The Clay County Republican Party conducted a caucus Saturday in an effort to elect a new chairperson to replace Sharon Koehler.
Koehler had recently announced she was stepping down from the position, which she occupied for seven years.
With 21 people present at the meeting, the party unanimously elected Jodi Lohrman as Koehler's replacement.
Clay County Republican Party Vice Chairperson Paul Sinders said he was pleased with the turnout at the meeting. In addition, he believes Lohrman will step into the position and fill Koehler's shoes well.
"Jodi is presently serving as our Clay County Republican Club President," Sinders said. "She has provided excellent leadership. She is organized and has new and fresh ideas.
"I look forward to working with her as our new chairperson."
After Koehler announced she was stepping down, the party had to send out letters to Clay County Republican Precinct individuals in order to conduct the caucus. The party had 30 days to fill the position.
Sinders added Lohrman was the only person to apply.
"As the Vice Chairperson of the county, I had the responsibility of conducting the meeting," Sinders said. "I did not apply for the chairperson's position because I felt I did not have the time to do an adequate job.
"Having worked with Sharon Koehler, I realized this is not just a job on paper, but a job which does require time, dedication and a great deal of extra work. Serving as a Commissioner for Clay County, and serving on several other boards and committees, and working for the people of Clay County, I just did not believe I could do the position justice. So, after giving it serious thought, I felt it was best for us to elect someone who would have more time than I to do the job."
Lohrman and her husband, Andy, are both lifelong residents of Clay County.
Since taking an interest in genealogy, she said she recently discovered the first marriage to take place in the county was her great-great-great-great-grandparents on her mother's side.
"My roots run pretty deep in Clay County," Lohrman said. "That's probably why I love living here so much."
Lohrman began voting as a Republican in 1988, the first election she was eligible to vote in.
"I didn't start getting really active in the political process until 2009, when our 13-year-old daughter, Judah, started becoming interested and becoming active in politics," she said. "Since I was her chaperone on political trips and campaigns, it made me want to step up my understanding of the political process and become more active in the Republican Party and in campaigns."
Since becoming more active, Lohrman and her family have volunteered in many federal, state and local campaigns. She said her family has even hosted meet-and-greet sessions at their home for candidates.
"We have volunteered with the Republican Party by manning booths at the fair and Popcorn Festival and helping at Republican Headquarters before general elections," she said.
Lohrman has served as the Clay County Republican Club President for one year. In that position, she has presided over meetings and helped schedule speakers for the club's meetings.
Lohrman said it would be difficult to replace Koehler.
"Sharon has been a great chairman for Clay County," Lohrman said. "She and the other officers on the central committee have really given the Clay County Republican Party a good name and reputation throughout the state. I have heard it from numerous candidates who have ran statewide races that Sharon was one of the best chairmen in the state.
"She has left some really big shoes to fill. I am grateful that she has been so kind to mentor me in the political process, in the role of Clay County Republican Club President, and now in the role of chairman."
Lohrman said her top priority is to "educate" residents in regard to current Republican candidates, as well as the Republican Party platform and how the political process works.
"Sometimes, government and the political process seem foreign to people," she said. "Our government is based on the individual person's involvement in the political process. That includes knowing what the Republican Party stands for and getting to know our Republican candidates."
Sinders added he is looking forward to working with Lohrman.
"My goal is to work closely with Jodi and the other members of the Clay County Republican Central Committee and the Clay County Republican Club to work as a team," he said, "and to provide positive leadership for the people of Clay County."