Dena DeCamp Archives - SaintPetersBlog

Federation of Republican Women: We support the nominee

As big time Republican leaders prop up their egos and influence by supporting this presidential candidate or that presidential candidate and threatening not to support another, a significant grassroots GOP organization, which does the heavy campaign lifting right down to the grassroots, says it will support whoever the nominee is.

The board of the National Federation of Republican Women unanimously approved a resolution that chapters, officers and rank-and-file members will support the party’s nominee. That means Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or whoever is chosen.

“The thing is we have women in the federation who privately support Trump, Cruz or Kasich, but when the decision is made the Federation will support the party’s nomination,” said Dena DeCamp, president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women and a member of the national board of directors.

The federation and its chapters have many of the heavy lifters who work largely unseen and unselfishly for the party while the candidates and contributors primarily make showy speeches or big contributions.

The National Federation of Republican Women was founded in 1938 and currently has 1,400 chapters in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, said Lisa Ziriax, Federation communications director in Washington.

“We let the process play out in the presidential primaries and once the process is finished, the Federation supports the party’s nominee with its work,” she said.

That has been a Federation rule since its founding, Ziriax said, adding that this “unusual campaign season” necessitated another vote from the board.

“More than anything, our board of directors voted on a resolution that it would support whoever is the party’s nominee to re-emphasize that rule to our chapters and members,” she said.

The federation contains many female leaders in the party and many volunteers.

“We are a bottom-up Republican organization, which involves a lot of grassroots work,” Ziriax said.

Much of that grassroots work can be seen in Florida, especially when the federation’s campaign bus begins its travels around the state, DeCamp said.

“The board has approved the outfitting of a large bus with the slogan, ‘You have a reservation at our table,’ that will travel to the 11 battle states in the fall, “she said. “And, of course, Florida is one of the battle states.”

Florida Republican group strives to be “conservative alternative” to League of Women Voters

The president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women said that the League of Women Voters, whose proposed congressional and state Senate redistricting maps were adopted by the courts after it and other groups sued, is liberal in its policies and its membership is largely from Democrats.

Dena DeCamp of Lakeland said the Florida Federation intends to become a “conservative alternative” to the league and begin to push a conservative agenda and counter the league’s issues.

“We are going to become more aggressive. Instead of reacting and supporting legislation already filed, I want us to form our own policies and push our own legislation with the House and Senate,” she said.

Her remarks came just days before the Florida Federation of Republican Women, which is meeting this weekend at the Hilton Altamonte Springs.

DeCamp known for her organizational skills and activism helped local Republican groups become active, including helping the fledgling Tea Party groups in Central Florida become organized and create several local rallies.

She was elected president of the largest Republican women’s organization in the state and has taken to organizing that group as well, particularly her desire to treat the League of Women voters as a political entity full of liberals and Democrats

Former state senator and political columnist Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican, is a member of the Florida League of Women Voters Board. She has been highly critical of Gov. Rick Scott, who leads her party, but said the league is not a partisan group.

“The League protects democracy and the voting process,” Dockery said, “and it is open to everyone. Unfortunately, people who gravitate to the League tend to be mostly Democrats and independents, but there are Republican members and have been other Republican board members. We have men members as well.”

Dockery said the league backed the Fair Districts Amendment which passed by a margin of the state’s voters and had many Republicans voting for it.

“Amendment 1, the environmental protection amendment, passed with 75 percent of the vote so you have to assume quite a lot of Republicans voted for that as well,” she said.

Both women represent opposite ends of the Republican Party.

The Federation does have an agenda this year, which DeCamp said, much of which is aimed at aiding women and the underprivileged.

“We know they (the League of Women Voters) are not bipartisan, and we intend to have lobbyists in Tallahassee, too.” she said.

“The bills we support and create are common sense such as fiscal responsibility, tax cut bills and Kid Care for legal immigrants’ children,” DeCamp said. “We must provide care to legal immigrants’ children not just illegals’ kids.”

Don’t assume the federation is some sort of women’s auxiliary of the Republican Party. The group is active and aggressive in its politics and DeCamp said she intends it to become even more of a force in the coming months.

“We don’t sit in the back room licking stamps,” she said.

Dena DeCamp elected Florida Republican Women president

She was first vice president of the state federation, President of the Republican Women’s Club of Lakeland and is a former vice chair of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee.

Former state Rep. Deborah Tamargo, who chairs of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee, was elected first vice president of the Florida federation.

During the early formation of the Tea Party groups in Central Florida, DeCamp, known for her organizational skills, provided advice and planning for the groups’ rallies by lining up speakers, setting programs and introducing many of the newcomer leadership of the group to key Republicans.

DeCamp, 59, is owner of Embroidery Place, a custom embroidery business, and holds degrees in business from Polk State College and Florida Southern College Lakeland. And business is what got her into the political realm, she said.

“I have always been interested in politics and have been a life-long Republican. I was in business and I didn’t want to join a social club, so I joined the Republican Women,” she said.

Any member from local chapters up through the state and national chapters will immediately correct those who may think it is a social club.

The National Federation of Republican Women’s motto is “Politics is Women’s Work.”

Federation women are grass roots organizers knocking on doors for candidates, DeCamp said.

“On off election years we make phone calls and keep in touch (with voters),” she said. Most important we encourage Republican women to run for office and get out the vote.”

Polk County, as an example, she said, has a female state senator, state house member, property appraiser and clerk of court.

Among policy issues discussed at the convention is a proposed partnership with the Republican Party of Florida.

“We are a separate group from (the state party), but if we are in partnership we will be able to access important voter information, statistics and planning from it and from the Republican National Committee,” DeCamp said. “We can be more efficient with direct access to information that allows us to move on our grassroots campaign.”

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