Friday, February 20, 2015

Guzman, Wolkinson, And Arndt Seek MI GOP Administrative Vice Chair Spot


 By Brandon Hall   
(Email him at

>>>Check out an interview of Joseph Guzman below. He faces current Administrative Vice Chair David Wolkinson, a former Snyder and Bentivolio staffer, and Chris Arndt, a farmer who is  sometimes controversial in his Facebook posts.

 Arndt, when asked questions, referred to his website:

David Wolkinson

We were not able to catch up with Wolkinson for an interview, but appreciate his willingness to do one. He did post this on Facebook:

"I am running for admin vice chair, a delegate asked me some questions and I shared my answers, a second delegate suggested I share it here. I would appreciate all of your votes and if anyone has any question call me 248 804 1961.

here are some questions that i was asked recently by another delegate

2. As Admin. Vice Chair where are the 3 ( not 1 or 2 but 3 ) areas you can HELP IMPROVE on that makes you want to run for this position?

1) According to the party bylaws are chief responsibility is running the conventions and other events put on by state party. Here are 3 priorities for me if I am re-elected. 1) Ensure that there is free access to the ballet at convention for all Republican candidates. Already in Washington there are insiders talking about parrying down the field to a select few candidates, I think that is a terrible idea. Bill Buckley used to say that he would trust the first 1000 names in the phone book to govern him than the Harvard faculty. I totally agree, I trust the grass roots and I don’t want any unelected bosses in Washington telling us who gets to be in debates and who we get to vote for. As admin vice chair I will endure that any Republican be he Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or even Lindsey Graham has an equal playing field to contend in Michigan. 2) For years we have rotated between Oakland County, Lansing, Detroit and Grand Rapids for our conventions at state committee meetings. I have been talking with district and county chairs all around the state and this doesn’t make much sense to me. Why can’t other places host events? There are 800000 people in Macomb is it fair that we never do convention there? I don’t think so, I want to open the process up so that other cities like Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Muskegeon and even places like Alpena can bid to host events. Of course we need to consider the logistics of any place that we select but we should open up these events to other places in the state to get more people involved. 3) Improve the efficiency of our conventions specifically the voting process. I have spoken to countless delegates that have told me about different issues that they have had. Because of a paper work snafu I was forced to wait on the sidelines to vote in the last convention and I was a sitting officer of state party. These problems stem for systemic operational issues at state party and I am confident that working with a new chair we will be able to address these issues promptly.

3. Part Time State Reps and Senators in Michigan YES or NO?
Yes, look at prop 1. We have a full time legislature and they didn’t with their full time calendar have enough time to select spending priorities so they asked us the voters to do their job for them. This is just another reflection of how little they do in spite of being “full time”

4. Rick Snyder is ( Complete this Sentence )
A nerd who is too timid to propose the bold reforms that are necessary to make Michigan great again. Absent right to work (which was forced on him) I can’t think of another truly bold reform that he has made.

5. Why are you the best candidate & or most qualified.
I’ve done this job in challenging circumstances for the last 2 years and I have learned a lot. The most common criticism of me that I have heard running for re-election is that I’m “not a team player.” I don’t think that is at all the case, I very much understand that we all need to work together to get our jobs done (which is electing Republicans). However, I have strong principles, they include limiting government and supporting individual freedom (both here and abroad.) That means when the Governor (even if he is a member of party) runs on expanding Medicaid or raising taxes I am going to oppose him. My integrity is not for sale and I will always chose my values over my party."

>>>As Joseph Guzman started speaking at the "4th District Round Up" event in early January, I was instantly impressed. Guzman, currently a Michigan State Professor, was speaking about his campaign for Michigan Republican Party Administrative Vice-Chair.
Guzman recently talked to WMP about the vision, values, and experience he hopes to bring to the position, and even talked about the May 5th road tax package.
What the heck does the Administrative Vice-Chair do?
"They are responsible for all conventions, conferences, candidate events and activities sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party, along with any other duties as directed by the Chair," Guzman said. "It should be a very active position-the way we conduct events is very important."
Guzman has significant experience in Washington D.C.
"I was the director of the Biometrics Management Office at the Department of Defense," Guzman said. "As a result of working in those circles, in the second term of the Bush administration, i went to the Air Force where I was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Manpower And Reserve Affairs," Guzman said.
When his boss left, Guzman went to the Navy.
"I worked in the Comptroller's Office and helped manage the finances of the Navy as a Deputy Assistant Secretary," Guzman said. "It was a $150 billion budget-a lot of detailed work. For the end of the Bush administration, I performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy."
Guzman wants to engage local delegates more and also increase tech use at the State Party level.
"It is really important to implement micro-targeted surveys to fully accommodate event needs beforehand and afterwards, let's figure out how we can do it better next time," Guzman said. "Our events, while serious and important should also be fun-people should look forward to coming. I have a vision. We need to expand our base, appeal to young and newly registered voters, move forward with new technology, and start preparing for 2016," Guzman said.
Guzman opposes the May 5th Road Tax Package.
"I don't support any new taxes," Guzman said. "We are so heavily taxed in this state. My biggest issue is that there is no sunset-they will spend this money forever. New roads and improved infrastructure is vital, but all these other things in the package shouldn't be in the mix, too."
Guzman, left, with Adi Sathi, Coalitions Chair candidate, right

Guzman would also like to "support 'Right To Work' contractors" if possible during MIGOP events.
"Right To Work is a tool we should utilize more," Guzman said.
Guzman believes "unity" between the grassroots and establishment can come through leadership.
"Unity is important but leadership is key," Guzman said. "As a party, we must set the example. We have a lot of great people out there-you can't muzzle someone. People feeling like they have a muzzle causes issues-let people say their bit and let's move on. We should have an open discussion among friends. People should be able to hear from candidates. And if you think someone is acting in bad faith or doing a whisper campaign or cheap attacks, or whatever the issue may be, don't support them. Se the tone, don't write a new rule."

State Rep. Lee Chatfield

Guzman believes State Party officials should stay neutral in primaries like that of Lee Chatfield vs. Frank Foster last year.

"Incumbency is good, but local districts and counties need to make these hard choices as to who will represent them," Guzman said. "The State Party needs to let the grassroots-the foundation of our party-decide issues in their communities. Anything else is probably inappropriate."

 Guzman supports the 2012 GOP Platform.

"The platform is our synthesized statement as a party of what the Constitution means and what our American values are," Guzman said. "We need to stick to it."

 Who is his favorite President?

"In my lifetime at least, Reagan," Guzman said. "He had an amazing sense of humor. He was so courageous and upbeat even in the face of great challenges."

Guzman is ready to hit the ground running.

"It's an office where I think I can make a significant contribution," Guzman said. "And it's imperative we prepare for 2016. This is a big election-the time to build the party is now. I believe I can do the things that are needed well. I would consider success in this role to be that I am able to help elect the candidates the delegates want."

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics. >>>Email him at 

Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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