The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

March 18, 2012

Letters to the Editor 3/18/12



Deborah King


Letter was incorrect

Dear Editor:

As a sitting member of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee (LCREC), I feel obligated to address the charges made by our former vice chairman Randy Smeenk in his letter to the News Courier dated March 11, 2012.

Mr. Smeenk alleged that our current chairman, Ronnie Coffman, and vice chairman, Rex Davis, had used their LCREC positions for personal and financial gain. The basis for this charge was that the LCREC had taken the action to reduce the qualifying fee for candidates for the 2012 elections, in which both Mr. Coffman and Mr. Davis are participating.  He likewise made the charge that it was “morally and ethically wrong” for those holding leadership positions in the LCREC to run for public office, and that the reduction in qualifying fees would “unfairly and significantly reduce financial assistance available to all Republican candidates in Limestone County as they move into the fall general election”.

Mr. Smeenk’s information is incorrect and needs clarification.

No. 1. The change in qualifying fees was approved by the entire membership of the LCREC unanimously.  We believed as a committee that the reduction in fees would encourage potential candidates to run who might have decided otherwise due to the qualifying fees being cost-prohibitive.

No. 2. Mr. Coffman and Mr. Davis are not the first LCREC officers to ever run for office. Even if they were, I personally don’t see a problem with this practice.  The officers of the LCREC are the ones on the front lines communicating the values and ideals of the Republican Party, and are exactly the type of people we want as candidates. 

No. 3. The change in qualifying fees is not reducing the financial assistance available to Republican candidates for the elections this fall in any way. Three of the five races have no Democratic opposition and no fall campaign to fund. A fourth race has the qualifying fees set by the state rather than the local party.  The fifth race had no Primary since there was only one declared candidate.

In conclusion, while Mr. Smeenk may have problems with the way the LCREC handled the qualifying fees for this election, in no way does it approach the level of being “morally and ethically wrong.” His portrayal of the situation unnecessarily damages the reputations of not only the two individuals in question but the Republican Party of Limestone County as a whole.


Vic Schiavone


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