What is a PCO?

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Jun 12, 2012 Comments Off on What is a PCO? PLA Admin

Everyone who is registered to vote has a vested interest in determining who the PCO is.

What is a PCO?  It is a “Precinct Committee Officer”, the elected office that is the closest to the people, and which has the greatest power in determining the goals, orientation and culture of their local political party.  The PCO serves as a liaison between the voters of a precinct (approximately 1500 or fewer voters) and the political party. He or she serves alternately as a representative to the party of the views of the grassroots, and as a representative to the precinct of the vision of the party. PCOs are also charged with informing the precinct of the location and time of the caucus, as well as facilitating the vote for the precinct during the caucus every two years. They must therefore be familiar with the rules governing caucus voting and the election of delegates to county conventions.

As a member of the County Republican Central Committee, a PCO is also a member of the voting body that elects the officers of the party, including the chairman, members of the Executive Board and Legislative District Chairs. These positions have a lot of influence over the direction and philosophy of the local party, including candidate access to party resources and how conventions will be conducted.

In the prior structure of the Clark County Republican Party, the PCO played a very minor role in operations.  A ‘Reorganization Meeting’ was held in December 2012 (every two years), at which time the PCOs in attendance ratified completely reformed party bylaws (160-3) and voted in entirely new leadership (11 elected positions by 60%-67% margins). Previously, most PCOs were not involved in any official party business until the next caucus.  A few were asked to help various candidates campaign in their precincts, and many PCOs were involved in local politics in other capacities, but for the most part, decisions were handed down to them by the board or the party chair. In the 2012 Clark County convention, more than one PCO was as mystified as I was about the way it was being run.  They had not been consulted nor apparently trained either individually or as part of a larger PCO body on any aspect of the convention.

Part of our organization’s goals is to make the PCO a stronger office and in Clark County this was accomplished.  As the elected party representatives for the voters, the body of PCOs are much closer to the grassroots than local party officials who are more heavily influenced by state party officials. Part of restoring the PCO office to a more central role in the party involves having quarterly meetings of the Central Committee instead of only once a year or once every two years, as was previously the case. The board is now much more inviting of feedback from the activists in the county. Expanding the number of people who have influence over decision-making reduces the ability of a few “bosses” to control the direction of the party. It also encourages participation among the many activists in the county who in the past felt they were without enough of a forum to air their concerns. As new voices are heard, the party remains relevant and the pulse of the populace is more readily discernible.  This is translating into a stronger party with a more tested message, and one which can achieve greater success at higher margins of victory.

The PCO Liberty Alliance (PCOLA) was founded to support and help elect Republican PCO candidates who 1) generally support the published objectives of PCOLA; and 2) would like to leverage the collaborative structure of PCOLA for their election. PCOLA expressly does not endorse, recommend or fund any non-PCO political candidate, political policy, initiative, or any other activity unrelated to the explicit objective of helping its allied PCO candidates become elected. The views and actions of the individual PCO candidates associated with the PCOLA group and founding members of PCOLA, acting as individuals, are neither controlled nor endorsed in any way by PCOLA. Links to other resources from any PCOLA website are for informational purposes and the content of any linked resource is not fully reviewed or endorsed in any way by the PCO Liberty Alliance. The appearance of any political candidate in front of PCOLA associated PCO candidates or at any PCOLA sponsored event does not imply PCOLA endorsement of the candidate in any way. Any information distributed at any PCOLA event or to any PCOLA list is strictly educational in nature and in no way implies endorsement of any person, initiative or local or national issue.