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Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Budget Repair Bill

 

Late yesterday afternoon, the Wisconsin Supreme Court weighed in on the Budget Repair Bill (Act 10) and ruled that it did not violate the Open Meetings Law.  Judge Maryann Sumi’s injunction to Act 10 was voided because she exceeded her authority, “invaded” the Legislature’s constitutional powers and erred in stopping the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining law.

Justice David Prosser, who was recently re-elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court following the drawn out recount that cost the state over $520,000, wrote in his concurring opinion:  “[T]he Circuit Court [Judge Sumi] exceeded its authority in prohibiting publication of the 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.  This is not a close question.”  Now Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, who initially delayed publication after the Budget Repair Bill was passed to allow unions time to pass new contracts, is saying he will wait until June 28 before finally publishing Act 10.

Whenever Act 10 does take effect, local governments will have the tools available to balance their budgets.  The many local jurisdictions that passed new union contracts across the state at the behest of the unions will have those recently passed contracts in place until the contract term expires.  At that point, Act 10 would then apply to those public employees as well.

Since the Left and the unions have successfully gotten so many local governments to pass new union contracts, the savings in many areas will not be realized for a few years.  Members of school boards, city councils, and county boards that hastily passed union contracts need to be held accountable for their actions.

We need a new generation of leadership to step forward and run for local office to challenge the elected officials that kowtow to the unions.  Conservatives and Tea Party members are the logical people to fill this void of leadership.  It is time for local governments to serve the taxpayers.  Our communities need conservatives to step forward and run for local office!

Columbus, OH Candidate Training

American Majority is excited to be a part of the We the People Convention on July 1 & 2 in Columbus, OH. Our Candidate Training track will be available on both Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2 starting at 9:00 a.m. The Convention is being held at the Columbus Convention Center located at 44 N. High Street in Columbus.

Topics presented by American Majority at the Convention include*:

  • So, You Want to Run for Office?
  • Campaign Plan
  • Campaign Fundraising
  • Campaign Communications
  • Taking Your Campaign Online
  • Get-Out-The-Vote

For details on other presentations and sessions offered at the We the People Convention, please visit their website.

To register for the We The People Convention, please visit the Convention website. The cost is $100/day, and includes some meals.  The purpose of the Convention is to provide education and resources to the citizens of Ohio who are looking for ways to be engaged and informed in our political system.

If you have any questions about this training, please contact Allison at allison@americanmajority.org.

*Topics are subject to change.

Never Too Early to Think About 2012

Today, the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) announced their estimate of an additional $636 million of revenue over the next three years due to an increase in the LFB’s projection of Wisconsin tax collections.  If liberals were running the show in Madison, we would likely already be hearing how the money should be spent as if the Governor had just found a treasure chest in the Governor’s Mansion basement with $636 million in it.  Unfortunately, that is not how budgets work.  This new projection is based upon stronger than previously expected income tax numbers.  But again it is an estimate that could easily change as it is very difficult to predict future revenues in an uncertain economy.

We also are seeing a debate taking place over the Voter ID bill in the Legislature at the same time the Wisconsin Supreme Court election recount is continuing in only one remaining county and concealed carry legislation is moving forward.  Politics is very fluid and conservatives must remain vigilant at all times because there is more policy to be made and more elections right around the corner.

Several counties are either increasing or decreasing the size of their County Boards.  What a good reminder that we need to have conservatives representing us at all levels of government.  If you don’t have conservatives representing you on your School Board, Village or City Council, County Board, then you should find your own candidates to run against them next spring and fall.

Is it too early to start talking about 2012 Spring and Fall Elections? No.  It’s not.  In fact, the Left has been active in preparing for 2012 already.  Conservatives and Tea Party members need to  go out and find candidates who will represent them at the local levels.  To prepare you and the candidates you identify for 2012, American Majority Wisconsin will be hosting a Candidate/Campaign Manager/Activist Training on June 11 in Oconomowoc. To register or find out more information about this training, visit here:  http://americanmajority.org/events/candidate-and-activist-training-oconomowoc-wi/ .

