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Valley's Republican precinct caucuses to help mold GOP local, national platforms

County Republicans to gather March 9

Yakima County Republicans will soon have a chance to help mold the 2004 GOP platform, taking an up-close look at everything from national issues affecting the country to local issues taking place right here in the Yakima Valley.

Tuesday, March 9, Yakima County Republicans will gather at 26 locations throughout the Valley to discuss platform issues and select delegates to the Yakima County Republican Convention, which will take place Saturday, April 24.

Sunnyside's Chad Werkhoven, third district commissioner for the Yakima County Republican Party, explained that the precinct caucuses serve as a way for people to have input on the political party.

"You just can't miss the opportunity to set the agenda," he said.

All registered voters are invited to attend the precinct caucuses, with the only restrictions being that a person must attest to being a Republican and must not have attended caucuses for any other political party. Werkhoven said once a person has signed in at the precinct caucus they will be given a questionnaire to fill out. The questionnaire, which is sent to the local precincts from the state Republican party, deals with national, state and local issues. Werkhoven explained that the results from the questionnaires are compiled and then used to decide what the state Republican platform will be in 2004.

Once the questionnaires have been filled out by all attendees, Werkhoven said delegates are selected to take part in the upcoming Yakima County convention, which is where the official county GOP platform will be adopted.

Werkhoven explained that each precinct is allowed to send a select number of delegates to the county convention.

This year instead of each precinct conducting its own caucus, several different precincts will gather together for their meetings. For example, registered voters in precincts 1701-1703, 1705-1706, 1708, 3209, 4109, 4303, 4615, 4618, 4628 and 5001 will gather together for a meeting in the gymnasium at Sunnyside Christian Elementary School in Sunnyside. The Grandview meeting, which includes precincts 301-306, 3101, 3105 and 4105, will take place at the Carl L. Stevens Senior Center. The Mabton meeting, which includes precincts 901, 3601 and 4002, will take place at the Mabton School Administration building, and the Granger meeting, covering precincts 501, 3002, 3303 and 3902, will take place at in the library of Roosevelt Elementary School.

For information on which meeting to attend contact Republican headquarters at (509) 972-0631 or 1-800-972-7545, or call the Yakima County Auditor's Office at (509) 453-1340.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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