The Montgomery County Republican Committee now has a new leader and she has already hit the ground running.
Elizabeth Preate Havey was elected to a four-year term as committee chairwoman last week, becoming the party’s first female leader.
Messages of goodwill have been coming nonstop ever since.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook, as well as my email. There are a lot of people who want to help, and I’m excited about that,” she said.
An attorney with Philadelphia-based Dilworth Paxson LLP who specializes in corporate and finance law, Havey said she hopes to apply at the county level the lessons she has learned as leader of the Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth, rebuilding that organization from the bottom up.
“When I took it over, it was really a broken committee. We didn’t have any money, we had a ton of vacant committee spots, we couldn’t even find a donor list, we didn’t have an email list, we didn’t have a working printer,” Havey said.
“So we — I, with the help of a really wonderful team of people — put all of those fundamental building blocks back in place in Lower Merion,” she said.
Hard work and lots of outreach led to the election of one new Republican township commissioner and re-election of another in Lower Merion, Havey said, and she hopes to apply a similar approach across the county. Priority one is fundraising, along with a listening tour with local leaders from throughout the county, to learn how the county organization can link local groups with each other.
“We need to have our area leaders, and our municipal leaders, more engaged, focused on vulnerable municipalities, and new strategic thinking on how to win more local races,” Havey said.
A full ballot this fall means Havey and the Montgomery County Republican Committee will have their hands full focusing on state house and senate races, alongside the races of U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (1st District) and candidates Dan David (4th) and Pearl Kim (5th), both of which include parts of Montgomery County, and the races of Scott Wagner for governor, Jeff Bartos for lieutenant governor, and Lou Barletta for U.S. Senator.
“We have a full plate, and what I’ve been doing is talking to the state reps and senators, I’ve spoken to Senator (Pat) Toomey, Congressman Fitzpatrick, Dan David, about what they want from MCRC,” Havey said.
“I’ve been meeting with their staffers, I’ve been talking with their strategists, and all of these meetings will continue to take place, so we can build a plan in the next few months,” she said.
An upgrade to the Montgomery County Republican Committee’s website is already in the works, and Havey said building a stronger online presence is another high priority, and one way to reach younger voters.
“We want to engage youth on a number of levels. One is through digital campaigns, but another one would be through reaching out to schools. We did that in Lower Merion with wonderful success,” Havey said.
In Lower Merion, Havey said, she took that committee’s message directly to students by speaking at Villanova University and Harriton High School, and made arrangements with Villanova and with the Lower Merion School District to have interns working for the local committee earn school credits. Similar tactics could work at the county level, she said, as could working with local high school and college Republican clubs, which she said worked in Lower Merion.
“They volunteered at our events, they worked on door knocking for us, on making phone calls. They’ve been wonderful, so I want to put a plan in place for us to have that kind of outreach across Montgomery County,” she said.
Also appointed by a vote of committee members during a May 31 meeting were member Nancy Becker of Towamencin to be vice chairwoman and Anthony Spangler of Horsham as secretary/treasurer, and Havey thanked them, candidates Justice Sandra Schultz Newman, Dr. Robert Griffith, and France Krazalkovich for their efforts, and all committee members for their support.
The next few days will be busy for Havey, and for the committee — office hours in Blue Bell followed by a Montgomery County Republican Women’s Leadership group meeting on June 6, three fundraisers for local candidates on June 7, meetings with state Republican officials over the weekend, all ahead of a Chairman’s Club event for donors on June 14, and more still being scheduled.
“My calendar is already filled with events to attend, and we’re going to be adding a whole bunch more,” Havey said.