Northglenn, CO Activist Training

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people.  Today, ordinary citizens across our nation are tired of the status quo and ready to engage for the betterment of their communities.

American Majority is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Wednesday, May 18 in Northglenn, CO to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists.

The training will take place at the O’Meara Ford located at 400 West 104th Avenue in Northglenn, Colorado from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Registration opens at 5:45.  The cost is $25 per attendee.

Topics* to be covered during the Training include:

  • The System (an in-depth look at the system we’re in, how we got there, and what we can do about it)
  • Grassroots Action (ideas and practical steps to engage our communities and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Precinct Power (changing your community one precinct at a time with specific micro-targeting and focused action)
  • Patriots 2.0 (effectively utilizing social networking tools, blogs, wiki projects and other technologically-driven platforms)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

Political Training Registration

 

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Kathleen Baker at Kathleen@ammechanics.org or call 303-817-3048.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

* Topics are subject to change.

 

About Your Trainer

Kathleen Baker became involved in the tea party movement in Colorado in March 2009. She was a co-founder of the Evergreen/Conifer Tea Party, which received national attention when asked to present at the National Tea Party Convention in February 2009. She also co-organized the 2010 Denver Tax Tea Party. During the November 2010 elections, she oversaw the social media for a nationally known candidate’s campaign, which a L.A. newspaper cited as the most active social media for all candidates nationwide. She currently is a precinct committee person and district area coordinator in her county for her political party, as well as co-organizer for Liberty on the Rocks Clear Creek. She also writes for a national news website.

She is a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer as part of the American Majority Mechanics Program.  Kathleen was identified, trained and certified to conduct Activist Trainings on behalf of American Majority.

The American Majority Mechanics Program was launched in 2010 with goal of training citizen-activists to equip others to become engaged in their state and local communities.  The program is named after the roughly 30 citizens who called themselves “Mechanics” and organized an intelligence network designed to monitor and inform the citizenry about British activities in New England colonies on the eve of American independence.  Among its most notable members was Paul Revere.  For more information on become an American Majority mechanic, please contact us.

 

 

Top 10 Dark Horse Republican Presidential Candidates

With the presidential election only about 20 months away, the list of GOP nominees is slowly starting to come into focus as “exploratory committees” and PACs are forming almost on a daily basis.

The names are well known: Gingrich, Palin, Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Daniels, etc.

And while some of these names might not excite all of us (or any of us for that matter), I do have some alternative suggestions for some dark horse GOP candidates that we may want to consider…

Or maybe not.

Regardless, here are the Top 10 Dark Horse Republican Presidential Candidates:

10. Arnold Schwarzenegger…Take our word for it that he was in fact “born in Hawaii”.  And no, you cannot see the birth certificate.

9. Unnamed Crazy Lady in Arizona…I just want her to run for president so that she will stop sending me all of her whacked out, conspiratorial mass e-mails even though I have begged and pleaded to be taken off her list for two years!

8. Rand Paul / Les Paul / Chris Paul / RuPaul…The assorted candidates with the last name of Paul break down like this:

The first is probably still a few years away from becoming a serious candidate though he is rightly beloved by the Tea Party. The second Paul on the list is an entrepreneur who created some of the most well known guitars on the planet…but he is also dead. Next comes a well known NBA basketball player who has no chance because he just so happens to be a massive Obama fan.  The last Paul on the list is best known for being  ABSOLUTELY FAB-U-LOUS

7. Chuck Norris…His campaign will focus on threatening roundhouse kicks to the face to those who refuse to vote for him.

6. Seabiscuit…If we are making a Top Ten up of dark horses, we have to include Seabiscuit, right?  I mean that movie that came out about this horse a few years ago with the dude from Spiderman was awesome. I think I even cried at the end.

(And including him on this list just shows you how damn hard it was to come up with names for it.)

5. Colin Powell…No, really, just hear me out: He is still a Republican. And he is a brilliant military mind. He is also a former Secretary of State. Plus, he has great name ID.  And…

Okay, screw it.

He is nothing but a RINO liberal who still publically supports the man he would have to run against for the presidency. He knows it and we know it, too, Colin!

