In July 2010 Steve Munisteri was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
Steve's victory was the first time in recent history that a challenger, backed by a grassroots groundswell of support, had defeated a sitting chairman.
YCT's Historian, Kasey Golden, recently sat down with Mr. Munisteri to talk about YCT and how his experiences with the group help him in his new job.
Before founding YCT, Steve Munisteri was the State Chairman of the Texas chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF).
After the YAF state convention in February 1980, Steve
decided to sit down with board members to propose a new state-based organization.
and other Texas YAF members did not like how the national organization was run.
It was run in a top-down fashion, neglecting state politics and failing to work with and through the grassroots.
Indeed, after state chapters had spent much of their time raising money for YAF
, they did not feel like they were getting a return back to their state chapters.
proposed a new organization; one that would have more effect on state and local politics and that would enable students to get real, hands-on experience with Texas politics.
Recognizing Steve's vision, the board voted unanimously to create Young Conservatives of Texas
The new organization was founded and unveiled to the public on Texas Independence Day, March 2nd, 1980.
How did YCT make you who you are today?
emphasizes that, most importantly, YCT
gave him the confidence to accomplish some of his
After successfully establishing a new organization, he
felt that he
could do anything.
In addition, his
leadership of YCT
also helped him to develop skills that have served him throughout his
taught him to become a great public speaker, which served him well in his
was forced to learn how to work with people who have varying political views and shepherd them towards a common goal.
And, after spending some time managing YCT's money, he
soon mastered the basic skills required to make a budget, pay bills, and run a statewide office.
The confidence Steve
built in YCT
led him to start his
own businesses and, most recently, to seek his
current position as State Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas
Like when he
again saw the need for a new direction and new leadership with the state party.
As for the challenges of the job, Steve
was prepared for them.
He observed that, "being RPT chairman is a lot like being YCT chairman.
knew that because of our consistent, principled endorsement process, that YCT's endorsement carried a lot of weight amongst conservative voters.
How do you think being in YCT
will help students in their futures?
Along with the leadership and practical political experience members receive, Steve
stresses the vast network of YCT
alumni that has formed over the past thirty years.
believes that a strong Voter Identification bill will be passed and that, despite the state's deficit, the budget will be balanced without raising taxes.
is also hopeful that there will be some effective changes made to secure our border and deal with illegal immigration.
And because of the number of conservatives in the Texas House, he
is not especially worried about redistricting.
As for YCT's
top legislative priority for the 82nd Session, Steve
is a little more skeptical.
is confident that a concealed carry on campus bill will pass the House, he
predicts that it will be held-up and defeated in the Senate.
Overall though, it is clear that YCT
and YCTers will play an integral role in shaping policy during the 82nd Legislative Session.
Since being elected RPT Chairman, Mr. Munisteri has seen tremendous success.
campaign promise to eliminate the party's record debt, bringing the party into the black ahead of schedule.
led an effort to create a "rainy day fund" for the state party to ensure its financial solvency for years to come.
also oversaw great success by the RPT
in the 2010 elections; 22 Republican challengers defeated incumbent House Democrats.
In addition, after the election, Steve
has seen two additional Democratic State Representatives abandon the Democratic Party to become Republicans, ushering in a 101-49 Republican supermajority in the Texas House.
is very proud of the job that he
is doing and we are proud to call him one of our own.
Behind the Scenes: Legislative Ratings Process