MCGOP Attends SURUS Summit

MCGOP Pillar Leader Kim Miller


McLean GOP Leaders Attend SURUS Summit

Five leaders from the McLean County Republicans attended a conference sponsored by SURUS Illinois on August 16th. SURUS Illinois is a political operative of entrepreneurs, former candidates, political staffers, and passionate conservatives who envision an Illinois in which a motivated and galvanized citizenry is the most potent political force. Their stated mission is to turn Illinois Red. They believe they can do so by reaching a “victory number” of 562,399 votes. The hope is to develop a healthy political ecosystem that works daily to change the hearts and minds of pursuable voters.


Attending on behalf of the McLean County Republicans were Dennis Grundler, Chair; Joanne Knipmeyer, Project Manager; Connie Beard, Fundraising Manager; Carl Wenning, Communications Manager; and Kim Miller, Election Operations Manager. Each individual is charged with filing particular aspects of the SURUS battle plan.

According to Election Operations Chair Kim Miller, “I am working with a dedicated committee, and we are actively working to find conservative precinct committeemen and candidates to run for the local county board elections and also people to run for statewide offices. Our PCs are meeting monthly and gaining momentum to achieve our county victory number of 6,654.” The victory number is the additional votes needed to turn Illinois Red.   

During the morning session, Barrett Davies, co-founder of SURUS, encouraged and challenged participants. He indicated that conservatives must all work together on the SURUS battle plan. He said it is possible to return Illinois to its conservative roots by doing so. Former gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan from Petersburg also spoke. He challenged attendees to remember why we are involved in politics in Illinois and urged us not to compromise on our personal beliefs. 

The afternoon consisted of breakout sessions where participants were segregated by party assignment. “In the breakout session I attended,” noted Miller, “I gained valuable ideas on effectively recruiting candidates from political veteran Dan Patlak. Dan serves with Illinois Policy Institute. I am looking forward to implementing the ideas Dan shared.”

“One of the speakers said that many people choose to get involved with politics when policy intersects with their personal life. I know that was true for me,” said Miller. “For most of my life, I voted conservatively but was never personally involved beyond that. When Illinois legalized full-term abortion, policy intersected with my life, and I could no longer remain silent.” Miller has been working closely with McLean County Republicans for over a year. She noted, “I have met many wonderful like-minded people, and we believe that the direction of Illinois can be turned around, but it will take all of us working together.” 

Miller continued, “I want the voters of McLean County to know that I have found that there are very diverse strong opinions among Republicans, but we have key things we generally agree on. Republicans believe in the Constitution. Freedom of religion and a belief in God is crucial for a strong nation. The right to bear arms is non-negotiable. We believe in the sanctity of all human life.  Republicans support laws and policies that support strong traditional family values.  We believe capitalism creates a strong economy. We want lower taxes.  We want less federal control because we believe most decisions affecting our lives should be made at the local level. We believe in a strong military. We also welcome and believe in legal immigration.”

The SURUS Summit was held in Petersburg, Illinois. 

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