4. Steve King…He would have to take time off from writing his new novel which revolves a small town in Iowa where Muslim teenagers turn into bloodthirsty devil-clowns every night at sundown.

Wait, is that the wrong guy?

Oh yeah, that is Stephen King.  My bad.

3. Tom Selleck…Sure, he is a registered Independent, but he fancies himself a Libertarian. Plus, he is big on gun rights and plays a character with the last name of Reagan on his current CBS show Blue Bloods.

And I’ll be honest with you: I would work my butt off to see that mustache behind the desk in the Oval Office.

2. Ron Paul…Love him or hate him, let’s be honest in the fact that his chances are not very good. Sort of like the chances that I will not receive hate mail for the next one on this list…

1. Glenn Beck…If nothing else he would usher in a new era in politics by brining on Gold Line and Food Insurance as his official campaign sponsors, he could help finance the campaign by charging even more exorbitant fees for people to become “The Insiders of Insiders Extreme”, and he could eventually make piles upon piles of money by writing and selling a book about his campaign experiences!  Makes me wonder if Glenn is all about the money, money, money!?!?

What do you think about the list?  And do you have any other better ideas?

West Chester, OH Candidate/Campaign Manager Training

 

Every elected official, from school board member to state legislator to the President of the United States plays a vital role in shaping the policies and direction of our communities, states, and nation. These offices deserve men and women who are grounded in the principles of liberty and individual freedom. American Majority’s political training is designed to enhance your campaign effort through targeted education and resources.

American Majority is hosting a Candidate/Campaign Manager Training on Saturday, May 21 at the Miami University Voice of America Learning Center located at 7725 Voice of America Centre Dr., in West Chester, OH (located off of I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati). The training will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Please report to Room 116.

The cost for Activists and Campaign Managers is $35 per person if registered online and $45 at the door. The cost for Candidates is $50 per person if registered online and $60 at the door. These costs include a boxed lunch and all training materials.

The Candiate Training program is designed specifically to educate candidates on every level how to run effective and victorious campaigns and prepare them to become successful elected officials. The Campaign Manager and Activist lectures provide extensive knowledge on the role campaign managers and volunteers play during an election, as well as how citizens can be engaged and effective in their community.

The Candidate/Campaign Manager Training Program includes the following topics*:

  • Creating your Campaign Plan and Campaign Structure
  • Campaign Fundraising
  • History of the Progressives
  • Public Speaking and Messaging
  • The Role of a Campaign Manager
  • Get-Out-The-Vote
  • Campaigning Online
  • Winning your Precinct

Upon completion of this political training seminar, candidates will receive continuing education materials, access to podcasts and other presentations, communications curriculum, and suggestions to help them utilize think-tank resources.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Allison James at Allison@AmericanMajority.org or call 571-420-2300.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

*Lectures are subject to change.

 

From Zero to 60: Effective Activism in Texas

By far the coolest facet of my job is daily interaction with grassroots patriots. Like our Founding Fathers and patriots of every era since then, these people work hard all day, take care of their families, fulfill their obligations, etc. What truly makes them stand with those former generations of patriots is that whether it’s big or small, they refuse to let a day go by where they don’t do something to promote liberty. The future of their country and her freedom is simply too important for them to not take up that banner every day.

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New Local Government Leaders Needed

What we are seeing in Wisconsin underscores why local government matters and why we need a new generation of local government leaders.

The Left, particularly the Labor Movement is readjusting its focus to the local level.  Labor already has control of many school boards and other local government bodies across the nation. That’s why there are so many collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) being rushed through and passed at the local level here in Wisconsin.

The Budget Repair Bill, which was signed into law last week, provides local governments with the tools they need to cut spending.  The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) just released estimates of the savings available to local governments through utilizing the employee contribution component of the bill.  The LFB found the City of Sheboygan, for instance, would save $987,600 just from having the public employees contribute 5.8% to their pensions.  The Milwaukee Public Schools would save over $24 million dollars.

