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“It’s all about the face to face interaction, if we are going to win, we must connect with every possible voter,” stated Brendan Steinhauser at Saturday’s FreedomWorks training in Ivyland, Pennsylvania. Around 250 activists converged on the Spring Mill Manor in Bucks County for an all-day training event that featured FreedomWorks Chairmen Dick Armey and FreedomWorks grassroots staff. The event centered on get-out-the-vote training but had a bigger meaning, said best by Ana Puig, who opened the event: “This event is about bringing people together. It’s about finding like-minded individuals and building an army.” Across the room, this message resonated with activists who listened intently and offered their stories about how they plan on winning in November.
Brendan Steinhauser opened the training by going through the tried and true methods of grassroots campaigning, mentioning on multiple occasions that “the grassroots is what separates us from other movements. If we are going to win, we must all be experts at grassroots.” Included in his presentation was a focus on door-to-door campaigning, yard sign blitzing, and phone banking techniques.
Following Steinhauser was FreedomWorks Chairmen Dick Armey who arrived to a standing ovation. Armey took time to speak to the activists on the importance of local organization and the importance of holding our elected officials accountable. “We must own their fear. Politicians react to those who show up,” stated Armey. His message resonated with activists who have been fighting locally, including those currently engaged in the battle to pass education reform.
Continuing with the training portion of the event, FreedomWorks Campaigns Coordinator David Spielman led a presentation on social media and twitter. Focusing largely on the need for tea party members to embrace the online “twitterverse”, Spielman drew on the example of the success of the Obama campaign in 2008, encouraging activists to “take the plunge.” Spielman made it clear that social networks are important tools in finding new members, spreading a message and getting people to turn out. “Twitter, Facebook and FreedomConnector can all be used as an effective method of communication, something to drive voters to a poll and or get people fired up about a particular issue,” stated Spielman. “These tools are only effective if you choose to use them.”
Closing the event was Reason Foundation’s Director of Education Policy Lisa Snell who came all the way from California to discuss school choice and education reform, an issue currently being debated in Pennsylvania. Snell focused her remarks on clearing up some of the myths of school choice and took time to explain to the crowd how education reform is ultimately about more freedom, a hallmark of the tea party movement. After concluding her remarks, Snell took questions from the crowd, but the message was clearly received by the attendees, as after the event over 250 “School Choice is the right Choice” yard signs and over 150 t-shirts with the same logo were taken by activists ready to fight against big education. This bodes well for those involved in the current school choice battle, which is expected to heat up this week.
A fine day of training came to end with activists from across the state leaving with a sense of purpose and drive needed to win what is going to be a huge battle ahead. The people of Pennsylvania will be on the front lines of this battle, and we are proud to be standing alongside of them.