SBA-List's Interview With RNC Chair Candidate Maria Cino

Maria Cino

What is your position on the Right to Life, how was your position shaped and what experience do you have promoting that view? 

 I am in fact pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and goes through natural death.  That is something I have believed since the beginning of Maria, and I say that because of my faith and because of my family.  I was raised in a very, very ethnic household.  Very Italian, very Catholic.  I have only attended Catholic Schools from Kindergarten through college.  The first eight years of my life I spent more time in church than in the playground because we went to church everyday.  I was very fortunate because not only was I raised by very loving parents but I was raised by the sisters of St. Joseph and our dioscine priests who I’m still very close too… For me it is something I’ve always grown up with…

 Most of the late 30 years I’ve worked at the RNC or outside it with specific candidates… for me, what I have done is built strong coalitions that have elected very conservative republican candidates on all levels and I’ve done that for the last 30 years.  Particularly, with Bill Paxton, when I ran his race for Congress which we won.  We worked closely with NRLC and NY RTL organizations.  We worked very closely in ways at the RNC and the NRCC that I think we’ve gotten away from a little bit, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m running for Chairman.  We need to build strong conservative coalitions, socially conservative, fiscally conservative, national defense conservative coalitions.  I think you will know from my campaign I put out 4 position papers in 2012.  One of the things we would call for is by April 2011 we would ask all 50 states, including the territories to submit a plan for victory 2011, 2012… we are looking at this an as 18 month plan so we can get ready not only for  2011 but 2013.   One of the key components of that plan would be a strong coalition plan.  That would involve the work we have done with NTLC with EF, with Family Research Council and other groups.  They would be a key component of this plan.  Because as you know, we can win elections with conservative voters.  We win election conservative Republicans.  We have a pro-life speaker and hopefully a pro-life President which I hope to do in 2012 and a pro-life us senate as well as local races. 

 We have not done as much of but it was a very successful program in 2000, you’ll notice I have not talked as much about this because it is tactical but in 2000 I worked very closely with Catholic Outreach… we established probably a historic catholic outreach program in 2000.  That program was well funded, had resources necessary to register Republicans.  We were able to identify Catholics and get Catholics and conservatives out to vote.  That is our goal, to motivate folks to vote.  There is nothing better than movement conservatives that will come out and vote for our candidates once you educate them. 

 As Chair what will you do differently than current and past administrations on the issues of Life.  Will you highlight the issue in political advertisements and the institution of the RNC?

 You have to have a plan and that plan can’t be established two weeks or two months before an election.  These are relationships with organizations that have been going on for decades.  These are relationships with state parties that understand the importance and if they don’t we can supply the expertise.  The victory plans include strong social conservative coalition plans.  I would like to use technology much better we were able to store important information we have and we must get that to state parties to use that.  We must have and continue the open door policy whether is weekly meetings or conference calls and we can’t leave out the state organizations.  Sometimes it is the state parties that need to resources and the organization much more. 

 There have been conversations about your leadership with WISH List.  Could you give your perspective on why you were involved in WISH List and how you feel about it now?

 In 1993 I had the honor of being appointed by Bill Paxton as Executive Director of the NRCC.  It was an honor because I had been an intern at that committee.  The NRCC in ’93, we actually talked about bankruptcy, which was unheard of, but we were in pretty rough shape.  We had just lost the White House … we lost the Senate, and nobody ever believed that the House would be Republican….that being said, not a lot of people gave money to the NRCC, as a matter of fact we were able to count the envelopes ourselves, and many of the members involved or tangentially involved with WISH were very, very generous to the NRCC.  They helped raise money, they gave us money, and they never asked how that money was going to be used.  Because of their efforts and financial resources.  For the first time in 42 years we elected a Republican majority, we also elected a pro-life speaker. 

 In 1997, they asked me to help them.  I told them that I was pro-life, they understood that….My involvement with WISH was plain and simple, to use WISH as a vehicle against EMILYS List to elect Republican women.  After a year, it became clear to me that unlike the 80’s and 90’s, we had a lot of pro-life women that were now running.  And we needed to get more women to run.  I started VIEW PAC, which was a PAC that allowed us to give to pro-life women running for congress.  We are still in existence and continue to work to get pro-life women elected, in fact this last cycle we maxed out to people like Martha Roby, Ann Marie Buerkle, and Kelly Ayotte.  So I moved from WISH LIST because I felt like I needed a vehicle to help many of the pro-life women running for Congress.

 WISH List being a strictly pro-choice engine for Republican women is partisan, Susan B. Anthony list, which is non-partisan was brought about to counter such organizations as WISH.  What then made you set aside your deep pro-life conviction to help WISH?

 I didn’t look at it as a pro-choice or pro-life organization.  I have been committed for the last 20-sum odd years to electing republican women.  Our numbers were abominable; we had about 10% Republican women in the US House of Representatives.  Democrats had about 30-40%.  I looked at it from a standpoint of electing women, and remember, the times were a little different then, many of the women were pro-choice.   What we were able to do over the years, was get more conservative, pro-life women to run than ever before.  I realized we needed to provide a mechanism for them and left WISH List to do that very thing, to provide the mechanism for women to run as pro-life candidates and recruit them to run.  We had historic elections this past time for women, pro-life republican women. 

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