Yet locality after locality, from Chippewa Falls to Madison, are rushing through agreements that preempt the application of the Budget Repair Bill (which is helped by Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette’s delay in publishing the law until March 25 to allow local governments more time to pass these measures).  The result of these contracts being rushed through is that local governments will have significant gaps between their expenses and revenues, as state aid will be decreased under the Budget Bill.  Then these governments will be forced to lay off workers or raise property taxes (Gov. Walker’s Budget Bill could limit this option).

The Left even had a bill passed in December 2009 to train teachers how to brain wash children about collective bargaining.  Here is a video discussing how this law will help the Labor Movement in the future:

In places where CBAs are not being rushed through, the unions are going to find candidates of their own to run for local office.  The Left understands that they can control the process if they have ”their” candidates on your local school board, city council, county board, etc.

Conservatives can make a difference if we engage at the local level.  In Wauwautosa, hundreds of taxpayers attended the Common Council meeting and voiced their opinions that new union contracts should not be rushed through.  Their voices were heard and the Common Council voted against a new collective bargaining agreement.  It is amazing what an organized group of taxpayers can accomplish if they coordinate their efforts.

But reforming local government goes beyond attending meetings when a big issue comes up, which I should add is absolutely necessary.  We need a new generation of liberty-minded leaders to run for local office.  We need to replace the elected officials who simply do what the unions tell them to do. We need leaders who will stand up for fiscal responsibility, less government spending, and lower taxes!

What Elections?

If I were to walk up to a random person today and ask him/her to share their thoughts on the upcoming spring elections in Kansas, I’m willing to bet that the response would be, “What elections?”

These elections are so often forgotten about, and so few people actually vote in them, let alone volunteer on campaigns for them.  There are many times when these seats go unfilled because there aren’t enough people interested in running for the available positions.  So many people fail to understand the importance of these elections because in their minds, who gets elected to their local school board just doesn’t matter.  What people don’t realize is how much power their local school boards actually have, and how great of an impact an individual can have on school board elections just by getting involved.

But why would somebody want to get involved with school board elections?

Well, if you have children in the school district, there are a few obvious reasons why you would want to help quality candidates get elected to the school board.  School boards are responsible for:

  • Hiring and working with the superintendent.
  • Overseeing school personnel.
  • Reviewing and approving curriculum that students learn.
  • Tracking district enrollment and attendance.
  • Monitoring student achievement.
  • Setting the academic calendar.
  • Managing student transportation.
  • Ensuring that local schools are in accordance with federal and state academic standards.
  • Providing parents and members of the community with a voice into the education of their children.

All of these tasks are ones that shape the learning environment and educational experience of your children. It is vital that these tasks aren’t just given to anyone. These students are the future of this nation.  We have an amazing opportunity to shape the people that these students become by influencing the dynamic of their school boards now.

What if you don’t have children in the school district, though? Why should it still matter to you?  Well, you may not care quite as strongly about the educational experience of students in your district, but I bet you care about your money!  School boards are also responsible for the following:

  • Establishing approximately 55-60% of the local property tax bill.
  • Administering the local education budget.
  • Approving facility maintenance and construction.
  • Negotiating subcontractor agreements.

I don’t know about you, but in my home county, property taxes have gone up 168.9% just since 1997. There’s no telling how different the circumstances would be now if people in my home county would’ve been paying attention to the school board all these years.  If you care about where and how your hard-earned money is being spent, then it is of the utmost importance that you get involved in your local school board elections.

If your state’s filing deadline has not yet passed, I encourage you to seriously consider running for your local school board.  If the filing deadline has passed, then volunteer to help campaign for the candidate you are supporting.  Even after the elections are over, it is in your best interest to continue being involved with the school board.  Attending school board meetings is the best way to hold members accountable for the actions that they take while in office.   If everyone does their part to get involved with their local school boards, these elections will no longer be forgotten ones.

Low Education Standards = Low Outcome

I recently attended an event in Topeka, KS where Dr. Matthew Ladner, of the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, spoke on the importance of education reform.   Lander expressed his thoughts on Florida’s successful K-12 reform and how each state should take note.  Florida implemented a variety of improvements, and its students’ achievement levels increased.  In turn, Florida is continuing to raise its education standards, and students are reacting by meeting the goals expected of them.

