Pachyderm Clubs can be found in counties and cities across the nation.
What is a pachyderm?
It’s a large mammal that has thick skin. Pachyderm Clubs identify with an elephant logo.
Founded in 1967 in Columbia, Missouri, the Pachyderm Club started as an informal gathering of citizens with Missouri State Representative George Parker. Parker was the first Republican elected from Boone County. The idea came after weekly meetings at the Daniel Boone Hotel, coining the name, “Noon at the Boone” group. The following year in 1968, members held a naming contest, the name that won was a play on GOP, “Grand Order of Pachyderm Clubs.” From there, in 1992 the club grew and earned its auxiliary by the Republican National Committee after its presence grew in nearly 10 different states.
Clubs expanded in communities across the nation and Montana and in Great Falls.
A founding principle comes from a quote from President Ronald Reagan, “Our freedoms are not safe unless we as citizens interest ourselves in government, inform ourselves about it, and involve ourselves in it. That is precisely what Pachyderms are doing.”
The Great Falls Chapter invited MTN News to attend its weekly meeting to get a better feel for what the club is all about.
“Living by the Constitution and Montana Code annotated the things that are basically the rules and the laws of the state,” said President Ron Staley.
The Pachyderm Club of Great Falls believes that offering citizens access to knowledge from different belief systems to make educated decisions on how members of the group will vote.
“We can make better decisions when we have more information, and that’s why we try to make sure that our speakers are people that can help us make better decisions as to who we're going to hear, who we're going to elect, or just giving us better perspectives on just different issues.”
This week’s speaker was former Secretary of State Brad Johnson, who spoke to recent concerns and conflicts that have arisen in the Cascade County Elections Office. Former Secretary Johnson’s speech or Q&A did not specifically go into past Cascade County Elections administration or current. He offered insight into how the current election process has gotten to this point.
Since the last primary election, concerns from opposing organizations have been brought forth including the current process and the integrity of electronic tabulators.
A point of contention was absentee voting.
“There have been more than a million Americans who have died in uniform in battle defending this most fundamental and sacred right for Americans and for Montanans to say, ‘I can't be bothered to go to the polls on Election Day to preserve the integrity of the process’ is frankly unconscionable,” stated Brad Johnson.
The Pachyderm Club is home to people of all beliefs and is a place for citizens to share their input on issues that matter.
“It's not just about one person's view of what they bring in to hear and to talk about. So, I just think they try to stay relevant…” Steven Galloway said, House District 24 Representative said.
From a legislative perspective, Representative Galloway said that it’s an opportunity for him to lobby for matters that are important to his constituents. He can present bills and inform other citizens about what is going on in the Montana House. Although this is a staunchly conservative group, many values are believed to be similar in nature.
“I think our values are very similar. I really don't think they're that different. We just have maybe different viewpoints of how we arrive at certain situations differently.”
The Pachyderm Club meets each Thursday at 12pm and will be meeting at a new location moving forward, 770 6th St. SW in Great Falls.
Their next guest speaker will be Casey Schreiner a Great Falls Mayoral candidate.
We reached out to the progressive group in town, Great Falls Rising if MTN News can sit in on its next gathering and they welcomed us wholeheartedly. Great Falls Rising does not meet in person since the pandemic but will invite us as they get back to meeting in person.
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