Carson City Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill said Tuesday he had no plans to attend the Carson party executive committee meeting that evening.
He was asked to attend a Tuesday night Executive Board meeting and defend his vote for the governor’s education tax package. The invitation came in an unsigned two-page letter, not on party stationary, that charged that he had “violated the county platform regarding education and taxes.”
“Your support of the commerce tax violated the trust placed in you and calls your integrity into question,” said the letter. “For these reasons, the Carson City Republican Party (CCRCC) is considering your removal from the Carson City Republican Party.”
“I’ve got other things scheduled,” said O’Neill, who is running for re-election to the District 40 seat.
He said given the contents of the letter, the authors of the note have already made their decision: “From their prior history, their actions, I think it’s a foregone conclusion.”
Two volunteers at the Carson Republican headquarters on California Street told the Appeal last week the letter didn’t come out of that office because it wasn’t on party stationary and wasn’t signed. They said CCRCC chairman Roger Haynes would call the Appeal, he didn’t.
But, said O’Neill, “Nobody has called me to disown it or clarify or anything else.” He said if the party itself didn’t author the letter, they should have called him to say so.
“To me they’re in agreement with it,” he said.
O’Neill said key reasons for his decision to change his stance and support the tax package included getting more funding to support community colleges. He said Western Nevada College and the others “develop and train Nevada’s technical work force to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers.”
“These companies (new and expanding businesses) need what those colleges are producing,” he said.
He said he also backs the expanded K-12 education funding and reforms to greatly expand education choice.
In addition, he said that he supported getting state workers back to full time work with full time pay and funding for a northern Nevada veteran’s home..
He said in a response to the letter that the positions the party is demanding and he and other candidates follow “are not those of the true Republican Party.”
“The Carson City Republican Party has abandoned what is good for the state now and in the future for holding on tightly to some antiquated ideals that will ensure Nevada has no future as an economic power in the United States,” he said.
Whatever the Carson GOP decides to do, they actually have no authority to remove O’Neill or anyone else from the party since the ability to register with any party is a First Amendment right.
O’Neill said he can maintain his status as a registered Republican and run as a member of the party whatever they do.