The following are remarks by Thomas A. Fuentes, chairman emeritus of the Republican Party of Orange County, upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Republican Party at its convention luncheon in Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 2011. He titled his remarks “Be Not Afraid.”
Mr. Chairman, Honorable and Distinguished Guests, Fellow Republicans, all, thank you very much for this honor. I am humbled and flattered by your recognition.
It has been more than 50 years since I walked my first precinct, in Los Angeles — this, the city of my birth — for our Republican nominees in 1960. Ever since, Orange County has been home.
Since that time, I have come to know you; to love our party; and to share wonderful times of work and victories with you. By your kindness, I have enjoyed roles of leadership along side of you.
Today, as I come to bid you a fond farewell, I ask you to continue your good efforts. Continue to work as we have worked for so many years, together, to foster the noble and wholesome ideals of our conservative cause.
Be not afraid, my friends.
Reject Schwarzenegger, Whitman
When next you see the likes of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, do not be afraid to reject him. He and his circle were a cancer in our party — a cancer far worse than mine — for which we will long pay a price.
When next you see a candidate who thinks that only money is the way to win, like Meg Whitman, do not be afraid to tell her and her paid henchmen so. Remind her that ideas are demanded by the people. Not platitudes.
When next you see a legislator who is worried only about his re-election or his next move, rather than the growth of our party to a majority, do not be afraid to challenge him to engage in truly building our party.
And, most especially, at this unique moment in time when moneyed special interests are set to gut our party’s traditional conservative platform, do not be afraid to stand firm and tell them that we are not just a party of big business and special interests. We are a party of people, with values and principles that must be defended.
California has become a failed place. The vulgarity and violence that pours out of Hollywood goes unchallenged by our civic leaders. Crime is rampant in the streets. The adulterous conduct of ranking elected officials is commonplace. Our children are left without heroes and role models. These are social issues that, too, are a part of what must be addressed by a party of leadership.
Do not abandon the unborn and the elderly. Be Republicans.
The Silicon Valley and its selfish sentiments are not what we want as a culture for California. Our party is not just for the rich or elite.
Yes, our numbers are in the minority in Sacramento, today. But, our elected Republican legislators and officeholders, across the state, must each and all become vibrant and vocal in their Bully Pulpits. And, we must be there to support them in their vital role of Loyal Opposition. We Republicans have to offer the people real ideas and solutions if they are to join us in victory.
Again, I thank you, for this honor, today.
I ask you to not sell out our party to the highest cash bidder.
My friends, be not afraid.
Remind Mr. Munger that he has only one vote in the ballot box, just like you and I do. Sustain our platform as a true conservative Republican platform.
Thank you very much. God bless you all.
Tom Fuentes, a Conservative Champion, dies at 63
Thomas A. Fuentes Remembered As a Patriot, Friend, Mentor to Youth — Thomas L. Phillips remembers a leader and a dear friend, whose “insight and sage political advice were invaluable” to the organizations and individuals he counseled.
To Tom Fuentes, A Simple Man — a tribute from Kathy Tavoularis, who served as the executive director for the California Republican Party from 1993-2005 and worked directly for Fuentes.
Tom Fuentes: A Life in Pictures