Lewis County Young Republicans Chair Says Removals From State Group ‘Wrongful’

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Lewis County Young Republicans Chair Rachel Anderson recently issued a statement following the separation of herself and Lewis County Republicans Chair Brandon Svenson from the Washington State Young Republicans (WSYR) organization.

WSYR announced earlier this month that its executive board had voted to remove Anderson and Svenson’s membership from WSYR due to “bullying, name calling and working against the WSYR.” Anderson said the Lewis County Young Republicans voted to remove themselves from the organization March 28.

WSYR’s news release does not specify what actions led to the pair’s removal from the state Young Republicans, but in her May 15 letter to Lewis County precinct committee officers, Anderson stated WSYR contacted her April 12 regarding allegations that she and the Lewis County Young Republicans (YRs) were withholding political action committee (PAC) funds.

“As Lewis County YRs we lead with transparency.  We manage our own registered PAC funds and bank account. Our books are always open at request for inspection. Upon confronting these baseless claims, I received notice of expulsion from the WSYR state organization,” Anderson wrote.

Anderson issued a letter to Lewis County precinct committee officers (PCOs) on Sunday, May 15, in response to WSYR’s May 6 news release announcing Anderson and Svenson’s removal from WSYR.

The move to expel Anderson and Svenson from WSYR came the same week several PCOs asked Svenson to step down as chair of the Lewis County Republicans. That followed a testy exchange with Lewis County sheriff candidate Tracy Murphy at a May 2 meeting.

If Svenson does not resign, PCOs who signed the letter calling for Svenson’s resignation will decide this month whether to call a meeting of all Lewis County Republican PCOs for a vote on whether to oust Svenson from the chairman position. The meeting will take place 20 days after that decision date in order to give all PCOs adequate notice to attend.

Lewis County Young Republicans began in 2021 as a local chapter of WSYR.

According to Anderson, the “expulsion was brought about because of a complaint Svenson had filed with the WSYRs and myself not strictly obeying the dictates of WSYR Chairman, Lennin Chacon.”

In her response letter, Anderson claimed WSYR removed her and Svenson from WSYR due to their disagreement over new bylaws that established a Discipline and Conflict Resolution Committee “and provided them significantly more power over Young Republican (YR) chapters.”

The WSYR Executive Board reportedly voted to send matters concerning Anderson and Svenson’s behavior to that Discipline and Conflict Resolution Committee, which reviewed all of the evidence and determined that Anderson and Svenson were guilty of bullying, name calling, and working against the WSYR, which is illegal according to the WSYR bylaws,” according to a news release.

“The national level bylaws are not nearly as strict nor overbearing,” Anderson wrote. “The WSYR board’s work in this revision was rushed. YR leadership were given six days to review 58 pages and initially unable to share bylaw changes transparently with our members. Chairman Svenson, during a conversation with WSYR Chairman Chacon, was told these changes were written to reign in compliance over myself and the Lewis County YRs specifically.”

Anderson said Lewis County Young Republicans “are united and stronger than ever before.”

“We will continue our work for Lewis County in the same capacity but standing independently from the WSYR state organization,” said Anderson. “We welcome your comments, encouragement, and questions at lewiscountyyr@gmail.com."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the Washington State Young Republicans removed the Lewis County Young Republicans March 28. That is the date when the Lewis County Young Republicans removed themselves from the state organization. 

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Anderson's full letter is below: 

Dear Lewis County Precinct Committee Officers, 

This letter is in response to the Washington State Young Republican (WSYR) press release published by the Chronicle on May 7, 2022. The WSYR board wrongfully removed sitting Lewis County Republican Party Chairman and elected official, Mayor Brandon Svenson, and myself from the organization. This expulsion was brought about because of a complaint Svenson had filed with the WSYRs and myself not strictly obeying the dictates of WSYR Chairman, Lennin Chacon.  

Despite all the tremendous work our LCYR team has accomplished to date, we have encountered push back from the chairman of the WSYRs. At our Lincoln Day Dinner on February 26, 2022, two volunteers from the Snohomish County Young Republicans (SCYR) were cruel to another volunteer, laughed and refused to help when asked to clear tables, and had behavioral complaints from guests sitting at the same table who did not know who the men were. Following the event, LCRP Chairman Svenson spoke with WSYR Chairman, Lennin Chacon to bring resolution regarding this issue as well as the oversight on LCYRs. A solution was proposed that Svenson be a mitigator. However, this was not received well after several unsuccessful attempts made by Chairman Svenson to bring closure to the matter and mitigate conversations between myself and Chacon. Svenson sent a letter of complaint to Chacon stating his disproval of the chairman’s conduct in this matter. Shortly thereafter, he received notice of expulsion from the WSYR organization. 

As the president of the Lewis County Young Republicans (LCYRs), I volunteer my time to the recruitment, training, and election of Young Republicans at the county level meanwhile navigating through WSYR updates at the state level. Earlier this year, the WSYRs board approved the revision of their bylaws which established a “Discipline and Conflict Resolution Committee” and provided them significantly more power over local Young Republican (YR) chapters. The national level bylaws are not nearly as strict nor overbearing. The WSYR board’s work in this revision was rushed. YR leadership were given 6 days to review 58 pages and initially unable to share bylaw changes transparently with our members. Chairman Svenson, during a conversation with WSYR Chairman Chacon, was told these changes were written to reign in compliance over myself and the Lewis County YRs specifically. I was contacted on April 12, 2022, regarding the decision of the newly formed "Discipline and Conflict Resolution Committee" and their investigation into "allegations" against myself and that the LCYRs were withholding political action committee (PAC) funds. Such allegations are absolutely false. As Lewis County YRs we lead with transparency. We manage our own registered PAC funds and bank account. Our books are always open at request for inspection. Upon confronting these baseless claims, I received notice of expulsion from the WSYR state organization. 

The Lewis County Young Republicans is a grassroots organization founded in 2021 by a small group of passionate Young Republicans. We have grown to a membership of 60 and have been the leading voice in the Lewis County Republican Party for political action, outreach, and social media. Our team helped organize the Lincoln Day Dinner in February 2022 where we sold out at 230 tickets and raised over $45,000 before expenses. The support from the Lewis County community was overwhelming; the likes of which has never been seen before. Young people from across the county are joining to be a part of the positive momentum we have created. We are leaders in this Republican wave!  

Although Svenson and I were wrongfully removed from the Washington State Young Republicans state organization, we recognize this is a terrible diversion from the election ahead of us this November.  On Mar 28, 2022, before my expulsion, LCYRs voted to remove our chapter from WSYRS. The Lewis County Young Republicans are united and stronger than ever before. We will continue our work for Lewis County in the same capacity but standing independently from the WSYR state organization. We welcome your comments, encouragement, and questions at lewiscountyyr@gmail.com. Thank you for your continued support of Lewis County Young Republicans!

Thank You,

Rachel Anderson

Founder and Chair

Lewis County Young Republicans