Best was having fun, on and off air. Some of the off-air was funnier, and some better info than I gave on-air. This is a really well scripted show. Appreciated that they have me come in, do the interview, then they do their discussion and updates afterwards so that I (or whomever is being interviewed) can get back to work.
My thanks and hat tip to Hawaii #conservative champion BFF @EricRyan. Welcome video on the @NRA Facebook page. Great video gives a boost when antis want to take our #2A, also an invitation to please Like the new NRA FB page.
Yeah, you saw only @DanaLoesch. But, c’mon, at the 34-second mark is this one-second image of a defiant #SecondAmendment supporter celebrating #winning during the Atlanta #NRAAM. Thanks to NRA vid & ad gang for getting me in. I know, totally random, but still. And, a reminder – you never know when you’re on camera or tape. Be appropriate, always, everywhere.
#NRA #NRABoard @NRA-ILA #M2AGA #DefenderofFreedom #gunrights #gunowners @NRAAM #patriot #guns #firearms #ShallNotBeInfringed #freedom #nocompromise #FreedomsSafestPlace @WillesLee FB WillesLeeNRA www.WillesLee.com. There’s more, heh. When you run the subtitles as #WayneLaPierre gives his speech it implies, sort of, MY loud voice. No?
Horray for earned media. This, in John Crump’s Ammoland.com article, about #2A bills moving through the House. Including “LtCol Willes K. Lee (ret), who is an NRA board member and President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), speaking on behalf of himself said, “The Second Amendment affirms our God-given right of self-defense. National Right-to-Carry reciprocity remains the NRA, and my, number one legislative priority. It is about time Congress moved on President Trump’s campaign promise.” He then went on to say, “This is common sense legislation to make Americans safer. All the 2A community should call their congressman now. We need reciprocity, and we want to see the votes on the floor prior to the 2018 primary elections.”
This is a personal opinion and is not position or policy of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- With the announcement of NRA’s 36 candidates for the 2018 Board of Directors election, we’ll look back at a small piece of 2017’s election and NRA leadership legacy. Why present this unique situation? I am the only non-nominated member of the NRA Board of Directors, and we know the legacy of my specific seat.
Known as a legislative force since the 70’s, the NRA for 140+ years is the gold-standard in so much more – firearms training, competitions, safety, certification, collecting, shooting, hunting, and conservation, and more. This article adds transparency to the NRA election process, and tells of how I dropped into the middle of NRA leadership legacy.
Each year, NRA elects 25 board members for three-year terms. In exceptional years, there are additional seats to fill if a position opens by resignation or death. NRA Life members and current members for five or more consecutive years receive their ballot in their Official NRA periodical (first-class letter for Hawaii only). With the published figure of 5.2 NRA million members, there are almost 2.2 million who receive ballots. Few other major organizations allow “you” to have a say. Disappointingly, and consistently, only about 7% of NRA ballots are returned (135,000 for 6.2% in 2017).
An additional Board member, #76, is elected for a one-year term by membership attending the NRAAM. There’s a reason for this basic background, keep reading.
Unlike a legislative race in your hometown or state where candidates know their district boundaries and registered voters, NRA does not tell who or where the NRA voters are. NRA Board candidates run a national election to find two million NRA voters mixed in with 320 million Americans. Without celebrity name recognition, it is a shotgun approach (no pun intended) to find an eligible voter, earn their vote, and convince them to vote. This is important to understand the unlikely odds of the below scenario.
Each Board member has strengths and weaknesses, areas of expertise, particular preferences and dislikes. Celebrities with name recognition typically don’t have to campaign. For grassroots folks who do the nug work on committees, the NRA election is relatively daunting.
The NRA Nominating Committee receives recommendations and presents a ‘slate’ of NRA-approved nominees. Usually, all incumbents plus a few others with solid resumes and Board member support. Having been involved with Board activities and serving on NRA committees, I was fortunate to receive a nomination in 2016. Still, I lost, mostly. NRA maintains the election order of votes received to fill vacancies between elections. I lost “mostly” by finishing #28 of 37. My “loss” got interesting when previous incumbents #26 and 27 moved back on the Board. I became “one off” in the fall of 2016. One Off is the guy, or gal, to next move up.
