RNC Platform Chairman Predicts Unity at Convention

Sen. John Barrasso was named platform chairman

Wyoming Republican John Barrasso was named the RNC Platform Committee Chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Wyoming Republican John Barrasso was named the RNC Platform Committee Chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted May 24, 2016 at 1:50pm

The senator in charge of defining the Republican Party’s platform summed it up Tuesday with a new spin on the message of the presumptive nominee: “Make America grow again.”  

Sen. John Barrasso is predicting his party will unite, despite the divisive  presumed nominee, business mogul Donald Trump.  

Each state and territory delegation elects one man and one woman to the platform panel, with 116 members in total . And Barrasso expects many of them will be advocates for Trump’s positions.  

He described his role as chairman largely as ensuring that there’s an “open process” for the debate ahead of the formal opening of the convention in Cleveland in July.  

“These are people that are elected at home, to come to be on the committee and they’re going to drive it, they’re going to direct it, and I expect it’s going to be a conservative platform that lays out our vision for the country,” he said. “It’s going to focus on jobs, on the economy.”  

[Here’s Another Possible Headache at the GOP Convention] Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Tuesday that Barrasso would chair the RNC’s Convention Committee on Resolutions, also known as the platform Committee. Priebus also named Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin as co-chairs.  

The chairmanship of the panel rotates every four years between the governor, House member and senator on the panel. Barrasso said that Priebus consulted with Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in making the appointments.  

Barrasso is a logical choice as a member of the Kentucky Republican’s Senate leadership team.  

“We’re going to be united, I believe, behind a conservative platform that the delegates drive themselves,” Barrasso said Tuesday.  

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Barrasso declined to address questions about how the party will be able to unite behind Trump , who some have deemed not a true conservative. Instead, he focused on noting that the committee would craft a platform that addresses issues such as the economy, health care and energy.  

The former surgeon currently serves as the Republican Policy Committee chairman in the Senate, where he has focused largely on GOP health care initiatives and the response to the Affordable Care Act.  

Hailing from Wyoming and serving on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has given Barrasso a particular interest in those issues, as well.  

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“I’ve had a chance to meet with Donald Trump and to talk about energy. He understands it’s a master resource. We have an abundance of energy in the United States and we need to use that resource,” Barrasso told reporters. “He knows the impact of regulations coming out of Washington, and how they can hurt jobs, hurt communities.”  

Barrasso said he planned to speak with Ryan about the House’s agenda , and Foxx said she has been encouraged to get feedback from colleagues  

“One of the wonderful things about the Republican platform is it gets written out in the open. The Democrats do theirs in secret,” Foxx said.  

“Because we do our work in the open and because people will have a chance to make their suggestions to the committee … we’ll be able to come up with a very good platform that will represent the majority of Republicans,” she said, including ones that recently came into the party as part of Trump’s movement.  

Foxx said she also plans to meet with such groups as the House Freedom Caucus, Republican Study Committee and the Tuesday Group to learn their views on the party platform.  

The 116-member panel and its leadership will have to figure out how to address areas where Trump and Republican leadership on Capitol Hill have parted company, like on promoting free trade .  

“I expect this is going to be part of the discussion in Cleveland when the platform committee meets,” Barrasso said.  

Lindsey McPherson contributed.

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Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @nielslesniewski.


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