Initially, one would think that Florida was able to increase its achievement levels by dummying down its state test.  Ladner was adamant that they were able to track state tests and their quality by looking at past tests and comparing them through NAEP and other sources.  It shocked me to even think that a school would dumb down their testing materials in order to make their students look smarter.  What an evil trick!  Yet, many schools lower their overall standards for one reason or another.  This part of Dr. Ladner’s lecture really hit home with me.  I took issue with this idea because I feel my high school had low standards for me, allowing me to operate well below my ceiling.

I am from a small southwest Kansas farm town with a population just under 30,000.  The town houses one large high school, which held 2,000 enrolled students my graduating year.  In 2006, my graduating year, our student body consisted of a population of 54.3% Hispanics, 35% White, 6% multi racial, and 4% other.  In 2002, a total of 577 students enrolled with me as freshmen.  Four years later, a total of 361 students enrolled as seniors with me.  Of these 361 students only 334 graduated 9 months later in May of 2006.  I cannot give you a true percentage of the drop-out rate due to other variables, but I am pretty sure that those missing 243 students did not move away from the school district.

Looking back on at my high school experience, I feel that I was underprepared for college and cheated out of learning.  I graduated high school with a 3.8 grade point average and spent little to no time at home studying or working on homework.  I believe that the teachers of my high school had low standards due to the drop-out rate and gave away good grades simply to keep kids in school and pass them along.  I graduated thinking I was an A student, I thought I was learning at a completive level, and I thought I was ready for college.

I started college in the fall of 2006 at a four-year university.  During my first month of school, I spent my time on anything but school work.  I thought that “going to school” meant just that – walking to class and walking home from class.  I didn’t realize (until I saw my semester grades) that going to school meant going to class, listening to the teacher, learning the material on your own time, and proving that you knew the material by passing a test at the end of the semester.  I could not pass my classes based on attendance and participation.  I could not pass my classes based on my university involvement or personal connections.  And I darn sure could not pass my classes based on my race or the fact that I wore a letter jacket.  I can easily say that college was a rude awakening, and my first semester grades haunted my grade point average for the many semesters that followed.

My high school created in me a false sense of confidence in my abilities and lacked the simplicity of teaching me how to learn; this did me an enormous disservice.  The lack of effort in preparing students for life after high school was not for a lack of funding.  As seen at KansasOpenGov.org, the teachers in my district are highly paid and the district is currently building the soon-to-be largest high school in the state.  This lack of effort was also not for lack of care.  The principal and deans truly cared about the school and its student’s wellbeing.  Many of the teachers were also well-liked and were very good at building relationships with students.   There was a small handful of teachers that no one cared for.  These were the teachers who could be quoted as saying, “I am only preparing you for college.”  It was true, they were preparing us for the next step; their standards were set high, and many students received bad grades in their classes.  Sadly, these teachers were far and few between.

It is extremely important that schools enforce standards of educational excellence and refuse to only teach to the drop-out level.  Quality teachers must keep their standards high and give the grades deserved by each individual student.  One way to enforce standards is through standardized testing.  Another way, is by holding back students who fall behind.  Continuing to pass these students along is cruel and continues to feed their false sense of confidence in their abilities.  Finally, a student should graduate from high school with the tools for the next step; whether that be the work force, technical school, or college.

I do not have the answers on how to fix our education system, nor do I have the knowledge on Florida’s education reform in order to give you Dr. Ladner’s lecture.  However, I do believe that some changes need to be made in Kansas.  (Did you know we were given a D+ rating based on our schools’ performance?) My experience is completely different from that of my co-worker, who thought college was a breeze after leaving a high school where teachers had much higher standards.  This is sad because our schools are in the same state.

Finally, I encourage you to do your research.  Find out your how your state ranks in education amongst the 50 states.  Educate yourself on Florida’s successful education reform. And find your government’s open records and checkbook for your school district.  Perhaps you will find something that inspires you to run for school board.

City Mayor Plans to Broadcast Bird Chirping

Recently, a city mayor declared that he wanted to broadcast “bird songs” on the streets of his city. The rationale? Bird chirping makes people happy.

