Traci Gauthier, Penobscot County GOP Chair

February 20, 2012 -- I had lunch with Traci Gauthier at Gilmor's in Lincoln, and we discussed how she helped transform the GOP, first in the Lincoln area, and then in the northern part of Penobscot County, how networking fits into her plans of building a stronger party in Penobscot County, which she hopes will become the next "red county", and explains the hierarchy of the state GOP, from the town, county, and state committees and what they actually do.

She also talked about one of the things she thinks most important, which is bringing the focus back to what the founders had in mind, which was, she explained, participation in local government being most important, and governing from the bottom up, instead of from the top down.

On the concept of "off-election years":
"My philosophy, going into being the Chair of Penobscot County, was that no year is an off-election year. There's always something to run for. So, for example, this past year, which a lot of people consider an off-election year, we considered that an election year, because there's town councils, planning boards,  school board, dog catcher. I don't care what it is for an office. If you can run for it, run for it."

On building the party in rural Maine:  
"One of the problems that I saw was town chairs that can't make it to county committee meetings and that don't hold an actual committee meeting themselves. Anybody in that town is pretty much left out of the loop. So having the regional coordinators sitting on our county committee that can bring back…information…keeps us all connected…all working together to build Penobscot County Republicans into a force to be reckoned with."

Listen to the interview here:

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