The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston is bustling with thousands of Republican activists as the 2022 Republican Party of Texas Convention officially kicks off.
While the convention is traditionally held every election year, this is the first time in four years that delegates are able to gather in-person for their business. In 2020, the convention was moved online after the City of Houston banned the gathering from taking place due to fears of COVID spreading.
It is also the first convention overseen by Chairman Matt Rinaldi since he took over the position last July. In his opening speech, Rinaldi made it clear that the party would become even more active fighting as it fights for its priorities and against the left.
“We can’t be content with merely winning elections and slowing America’s leftward trajectory. We can’t rest on achieving a few legislative victories, then sit back proud and content. from contests. We need to take the fight directly to the left and go on offense,” said Rinaldi.
Absent from mention in Rinaldi’s speech-–as well as the convention entirely—is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who opted to hold his own private event on Thursday evening.
“We’ve seen the GOP wake up to this realization, and where we have, we’ve seen success. Republicans like Lt. Gov. Patrick and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida have stood up against corporations (like Disney) receiving special favors from the government,” said Rinaldi.
Rinaldi also highlighted the importance of ending the practice of placing Democrats in leadership positions, a practice that has plagued the Texas Legislature and led to the demise of conservative legislation.
“Going on offense means when we put our time and treasure into electing Republicans, we expect Republicans to lead our state, not the party that wants to destroy everything we hold dear. This means that Republicans need to end the practice of appointing Democrats to chairmanships.”
The statement was met by raucous applause from the delegation, which is currently considering making the issue a legislative priority of the Texas GOP.
“We can’t compromise with Democrats who have a different and incompatible vision for our future,” Rinaldi added.
While the speech from Rinaldi officially kicked off the convention, the business has only just begun. From Thursday through Saturday, delegates will elect party leaders, designate legislative priorities, and tweak the party platform.