Never mind the fact that I personally think bird chirping is the most annoying sound on the planet, I nonetheless stopped to wonder, is this really what our cities should be worrying about?

Right now in Kansas, city council and school board candidates are ramping up their campaigns for our April elections, and we’re getting ready to hold our third candidate training specifically for them. Sometimes I get questions about why the local level is important- and it’s stories like these that illustrate why.

There are a few key questions any elected official should ask themselves when faced with a proposal, such as broadcasting bird chirping:

First: Is this something we have the authority to do? I strongly believe in federalism, the notion that local entities can make better decisions than federal entities, but that still doesn’t authorize local governments to legislate outside of their jurisdiction. In this case though, I would say, sure, there’s nothing in the state or national constitution that expressly forbids the city of Lancaster, CA from broadcasting bird chirping. It might ruffle a few feathers (sorry, I had to go there), but it’s not directly unconstitutional.

Second: Is this something that we should do? Meaning, will the benefits this entails outweigh the costs to do it. I couldn’t find any estimates of what it would cost the city to erect speakers from which to broadcast the bird song, but I can’t imagine that the benefits could outweigh the cost. Which brings to point, what are the benefits? According to the mayor, increasing the people’s happiness. How interesting. Our Declaration of Independence says that one of our inalienable rights is the pursuit of happiness - that means that I get to choose what my happiness is, and how to pursue it. It does not mean that government is responsible for giving me happiness.

Third: Is this something we can do best? Often times governments take on ideas or projects that a private entity could do better. I have to think that if this bird-brained scheme were really a bright idea, wouldn’t private charities and enterprises take it up?

Several months ago, I wrote about Bell, California, where the city manager was making nearly double the salary of President Obama, and the council members were also making off with salaries of $100,000 per year. While both this story, and the story of the bird-chirping mayoral proposal take place in California, I can’t help but think that this problem isn’t localized to that state only. We all ought to be monitoring our local governments to know what they’re doing and how they’re representing us.

Taxing Times in Wisconsin

Tax season is upon us once again.  You likely have begun receiving your 2010 tax documents (W-2s, 1099s).  In Madison, the legislature is considering tax bills ranging from a tax deduction for hiring new workers to tax forgiveness for two years for new businesses moving to Wisconsin.   Today, Governor Walker signed into law an exemption from income for contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

As a former tax attorney, I find the recent tax debates in Wisconsin particularly interesting.  One side is arguing that we need to pass a variety of tax deductions and breaks to attract more employers to this state to create jobs.  The other side argues that we will increase our estimated $3 billion deficit if we pass these tax bills because of lost tax revenues.

It is a well-known fact that Wisconsin has high individual income and property taxes.  Wisconsin’s individual income tax rates range from 4.6% to 7.75%.  These rates are a staggering 25% above the national average and rank 11th highest among states which impose an individual income tax, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

Illinois recently made headlines because its legislature passed a bill raising individual income taxes 66%, but even with that rise, the Illinois individual income tax rate is only 5%.  The Packers may have beaten the Bears on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl, but Wisconsin’s individual income tax rates are still 2.75% higher than Illinois’ rates in the highest tax bracket.   While Wisconsin may have lower corporate tax rates than many other states, the individual income tax rate in Wisconsin is particularly unfriendly to flow through entities (Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Partnerships, Subchapter S Corporations, etc.) that are taxed at the partner/owner level .

Wisconsin property taxes are 23.6% above the national average.  These property taxes are the 8th worst property tax rates in the entire country.  The combined state and local tax burden in Wisconsin ranks 9th nationally.

Solutions to fix Wisconsin’s state and local tax problems are not easy.  For instance, if you want to reduce your property tax bill, you would need to address the high property taxes with your local school board, city council, county board, area technical college (if you have one), and state government, since all of these entities affect your property taxes.

