Big plans ahead for the Grays Harbor Republicans

Beth DeVaul was recently elected chair of the Grays Garbor Republican party. She lives in Elma and works as a business manager for Burgland, Schmidt & Associates in Hoquiam. DeVaul is engaged to Floyd Livingston and has three children: 29-year-old Jason, 19-year-old Anna and 13-year-old Tony. She also has a 15-year-old stepdaughter, Megan. She doesn’t have any grandchildren, but does have a few grand cats. During her very little free time, DeVaul can be found at Grays Harbor Raceway.

How did you first get involved in politics?

My entire family has been involved in the community – either in politics or in some other manner – for as long as I can remember. I heard stories about what a “staunch Republican” my maternal grandfather was. Everyone else was a Democrat in the family. My mother was involved with League of Women Voters in Corvallis, Oregon, where I grew up, and my father was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). I have three siblings and two sisters that are involved in politics — one Republican, one Democrat. My brother stays as far away from politics as possible.

Real political interest began in my mid-20s when I was asked to moderate a debate between two judges in a judicial race of some kind — I can’t remember the exact race nor the candidates’ names. I had so much fun moderating that debate and learned so much from it that I was hooked on politics from that day forward. I later worked on Denny Smith’s campaign back in the late 1980s when he ran for Congress, which furthered my interest not only in politics, but in the Republican Party and its conservative views.

When I entered college, I served on the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College board and was active in the Associated Students of Oregon State University. I was on the Legislative Team for the community college and testified before the Oregon State Legislature on issues affecting college students, such as health care and tuition costs.

What prompted you to become involved with the Grays Harbor Republican Party?

You get involved with the local party when you move — first order of business. Although it took me a few years after moving here to get signed up with them, I finally made it to their 2011 organizational meeting and I’ve been involved ever since. I was appointed Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) for precinct 301 in Elma and was later elected into that position — my first elected office.

How does your past involvement in political organizations qualify you to run the local Republican Party?

I have served on boards of several other organizations and earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on management. I am able to effectively interface with a wide range of unique personalities in diverse settings. My leadership skills, management experience and abilities to plan, organize, recruit, cooperate and execute will serve the party well.

I have worked on several campaigns, including local, congressional, and statewide races. I have doorbelled, phone-banked, worked fair booths, and several other events. I have distributed campaign literature, served on numerous party committees such as the audit and nominating committees, planned this last Lincoln Day Dinner and have been a PCO since 2011. I consider myself part of a team, and I’m hitting the ground listening. The party nominated and chose me. They chose me because they know that I am capable of leading the party.

What does the chair of the Grays Harbor Republican Party do?

The local party is focused on local issues and candidates. Our purpose statement is to “…elect officials to office, promote and make more effective in Grays Harbor County the Principles for which the Party stands…” My job is to make sure my team has the tools they need to do their jobs. One of our committees identifies and selects candidates to run for local offices. That is our primary focus — getting our candidates identified and elected. I am here to support and ensure the success of that team and that effort.

What are you hoping to accomplish during your time as Chair? Do you have any tangible goals?

With the help of my Central Committee, which consists of all the PCOs in the county, we identified several tangible goals. All of the precincts will have a Republican PCO, and we will double the size of our membership by the end of my tenure in December, 2014. I would also like to see a majority of the elected officials having come from our party. Lastly, I envision a scenario in which we have so many volunteers for events that we have to turn people away. We actually just had that happen with our fireworks booth.

What are some key issues the party will focus on in the upcoming election?

Here in Grays Harbor County, the number one issue right now is reducing our unemployment rate. I just went out on the WorkSource website and our current unemployment rate is 12.2 percent — the highest in the state. We have got to get people back to work. We need candidates that recognize the reasons why businesses are unwilling to relocate to the Harbor and tackle those issues. We also need to identify individuals who have given up on looking for work and are content to stay at home and use entitlement programs to fund their existence. We need to break that cycle and get these folks back into the workforce. But first, we have to have the jobs. That needs to be a priority.

We believe that good government is based on respect for and trust in the ability of individuals to chart the course of their own lives. We will be looking for candidates that share those core beliefs and have a plan for ensuring that citizens have the freedom to live by them.

Washington State Republican party leadership recently voted to cancel its 2014 conventions and host regional “grow the party” events. What is the Grays Harbor Republican Party doing to expand?

More and more people are waking up to the reality that government is taking over their lives. Freedom-loving, liberty-minded patriots are watching their unalienable rights being eroded away. They’re not happy about it and they’re jumping on our bandwagon. They’re fed up with the public schools allowing content to be taught to their children that is expressly against their beliefs. They’re fed up with the fact that they have to file for five different permits to build anything on their property. If you agree, join us at one of our central committee meetings to learn more about how you can help in this fight.

We meet the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the SouthShore Mall community room. We also have a website and we’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Regarding the Grow the Party event, we’re talking about doing a regional event with the other counties in the peninsula, ones that make up the 6th Congressional District. We need these coalitions in order to run effective campaigns and compete against those “other folks.” This will be a way for all of us to get together and prepare and plan for the next big election.

Grays Harbor County is represented by Democrats in the State Legislature. Do you think the county got what it needed out of this year’s legislative session?

Oh heck no — did anyone? But the Republicans were effective in blocking many bills that would have further burdened business owners and taxpayers. And it wasn’t just the Republicans. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus was united on multiple fronts and successfully defeated bills that would have cost taxpayers and small businesses dearly. They were also effective in protecting our Second Amendment rights. We actually have good representation in the Harbor. I would never say that what the Democrats are doing is good, but I do think that Rep. Brian Blake, Sen. Jim Hargrove and Rep. Kevin Van de Wege are all doing their jobs.