LIBERTY – Members of the county’s Republican Party were called together to select a new leader following the resignation of party chair Emily Cook.
Cook announced her resignation in a letter to party vice-chair Sherial Lawson last Friday, Feb. 17, citing personal reasons.
"It has been an honor to serve as Republican Party chair. I am proud of the progress we made in growing the engagement of Republicans in Liberty County and look forward to the party continuing to be a voice in how our county is governed,” said Cook in a statement to The Vindicator.
Shortly after, a special meeting was set for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the offices of the local party to consider, discuss and accept the resignation of Cook, who has served in that role since 2021.
Following a motion to accept her resignation, the committee moved on to the nomination process for a new chair, with nominations being made for Liberty City Councilman Tommy Brents and the party’s vice chair, Sherial Lawson.
The candidates both gave brief remarks before those supporting each candidate offered their reasons why each candidate should be considered for the job. Brents supporters made a case for his fresh new energy, while those favoring Lawson lauded her ample time serving the party.
Both candidates fielded a question on whether they supported the continuation of the Liberty County Office of Elections following recent issues with Elections Administrator Klint Bush.
While both candidates appeared to be in support of the office continuing, Lawson made some comments that led to a somewhat quarrelsome exchange with County Clerk Lee Chambers, who also serves as the party secretary.
Lawson insinuated that some members of Chambers staff would quit working in the event the clerk’s office took over the duties of elections, a notion the county clerk disputed. After a short discussion, Lawson apologized, and the meeting moved on to electing a new chair.
Once the votes were tabulated, Lawson was named the party's new chair until an election could be held during the Republican Primary in March 2024.
At that time, Lawson named Wesley Thomas, the Pct. 24 chair, as the party’s new vice chair moving forward.
After the meeting, publicity coordinator and office manager Sarah Vickery tendered her resignation, citing that she no longer felt like she had a voice in the party, but would remain a sustained supporter.
“I would like to see them building bridges where we can strengthen the team instead of hamstringing Republicans that share different views on certain issues,” said Vickery.