The Republican National Committee is important to the body of the Republican Party as a whole. Those representatives, specifically the ones who are the National Committeemen and Committeewomen, are vital to the process.
Over my time in Virginia politics, I have seen great leaders in the National Committeewoman role and I have seen not so great leaders. It’s rare to see someone come from the grassroots and run for one of the RNC offices. Usually, they are an elected official or they are a Fox News talking head, but not many of them come from the grassroots themselves.
However, we can fix that problem this coming Saturday with electing Jean Gannon of Powhatan County as Republican National Committeewoman.
Jean Gannon is a proven grassroots leader with over 10 years of experience in the Republican Party of Virginia. Jean has served in every office of the VFRW; from little roles to the big ones, she has filled them all.
Jean also served two terms as Unit Committee Chairwoman of the Powhatan County Republican Committee. In 2017, Powhatan County was the Republican Party of Virginia Committee of the Year. In 2018, Chairwoman Gannon was voted Chair of the Year by the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee.
Her bio, which was posted with her announcement on BearingDrift,  is included here:
Jean Gannon currently resides in Powhatan County, Virginia and has been a member of the Powhatan County Republican Committee (PCRC) since 2008. She was elected Chair of the PCRC in 2016 by way of mass meeting and has served the members of the PCRC through several election cycles, always supporting the Republican nominee through campaign efforts, fundraising events and Election Day operations.
“Always a Republican, Jean’s full throttle foray into politics began with the 2009 election of Governor Bob McDonnell. Since then she has been an active member and now Chair of the PCRC, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) and a contributor to the Republican National Committee (RNC).
“Jean was one of the founding members of the Mill Quarter Republican Woman’s Club, Powhatan’s chartered club of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women (VFRW) and served 5 years as co-chair on the VFRW Legislative Day committee. It was under Jean’s leadership that this event brought approximately 250 Republican women from around the Commonwealth to advocate to our Legislators during the General Assembly Session. Jean also served 2 years as Corresponding Secretary on the VFRW Executive Committee.
“In business, Jean is a certified residential real estate appraiser holding the SRA and AI-RRS designations from the Appraisal Institute. She specializes in high end residential real estate and testifies as an expert witness. She served on the executive committee and was the 2016 President of the Virginia Commonwealth Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.
“Jean has also participated on regional and national committees with the AI. Jean was a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board between 2013 and 2018.
“At home Jean enjoys family life with Thomas, her husband of 35 years, two gifted and talented daughters, a terrific son-in-law and two beautiful granddaughters. Jean and Tom have been adopted by three adorable cats and call Powhatan County their forever home.”
However, I think you would miss the point I’m trying to make about Mrs. Gannon’s readiness for the job if I just spoke of the titles she has held in the Republican Party of Virginia. Far too often, I see party officials “grace us mere mortals with their presence” at a campaign office. They might make a speech, the may pick up a phone while there are cameras out, and they might even knock one walk book on a Super Saturday.
That is not, and has never been, the Jean Gannon I know. Jean shows up to every event in her little red Hyundai (covered in 2000000000 Trump stickers) with her red blouse, bedazzled Trump pin, and, more importantly, her tennis shoes.
Now, y’all might wonder, why am I talking about her choice of shoes? Most Republican women show up to events in heels. Jean is too busy doing the grassroots work of the party to ever put on a pair of heels.
Jean is ALWAYS working. She is putting up signs, making calls, knocking on doors, organizing events. She has worn out countless pairs of those tennis shoes knocking doors for her candidates. I am not sure even if Jean ever goes to sleep, because I have gotten emails from her at 3am asking questions. Jean is a workhorse, not a showhorse. Her willingness to do the work, that no other party leader wants to do, shows the character of Mrs. Gannon.
Jean also has the privilege of learning about politics from the best of the best, the original Virginia Gentleman, Delegate Lee Ware. Jean has been helping Delegate Ware for years, something that should not be taken lightly. I can only imagine the knowledge she has gained from learning from such a masterful expert of the legislative process.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the devoutness of her faith. Many in the Republican Party use their faith as a method to elect themselves and not for much else. Mrs. Gannon relies on her faith to drive her actions. A proud Catholic mom, she doesn’t just talk about her faith, she lives by it in actions.
Jean and I are not the same kind of Republican, I am much more socially liberal than she is. However, she treats every activist or voter, no matter if it is the 60-year-old evangelical Christian or the 20-year-old LGBTQ College Republican, with the same amount of love and respect. Many in the party treat one activist or another, based on what “type” of Republican they are, different. That is not the Jean Gannon I know, Jean shows the love of Christ to truly ever single person that she meets.
Gannon represents a chance for Virginia to send a grassroots leader to the RNC. I look forward to Mrs. Gannon’s leadership on the Republican National Committee.