SANDY – Willie Billings, former chair of the Washington County Republican Party, was elected as the vice chairman of the Utah Republican Party Saturday at the party’s organizing convention. According to Billings, it’s the first time in 20 years that someone from Southern Utah will serve in a state-level leadership position. Back then the vice chair was held by St. George native Cleo Atkin who served for three terms.
Commenting on his election as the new vice chair, Billings said, “within a week or so I’ll find out what I’ve really gotten myself into.”
As the new vice chair of the party, Billings said his first job will be supporting the state chair, newly elected James Evans of Salt Lake City. Nonetheless, he said he has particular goals he campaigned on and will pursue moving forward.
One of Billings’ goals involves getting as many Republican clubs into high schools as possible so future voters can receive “caucus convention training.” The more these teen Republicans understand the voting process and the Utah caucus system the better, he said.
“The 14 years-old now will be voting for the next president,” Billings said.
Billings said he is a product of the state caucus system and said getting prospective voters familiar with the state system will also help defend it against those who seek to do away with it.
Another primary goal is to help bring the party’s core leadership into “complete unity and alignment.”
“People have to remove their egos,” he said.
An example of party unity he pointed to was how the campaign had been largely positive, with little to no negativity to speak of. After winning the election, Billings said he and the other candidates had met and planned to work together as partners within the party.
The election of a vice chair from Southern Utah may also help break any ideas that the state party is primarily Wasatch Front-centric.
“This is not a Wasatch Front party,” Billings said, “but the Utah state party.”
Billings served as the Washington County Republican Party Chairman for two years, and has served in various other capacities within the party before that. When not involved in politics he runs Billings Financial Groups, an investment advisory firm.
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