TWHBEA Elections and Directions


An  Editorial

By Christy Howard Parsons


Copyright WHR 2007


            It seems many people do not understand the complete election process at the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, so I thought it might be timely to refresh the facts on the process before the Annual Meeting in December.

            There are two bodies that are elected. The International Board of Directors, the “directors,” is made up of 116 members and that election was recently held on October 15, 2007. The Executive Committee is made up of 13 members, all of whom must be directors. This committee will be elected on December 1, 2007.

            The International Board of Directors is made up of individuals from the United States and from regions inside and outside the United States. Each state that has 25 members is allowed one director. The state is allowed one additional director for every 175 members of the Association over the initial 25. States not having as many as 25 members are grouped together into regions and these regions are treated similarly to the states.

The determination of how many members are in a state is made on May 1 each year based on close of business April 30 data, so that the ballots for the annual election of the board of directors can reflect the correct number of seats to be filled in that state/region.

            The full term for a director is three years, so each year only a portion of the board is up for reelection. To be eligible to be elected and to serve as a director, an individual must have registered a horse with TWHBEA continuously for the previous twelve months in their name (not within a partnership) and must have been a dues-paying TWHBEA member for at least the past five consecutive years. The person must also be a resident of the state/region they are elected to represent and may not be serving a Horse Protection Act suspension of 30 days or longer.

From time to time, directors move, or fail to qualify to serve in some way and have to vacate their term. When this happens, the next vote getter in that state/region is asked to fulfill the remaining length of that term, which would be something less than the three years. TWHBEA monitors the expiration of each director’s term.

            Those TWHBEA members seeking election to the International Board must submit their application by August 1 in order to appear on the ballot. All TWHBEA members in good standing as of August 1 were mailed a ballot on September 14, 2007. The returned ballots were picked up from the post office at 8 a.m. on the morning of  October 16, 2007. The CPA firm, Cook & Co., counted the ballots and were observed by several members of the TWHBEA Executive Committee, who later commended the firm for its professionalism.

            The results of that election were announced and the 35 newly elected directors will join with the 81 returning international directors for their first meeting on Saturday, December 1, 2007 in Lewisburg, Tennessee.

            The full body of 116 directors will then elect the 13 members of the Executive Committee plus a Secretary and Treasurer which may or may not be the same person and does not have to be a director. Proxies are not allowed in this election and thus only the directors who are present are allowed to vote. All terms for officers and executive committee members are for one year, so this entire body is elected each year.

            The nominating committee is selected by the current Executive Committee at the September meeting. Five members were elected this September – Rick Chovan, Donald Longest, Kathy Zeis, Wayne Dean and Ronnie Vincent. Since that time Rick Chovan and Donald Longest have resigned from this committee and the two alternates, John Martin and Mic Salm were also unable/unwilling to serve. Thus the nominating committee of three remaining members – Kathy Zeis, Wayne Dean and Ronnie Vincent  - will recommend the slate of officers and executive committee members to fill the thirteen slots on the 2008 executive committee.

            The slate will be presented at the 2008 Board of Directors meeting. At that time, other candidates for the Executive Committee and officers can be nominated from the floor. When all candidates seeking the positions are determined, each candidate will be given an opportunity to address the full board. Then the directors that are present will cast their ballot for the fifteen positions.

All candidates for the executive committee must be directors. No more than five of the thirteen executive committee members can be from the same state.

            The thirteen voting positions on the Executive Committee include: President, Senior Vice President, Vice President Administrative/Fiscal, Vice President Pleasure Horses, Vice President Performance Horses, Vice President Training, Vice President Enforcement, Vice President Owners/Exhibitors, Vice President Breeders, Vice President Marketing, Vice President Horse Shows, Vice President At Large By Laws, and Vice President At Large Youth. The immediate past president shall also be a member of the Executive Committee and can participate in discussions, but only votes in case of a tie.

            Cook & Co. will also oversee this election in December. The Executive Committee voted to ask Cook & Co. to oversee the election after the positive response to observing the international directors election.

            Obviously this election on December 1 is an important one as the direction of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association is largely determined by the decisions of these 13 individuals.

            I hope that this brief explanation clears up some of the misinformation regarding the TWHBEA election. Additional questions relative to this issue, or other issues that might need clarification, can be directed to