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Members Question Utah GOP Committee's Suspension Of Some Minority, Women Groups

Photo of Utah GOP headquarters.
Julia Ritchey

Members of the Utah GOP are scratching their heads over a decision by the party’s governing committee to temporarily decertify some groups that included women and minorities. 

Cindie Quintana is president of the Utah Republican Hispanic and Latino Coalition. The group has 25 members and has been around for about a decade. But, as of last Saturday, the coalition no longer has voting status on the Utah GOP’s governing State Central Committee.  

Quintana was at the meeting when a bloc of hardliners voted to oust her group. They even took her voting pad and badge.  

“I had the gentleman from the black assembly sitting in front of me, and then you have me, who's Hispanic, and they’re taking our credentials from us," she said, "it’s almost like they’re taking our voice away from us."

The Latino coalition was one of seven groups suspended over procedural objections by some conservative members. Other groups that lost status included the Utah Black Republicans, Teen Age Republicans and the Federation of Republican Women. 

“I don’t think it’s racist and I don’t think that there’s merit there, but the optics are very poor,” Quintana said. “And I can see how others can misconstrue that.”

Phil Wright, a member of the State Central Committee, defended the move. He said rules are rules and all members have to play by them. 

“I don’t see how the optics can look bad when the organization is simply saying, 'Here are the requirements for any auxiliary to be an approved auxiliary of the Republican Party.'”

All of these groups will now have to resubmit paperwork to prove their legitimacy before the committee’s next meeting later this summer. 

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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