Mark Metcalf, and Jonathan Shell will assume their new roles in January and join Republican super-majorities in the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives. Like many, I was disappointed with the result of the gubernatorial election. In politics, as in baseball, “perfect” games are rare, but rest assured that day is coming. Yet, the fact remains that the Republicans hold all but one constitutional office, 80 of 100 seats in the House of Representatives, 30 of 36 seats in the Senate, and 7 of 8 members of our federal delegation. It was Republican-led reform that resulted in tax reform, historic budget surpluses, job growth, increased funding for education, higher pay and better equipment for our esteemed Kentucky State Police, protections for the unborn, and business-minded policies like “right to work” that have led to new economic opportunities for Kentuckians.
This political dominance shows that, after a century of languish and decay under Democrat rule, Kentuckians, en masse, have turned to the Republican Party and sought its leadership in moving Kentucky forward. As a Party we must continue to seek and develop opportunities to further convince the majority of Kentuckians to desire a government, and governmental policies, that center on conservative Republican principles. We must be forever mindful that Kentuckians have chosen Republican leadership based on the promise of being faithful to conservative philosophy. Our success will be certain for as long as we are true to our conservative principles and promises. If we fail to learn from the errors of those who once had the political mantle, if we govern from a position of power at the expense of principles, or if we fail to keep a singular focus on policies that are good for Kentucky, then we risk following the same path of political extinction that has justly befallen the Left.
The Party’s actions must match its principles and values at all times – not merely when politically expedient. Simply put, the conservative principles that support our policies are fundamental, and we surrender those principles at our own peril. Although collectively Republicans may have many shades of conservative philosophy, the fact that a vast majority of Kentuckians walk in-step with us is the best evidence that we, as a Party, value independence, vigorous debate, depth of wisdom, and diversity of perspectives.
Spending the entirety of my adult life as a citizen of the Commonwealth has, and continues to be, a great blessing. During my time as Chairman, I pledge to be faithful to the principles that have been entrusted to us, and it is these values that will guide my judgement and decision-making. I look forward to working with all of you to deliver the government the citizens of Kentucky both demand and deserve.
Robert J. Benvenuti III serves as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky.