To say that Bowie County in northeast Texas is a Democratic Party bastion would be a gross understatement. The 923 square-mile jurisdiction, which has a population of almost 90,000, had never in its history elected a Republican to county office before 2010, when a determined 34-year old conservative defeated her Democrat opponent for the County Clerk's job. Now, six months after taking office, she finds herself engaged in cultural combat with those liberals who are still clinging to power on the Texas side of the border with Arkansas.
Pamela Geller has a chronicle of Natalie Nichols and her struggle with the entrenched Bowie County "progressives":
Natalie Nichols, a newly elected county clerk in Texas, is fighting back against a rogue court that actually voted to remove the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer from the court's official records. She refuses to do it, has made it her official stance and is now actually being threatened with legal action by a representative of the district attorney's office. But Nichols is standing firm: She has stated that she would rather be removed from office than acquiesce to this.Examiner Devonia Smith, on how Natalie Nichols found inspiration in 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to "fight like a girl" for the principles she believes in:
Of course, the district attorney is a Democrat. Nichols, who was inspired to go into politics by watching Sarah Palin in 2008, was the first-ever Republican woman elected to a county-wide office in the history of Bowie County, Texas. "Since our county's been in existence," she told me, "it was just understood that if you wanted to run for office, you ran as a Democrat or you had no chance." Nichols, however, was not interested in doing that: "I wasn't about to compromise my values to get into office, and I will not compromise them now that I am in office. I ran as a Christian conservative and I am a Christian conservative."
As county clerk, Nichols keeps the minutes of the proceedings of the Commissioners Court, which are held before an audience and begin with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. While Nichols was away attending a county clerk training conference on June 13, the Commissioners Court voted to remove the invocation from the minutes of a previous meeting. Why? Nichols said that County Judge Sterling Lacy told her that he "didn't want some group like the ACLU to come in and sue."
They removed the Pledge from the minutes also. Nichols commented: "Are we now afraid to be patriotic in America? Well, I am not. I will not sit down while people drag our country into a direction that makes me not even recognize it anymore." Nichols is fighting this decision, against heavy odds. Judge Lacy remarked ominously: "What she hasn't thought through are the unintended consequences" of her stand.
Nichols responded: "Contrary to what Judge Lacy seems to understand, I have thought through the unintended consequences of being a party to removing an official record of saying the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I have thought through the impact it will have on my grandchildren to read the history of our county and errantly think that our customs were such that we didn't proudly proclaim a love of God and Country."
A hint about why Nichols didn't hesitate to challenge the court can be found in Nichol's personal choice of heroines. A twelfth generation American, Nichols shares that, although she never voted before the last presidential election, she was "inspired by Sarah Palin and realized there were conservative, strong women out there, like myself, and that we actually could make a difference."Smith has more on Natalie Nichols, including the transcript of her "scathing address to the Texas Bowie Commissioner Court" here.
She went on to explain why she admired Palin, "mainly because she is a mother and doesn't apologize for that. She's holding strong in her convictions and she doesn't hide her Christianity, which is very important to me."
Nichols is a district coordinator for Smart Girl Politics and is active in the Texarkana TEA Patriots and the faith-basedd Bowie County Patriots. She's the founder of Texans 4 Sarah, a Sarah Palin support group. A detailed profile of Natalie Nichols is here (PDF).
Cross-posted from Brazos Valley Pundit