413th District Judge Bill Bosworth officially swore in Cleburne resident Pete Wrench as the new Johnson County Republican Party Chairman on Wednesday during a short ceremony at the Guinn Justice Center.
Wrench took the oath of office while former JCRP Chairman Henry Teich looked on.
Teich recently stepped down to run for the open District 58 state representative seat. Members of the JCRP’s executive committee appointed Wrench a few days later to serve out the unexpired portion of Teich’s term, which runs through June. Once that term expires voters will elect the next county chairman.
Wrench, 48, said he’s looking forward to the challenge of leading his party forward.
“I’m very excited,” Wrench said. “I’m especially excited about the 2014 primary, which I think will be the most hotly contested Republican primary in Johnson County’s history. I’m also optimistic, hoping we’ll have our highest voter turnout yet.”
Wrench, a University of Texas graduate, moved to Cleburne about nine years ago, but he’s long been active in the Republican Party.
“I’ve served as a precinct chair several times over the past 20 years,” Wrench said. “That’s your grass roots where you’re knocking on doors, getting voters registered and trying to get people to participate in the party.”
Wrench has also served as a delegate at every level from local to state to national having served as a national delegate for George Bush in 2000 and as a presidential elector in 2004, those being the people who make up the Electoral College. Wrench also served on the State Republican Executive Committee and twice on the party’s State Convention Rules Committee.
The three main responsibilities of a county party chairman include running the local primary, running the county convention and overseeing the day-to-day operations and maintaining the regular meeting schedule of the party, Wrench said.
“In addition to those primary responsibilities my goals are to increase voter registration in the county,” Wrench said. “Republicans currently hold all the state, and all the Johnson County, offices. But the Democrats plan to field a candidate for every state office, which is something they’ve not done in probably two decades. On a county level, I plan to work to increase registration to help counteract that and help Johnson County do our part to keep Texas red.”
That means stepping up outreach programs.
“Minority outreach is important,” Wrench said. “I’m one fourth Hispanic although I don’t look like it, but I speak Spanish and I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage. One of our party members, DeBorah Simpson, also does a lot of great work on minority outreach.
“I also hope to appeal to young people. We’re all affected, but they are going to be most affected by the policies our elected officials impose upon us. We hope to see some of the younger people who voted Democratic last time to come back to the fold.”
Wrench said he also hopes to continue and build upon the work Teich accomplished during his stint as chairman.
“Henry’s an honorable, decent and principled man and I definitely intend to consult him in the future,” Wrench said.