The welcome return of ‘less is more’

RALEIGH – It wasn’t all that long ago that the Citizens for a Sound Economy made quite a few political waves in North Carolina.

CSE sponsored “We Want Less” rallies on the mall across from the Legislative Building in Raleigh. It was a unique break from organizations that came to the state capital to rally for more government, more spending and more taxes.

Then the organization had some internal struggles. CSE still exists in North Carolina, and there are a number of local chapters of the organization that often address local issues.

Although CSE hasn’t disappeared from the state capital scene, its presence appears to have diminished.

As a result of some internal struggles, CSE and the CSE Foundation went their separate ways.

Now the organization formerly known as the CSE Foundation has returned to North Carolina.

The other day, Americans for Prosperity announced that it was forming a North Carolina chapter.

Co-chairing the North Carolina chapter is former state Rep. Carolyn Russell, R-Wayne.

“I hope that we can work together on some of these issues,” Russell said, referring to the new organization’s relationship with the current Citizens for a Sound Economy.

Nancy Pfotenhauer, national president of Americans for Prosperity, said that the organization and CSE would complement each other.

“We can’t have too many allies on your side,” Pfotenhauer said. “My goal would be that the efforts would be complimentary.”

Joyce Fernando, a community activist who is also serving as state chapter co-chair, said that the organization hopes to reverse the trend of state government growing.

“Here in North Carolina, we have seen our government grow,” she said, adding that workers in the state need to see more money staying in their pockets rather than going into the government treasury.

“We want to represent an interest group that has been too long neglected, and that’s the taxpayer,” she said.

Although Americans for Prosperity is a national organization, Pfotenhauer said that much of the organization’s focus would be on the state level.

She said 80 percent of the organization’s resources would be going toward state issues.

Pfotenhauer said that the organization would keep an eye on both major political parties.

“It really doesn’t matter which party is in charge,” she said. “The appetite for growth seems to be insatiable.”

The organization’s Web page says that its mission is to advance every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. It says that reducing the size and scope of government is the best way economic productivity and prosperity.


Barry Smith writes on state issues for Freedom Communication Inc.’s Raleigh bureau and can be reached via e-mail at

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