“We’re proud that one of our RLC members has stepped forward to challenge the inept management of the national GOP under the reign of Reince Priebus. But this endorsement is not just because he is one of our own, it is because he is eminently qualified to lead the resurgence of the national Republican Party,” said RLC National Chair Dave Nalle.
Willis is the Republican National Committeeman from Maine and a member of the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus. He is one of the elected delegates from Maine who were unseated by the RNC Credentials Committee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa under the watch of Priebus. He said he saw how the heavy-handed tactics of the national party organization impacted the morale of grassroots which helped lead to the defeat of Priebus’ hand-picked presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“In the case of Maine, we came home heroes due to the fact that we never gave in as a delegation and even though half our duly-elected delegation was unseated, we refused to take the deals that were offered. We stood up for what is right and never wavered,” Willis said.
Willis said delegates from throughout the country were “outraged” at the fast gavel tactics endorsed by Priebus that enacted rule changes which take control of the 2016 presidential nomination process away from the state parties and the grassroots and put it under top-down control by party insiders.
Rule 12 gives unprecedented power to the RNC to change party rules without input or approval of state parties and Rule 16 removes the rights of states to choose their own delegates, forcing all state parties to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention based on presidential preference polls.
Willis said his first act as national GOP Chair would be to repeal the rules adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention and “apologize to the GOP grassroots for being overzealous and promise that such behavior will never happen again.”
Willis said the GOP can regain regain the confidence of the voters if its top management listens to the grassroots.
“If we are truly the party of liberty, equality and favoritism for none, then let’s start acting like it by embracing the grassroots once and for all! Welcome them, don’t push them away, discourage them and then expect their vote in November,” Willis said.
Nalle said the national Republican Liberty Caucus had been one of the first GOP organizations to condemn the rules changes and Willis shows courage by taking a stand for the grassroots members of the party.
“No one came forward to challenge these rules until state committees started passing resolutions from the grassroots. Mark Willis is demonstrating leadership by stating upfront that hard working local party members should have a strong voice in guiding the party instead of a handful of Establishment elitists trying to shove decisions from the top down,” Nalle said.
Willis holds a Bachelors Degree in International Relations and a Doctor of Law degree from George Mason University. He also has a Masters in Information Technology from Bowie State University. He was a U.S. Army counterintelligence agent in Haiti and Bosnia and was a senior software engineer at the U.S. Army Security and Intelligence Command (INSCOM) and was INSCOM liaison to the National Security Agency. He is currently Applications Security Manager for a Fortune 100 corporation and runs a family Icelandic sheep farm in a small town in eastern Maine, where he is also serves on the local Board of Education.