John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 123
Washington, DC 20004
Lars H. Hydle
DC Republican Committee Member & Chairman, 2016 DC Republican Party Platform Committee
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify before you today on this legislation to change the date of the 2018 District of Columbia Primary. I would like to thank Chairman Allen for holding this public hearing to listen to all sides. My name is Lars H. Hydle. I am here on behalf of the DC Republican Committee as a longtime member and as past Chairman of the 2016 DC Republican Party Platform Committee. Our Executive Director, Patrick Mara, is unable to attend today as he is tasked with picking up his child from a DC Public School.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am here today to voice the DC Republican Committee’s support for Bill 22-0197, the “Primary Date Alteration Amendment Act of 2017.” The legislation received the approval of both the Executive Committee and the General Membership of the DC Republican Committee. Members of our party agree that it is essential that those District of Columbia residents stationed overseas who are veterans, Foreign Service professionals or otherwise situated in a foreign country deserve the right to fully vote in our elections. As a former Foreign Service Officer often stationed overseas, I cannot stress enough the importance of allowing overseas District residents the opportunity to participate in our democracy.
I also want to take the opportunity to encourage the DC Council to reach out to the DC Republican Committee in advance of the 2020 election cycle. As you know, the late June 2016 city primary and the earlier than usual Republican National Convention (July 2016). forced DC Republicans to hold our own stand-alone primary separate from the city in March 2016. While we had thousands who participated in our primary we were forced to organize it at great expense. In addition, security concerns made us hold the event at a private venue. Obviously, elections held at individual precincts would increase participation. A Presidential primary planned in a bipartisan fashion would allow us to maximize participation in the primaries and highlight the District of Columbia at a national level. Please reach out to us in advance of the 2020 election cycle so that we can work together.
As I mentioned earlier, I was the Chairman of the DC GOP 2016 Platform Committee. As part of our local Platform we called for nonpartisan elections in DC. Of the thirty most populous cities in the United States (DC is number 27), twenty-two hold nonpartisan elections. Only eight cities including DC hold partisan elections. The DC GOP hopes the DC Council, the Mayor and the U.S. Congress would consider nonpartisan elections in the District of Columbia. Nonpartisan elections would provide a greater diversity of viewpoints within our local government and would likely expedite any solution to DC’s lack of Congressional representation.
Our 2016 platform also called for transferring the power to redistrict Ward council seats from the Council itself to an independent body.
Again, thank you for holding this informative hearing. We support the bill.
Lars H. Hydle