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Our three-day activist boot camp began at FreedomWorks headquarters on Saturday with over 150 activists from 30 states gathering to learn about public policy and media training.
After introductions, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe kicked off the weekend by speaking about the evolution of the Tea Party movement, the past doubters that have been silenced and the future challenges that still exist.
Chief economist Dr. Wayne Brough was the first speaker and led with a timely discussion on the budget and debt ceiling debate. As Democrats have continually refused to complete their basic governing responsibility -- passing a budget -- it has become increasingly necessary for Tea Party activists to demand that Washington cuts spending and shrinks the size of government. This sentiment was predominant throughout the day’s activities.
Tom and Deneen Borelli were up next and addressed the dangers of crony capitalism, citing General Electric and Duke Energy as infamous examples. They talked about how Free Enterprise Project buys stock in these companies in order to attend stockholder meetings and confront CEOs about their progressive agendas and cozy relationship with big government.
Legislative Counsel and Vice President of Health Care Policy, Dean Clancy, talked about strategy for repealing and replacing ObamaCare with patient-centered solutions and addressed the larger problem of reforming our entitlements, which are the main drivers of our debt and deficit. Clancy also showed a video produced by the House Budget Committee and Representative Paul Ryan which clearly illustrates the unsustainable path that Medicare is heading down. You can view it and help support his plan here.
Vice President of Government Affairs Max Pappas gave an update from Capitol Hill, highlighting legislation presently making its way through Congress. He stressed that although we’ve been exceptional in our ability to punish politicians when they do wrong, we must learn how to reward politicians when they do right, especially now that such a large bloc of legislators identifies with this grassroots movement. This is part of the strategy FreedomWorks calls the “inside-outside” game, influencing good legislation inside Congress while rallying support among freedom-loving grassroots activists across the country.
Also on the agenda was stopping cap-and-trade, cutting through the red tape of excessive regulations and instituting an all-of-the-above energy policy. This section focused on the regulatory train wreck that President Obama is trying to institute at the Environmental Protection Agency, using a backdoor method to enforce bad laws he couldn’t get passed by Congress. Staff Writer Julie Borowski also spoke about the importance of auditing the Federal Reserve and stopping the International Monetary Fund from bailing out foreign countries with American taxpayer dollars.
After lunch, the schedule shifted to a different type of training: traditional and new media strategies for grassroots activists. First, Vice President of Communications Adam Brandon discussed how to build relationships with local reporters, how to answer questions and how to gain earned media for your group. New Media Director Tabitha Hale also gave an introduction to Twitter, explaining the benefits of this new technology in connecting activists with local bloggers and breaking news before the major media outlets.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe closed the day by thanking the speakers and inviting the activists to Union Pub for a reception where they could mingle and discuss local issues with their fellow activists.