In January 2017, Mr. Roy Innis died. Mr. Innis was an icon in the civil rights movement. Since 1968, he was the Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) which included his fight for gun rights, especially minority rights of self-defense. Roy was a 25-year member of the NRA Board of Directors. I met Roy in passing years ago, and the past two years served on his NRA Urban Affairs Committee. Roy’s son Niger and I are close friends from years in the conservative movement and we work together on the renamed NRA Outreach committee.
Interestingly, NRA always has 76 board members. Within hours of Roy’s death, I had been contacted, provided and filed the proper paperwork, and scheduled for swearing in. I had Roy Innis’ Board seat, no one fills his shoes, from January to April.
I was not nominated by the NRA Nominating Committee for 2017. When Committee results were announced, long-time NRA Board member Col. Ollie North “suggested” I seek ballot access by petition. Having only one, versus six, months to collect signatures, we succeeded because many of you signed and collected signatures. Now an outsider, our team worked hard to make the case for Board membership. A grassroots campaign, your votes secured a seat. Thank you. That isn’t the end of the story.
In 2017, there were 27 spots open. 25 as is the norm, a two-year position due to a death, and a one-year due to resignation. The top vote-getters, with name recognition, receive about 80-100,000 votes. As the numbers decrease, there were six or seven candidates separated by scant hundreds of votes clustered around 69,000 now competing for three seats. This time, you propelled us to win #26, the two-year vacancy. Disappointed to not win a three-year term, it is a privilege to win any seat, to serve, and to contribute.
This seat carries another leadership legacy. Wisconsin’s Francis E “Buster” Bachhuber, Jr. was a lawyer with Infantry service in Korea. Buster was a renaissance guy. Had a law firm, and reloaded his hunting ammo. Was an Instrument-rated commercial pilot, and comfortable in the NRA-ILA trenches. He was a Director for 13 years. For the last three years, we’d speak during meetings as he shared his lessons learned. Buster died while serving. #26, the two-year seat.
What are the odds out of 320 million in America, 5.2 million NRA members, 2.2 million voters, 135,000 votes cast, that for a second time I would know the legacy of my seat? Would I prefer to be one of the 25? Of course. As long as that isn’t the case, it is satisfying to know the legacy of today’s seat.
Many great patriots serve to make the National Rifle Association the most powerful Second Amendment advocate, firearms training and safety organization, and leader in conservation. In this case, we carry the leadership legacy of two who served selflessly with distinction. With legislative gun rights issues and the growing popularity of shooting activities, it is more important than ever to shape our Board with active leadership for the coming decade.
Research the candidates, and cast your vote.
About Willes K. Lee
Lieutenant Colonel Willes K. Lee USA (Ret) is a member of the NRA Board of Directors from Hawaii and Virginia. He is a Benefactor Life member, serving on five NRA committees. Lee is a West Point graduate, U.S Army combat veteran, who served 26 years as a Defender of Freedom. Willes is the President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a co-Chairman of the Trump-Pence Second Amendment Coalition, a member of the Council for National Policy, and on the board of the American Conservative Union Foundation, hosts of CPAC. He is a former GOP State Chairman and RNC member. Follow Lee www.WillesLee.com, Twitter and Instagram @WillesLee, and www.Facebook.com/WillesLeeNRA.
