One of the most rewarding facets of being a Republican leader in California for more than a decade is the extraordinary people I have met. Thaddeus Taylor, former Chairman of the Inyo County Republican Party, U.S. Army intelligence officer, and a patriot represented the finest the Republican Party, and America, has to offer.
In 2002, shortly after I was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, then-California Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel called a special Executive Committee meeting for one evening at a restaurant in Orange County. It was one of my first opportunities to meet fellow Republican leaders from around the state, and since a quorum wasn’t met, there was plenty of time to talk.
Inyo County Chairman Thaddeus Taylor was a dedicated volunteer, driving down from his home in Bishop to Orange County for a meeting which would likely not draw the necessary quorum. He went because it was his duty, and that sense of duty was at the center of Chairman Taylor’s life.
Years later, when I served as Chairman of the CRP, Thaddeus Taylor was one of those Republican leaders I could call on for ideas and advice. He wasn’t the leader of the most populous county, or of some faction whose votes I needed, but he carried a lifetime of wisdom and insight upon which I frequently called. He was one of those few people whose phone never went to voice mail, he always picked up and answered with an enthusiastic, “Ronnie!”
Inyo County is home to Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the lower 48 states. Once each year during my chairmanship, and continuing for years after, we would meet up in Death Valley with our Porsches, for which we shared a common passion, to do what Porsches are meant to do. Thaddeus drove an old school 1997 911 model 993, the last of the air cooled Porsches: a far more traditional — and better — model than my 2003 Boxster. In the evenings, often joined by fellow Republican leaders whom I would invite to be a part of this annual pilgrimage, we would sit around and talk politics and world affairs. There was never a dull, or quiet, moment as Chairman Taylor had a gift for conversation on any and every conceivable topic.
We will not again be able to call upon Thaddeus Taylor for his wisdom or wit. We can take pride that our party, and our country, produces leaders and patriots like this. Although Thaddeus was an Army veteran, he would forgive me for using a Navy term to close this piece.