Trower: Why I Am Running for Norfolk Republican Chairman

By Cole Trower

I grew up in Ocean View learning to read at Pretlow Library, learning to swim on the beach behind Nansemond on the Bay, learned to fish on Harrison’s fishing pier, had my first haircut at Davenport’s Barber Shop where I am still a loyal customer/friend.

I hit my first homerun at Tarleton baseball fields, learned to play the cello at Fairlawn Elementary, won a national championship with the Norfolk Knights basketball team, and I played my first high school football game for Lake Taylor against Granby.

I was a cub scout and later active in the youth group at Calvary Presbyterian on Kempsville Road. I held my grandmother’s hand as she passed away at DePaul Hospital and laid my cousin to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Norfolk is very special to me. I took special pride in helping my friend Wayne Coleman run for the Virginia Senate where we were massive underdogs and at the end of the day nearly pulled off the political upset of the year, losing by only a handful of votes. I spent many long days making phone calls, putting up signs, and knocking doors in the cold rain.

I was honored to play a small role in the efforts of collecting signatures in the Fairlawn neighborhood in the push for an elected Norfolk School Board under the leadership of Dennis Gronka, Bob Brown, and Max Shapiro. We won!

I have often been asked why I would want to be chairman of the Norfolk Republican Party. They tell me it is a thankless job, that the committee has low membership and low funds, and can barely manage to put the signs up at the polls on election day. They tell me it is full of drama, egos, and infighting. I can not argue with them as I have seen first hand the dirty tactics used against me such as the illegal bylaw amendments to bar me from running for chair because I worked for a political candidate.

I’ve seen the complete abuse of power by the current chairman to rig the votes where the call meeting was held at 7:45 AM on a Saturday morning, the 500 percent increase of the chairman’s filing fee, the effort to have the mass meeting time at the peak of Hampton Roads rush hour making it difficult for working folks to attend.

I’ve seen the complete disregard for Robert’s Rules of Order, the attempted fixing of the membership rolls where people who have never been voted in as a member somehow became voting members, how the current chairman threatened my 68-year-old father to physical violence, or how my opponent is falsely telling people I was never on the JMU football team (you can see my team picture here), not to mention the current chairman handing out my mug shot from when I got into a college brawl on Halloween night years ago.

The Norfolk GOP needs a uniter, not a divider. We need someone who brings hope and positivity. We need someone who can grow the party and bring a sense of comradery and purpose to a group that has drifted to the corners of irrelevancy.

There is a famous saying in politics that “all politics is local.” If we neglect our local unit, then how can we expect to win statewide? We are simply getting blown out by the Democrats in Norfolk, and it is causing our candidates to lose statewide because they cannot make up the margins elsewhere. We could win Virginia if we were to lose Norfolk by less.

The numbers don’t lie. Donald Trump earned almost 20,000 votes in Norfolk. To put that in perspective, that’s more than Shenandoah County and Page County combined! That’s right, there are more Republican voters in Norfolk than two blood red Republican counties combined.

My life experiences growing up in Norfolk, alongside the skills I have acquired while working campaigns, give me the tools needed to coordinate election efforts to help us succeed.

Norfolk has helped shape my life. I care deeply about our community and growing our Republican Party.  I would be honored to earn your vote at the mass meeting on April 19th so that together we can shape the policies of Norfolk, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America.

The Republican Party of Norfolk Mass Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30 PM, at the Norfolk Masonic Lodge on Granby Street. Take a photo ID to vote.

Cole Trower, 26, holds a degree in Public Administration from James Madison University. He lives in Norfolk where he owns a small business focusing on organizational consulting, and is active in Virginia Politics.