Hard to get back to get thoughts on paper when so much happens each week. After NYC, Las Vegas, Texas, California … hurricanes, travel, meetings …. When I need the endorphins, I kick up my running. So far, more like a slow jog, but been here before so I know where to go. Each time I get out of shape, I swear I’ll never do it again because it is so much work to get back in shape. My excuse this go-around is work on my knee, but really I am just lazy and soft. Grew up running track and field. Fifth grade teacher got me interested, and that’s the first time I experienced “rig”, what we call the rigamortis of major lactic acid buildup, and my first race win. Still enjoy the feeling of the race, the competition – lining up, mano-a-mano (and, women), first to finish wins, everyone else loses. Towards the end of my Army career, began training and competing in 5k and 10k races, still keeping a hand (or foot) on the track in the 800m and 400m. At the Pentagon, ran with the Potomac Valley track Club, in Hawaii trained and ran with the Hawaii Master’s Track Club. Got tired of getting beaten by folks who shouldn’t be beating me, I changed my lifestyle for a couple year, and added serious training. Once you experience the “high” of shorter distance races, you begin considering going longer. You may not do so, for many assorted reasons, but all of us consider it. Testing myself as I entered my 40’s, decided to run a marathon. Trained for eight months. Did all my own research, training, trial & error, but it wasn’t as if I hadn’t been running all my life. Did well in the Honolulu Marathon but cramped at 24 miles going back over Diamond Head. Pretty much limped to the finish. Think I ran a 3:45. Spent the rest of the day in the fetal position in pain. Knew I could do it better, so I began training for the next year. 1o months, seven prep races of 10k’s, a couple half marathons, a couple 20k races, two 5k for speed work. Training is important but races get you ready for a race – the jostling, the crowds, the adrenaline, the pre- and post-race timing. Best workouts: 16 x 6-min miles on the track at Punahou HS in Honolulu, 4 min interval between miles seemed long at first, by the end of the workout time flew by right up to the next 6 min mile. Another was a Virginia 20-miler morning run on the W&OD bike trail from Arlington to Vienna and back, then off to work that day. Race date dictates your preparation: when to work at which distance or speed, where to run (I run the entire marathon course in pieces to know the route and surface and chokepoints and such). Typically, I’ll drop body weight (slowly, to maintain strength) more for a marathon where you don’t want to lug around fat-weight than when we run on the track where you need a little bulk for the close-quarters and jostling. Each race is different: start time and weather dictates last meal, what to eat, hydration, when to arrive, when to line up. Nailed it. Ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:12 (which was actually like a 3:12:50). Beautiful day – had been training in Hawaii 80 degree temps so the race start at 58 degrees in less humidity was perfect. Tied up going over the 14th Street bridge. Finished strong, then went to a family party, no pain because I was prepared and training properly. A month later for fun cruised the Honolulu Marathon again, this time in 3:30. The challenge of racing a marathon isn’t in the race. It is in the year or more of training, preparation, proper diet, sleep, cross training, cold- and hot-weather runs, bad weather, family events, travel, work. Racing a marathon is actually anti-climatic. I knew my body so well by race day, that each time (except that first time) I predicted within 90 seconds my finish time. Met my running goals, so I slacked. My body was tuned enough that I ran two more marathons after with little to no training, both around 3:30 going out and back over Diamond head. Same time frame, won the Hawaii State masters 800m in a pedestrian 2:18. Never been about running for me. Now, it is about having somewhat relatively clear lungs, maintaining my weight. Always been about the competition- against others and myself.
Racing on the track is a completely different animal.
Last year, got my left knee scoped. That’s my excuse for not running for a year. Just getting back, putzing through slow 2-3-4 mile runs, hardly a jog and what I would not consider a run for my run log just three years ago. .But, it feels good to be out again. I don’t think I’ll compete again. The pain, work, commitment is more than I have time or desire to endure. I am glad I competed. Normal people, mortals, cannot understand the need to line up, put yourself out there, go down on record – you win or you lose. Winning is best, but either is better than never trying.
Deciding to get back in as winter comes to the east coast isn’t particularly good timing. It’s been cold, windy, rainy … “No need to give me excuses, I have thousands of my own.” Just do it. One thing you get in distance that you don’t on the track: yesterday, I stopped at a small bridge over a creek while a deer (sort of oddly shaped three-point) crossed not six feet from me. In the city/suburbs, they are, obviously, pretty unafraid.