The complexity of this problem in addressing property taxes is why Wisconsin needs a new generation of liberty-minded leaders to run for state and local office.  We need people to run for school board, city council, county board, state legislature, and other offices to address the high tax issue as well as many other issues stemming from big government.  It all starts with engaged citizens knowing what is happening at the local levels of government.  Attend a school board, city council, or county board meeting.  Follow what’s happening and voice your opinions.  If you do not like what they are doing, then YOU need to run for office and replace them!

Campaign Friendraising

Here in the great state of Kansas, we are fast approaching the deadline to file to run for local offices like city council and school board. Many active and passionate citizens are currently throwing around or already committed to the idea of running for some of these available positions. They’re tired of seeing their tax dollars go to waste at the hands of the least watched and many times, most corrupt segment of government.  In fact, just this morning I received an email from a man who said he was “…sick of having a city council and mayor that love to spend money on things that have nothing to do with the function of government.”

Running for these local positions is one of the best ways to have an immediate and direct effect on your community.  And the best part is, you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment in order to ensure your success. We don’t all have thousands of dollars to commit to a campaign.  If you do, by all means, utilize it. However, the best way to promote your candidacy for a local office like city council, school board, etc. isn’t by fundraising; it’s by what I like to call “friendraising.”  Be a candidate EVERYWHERE you go. Just the other night, I was talking to a man who had recently filed to run for city council.  He told me that just a few days before, he was at the grocery store getting his prescription filled at the pharmacy and happened to mention to the pharmacist that he was running for city council.  Much to his surprise, the pharmacist invited him to come speak and promote himself at a group meeting she attends on a regular basis.  These kinds of opportunities are everywhere if you just remember to carry your candidacy with you wherever you go.  Attending local meetings like Lions Club, Rotary, etc. in your community is an excellent way to friendraise and make your candidacy known.

Money is a great tool to have access to in terms of purchasing campaign materials. However, money can’t pass out those campaign materials for you.  Money can’t write letters to the editor about why you should be elected. Money can’t put a sign in its yard to promote you. And money can’t knock on a person’s door and inform him/her about your candidacy. But friends can. Fundraising is definitely important in any campaign, but friendraising is just as, if not more effective.  So don’t count yourself out just because you don’t have the funds. Your community needs you.

Woburn & Worcester, MA Candidate Training

Every elected official, from school board member to state legislator to the President of the United States plays a vital role in shaping the policies and direction of our communities, states, and nation. These offices deserve men and women who are grounded in the principles of liberty and individual freedom. American Majority’s political training is designed to enhance your campaign effort through targeted education and resources.

American Majority is hosting two Candidate/Campaign Manager Training on January 29-30 outside Boston, MA. On Saturday, January 29, we will conduct a training from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  at the Osgood Bradley Building located at 18 Grafton Street (Floor 4) Worcester, MA. The cost is $25 and includes lunch. We will conduct a second training on Sunday, January 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in Woburn, MA. This training will also cost $25 and will be held at Cummings Park, 800 W. Cummings Park, Suite 4750. If you have any questions, please contact Allison at 540-338-1251 or allison@americanmajority.org.

Regardless of campaign experience, American Majority’s Training Programs make running for office easier! The program is designed specifically to educate candidates on every level how to run effective and victorious campaigns and prepare them to become successful elected officials. The Campaign Manager lectures provide extensive knowledge on the role campaign managers and volunteers play during an election, as well as how campaign staff can best serve their candidate.

The Candidate/Campaign Manager Training Program includes the following topics:

  • Creating your Campaign Plan and Campaign Structure
  • Campaign Fundraising
  • History of the Progressives
  • Voter Registration/Voter Fraud
  • Public Speaking and Messaging
  • The Role of a Campaign Manage
  • Get-out-the-vote Efforts
  • Campaigning Online

Upon completion of this political training seminar, candidates will receive continuing education materials, access to podcasts and other presentations, communications curriculum, and suggestions to help them utilize think-tank resources.

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American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

*Lectures are subject to change.

Barking Dogs

As one of my mentors, Dr. Larry Arnn, is fond of saying, “A thing is good when it performs the purpose for which it was made.” A chair you can’t sit in or a gun that won’t shoot straight fail that test. So does a guard dog that won’t bark at bad guys.

Being a guard dog is an interesting job. He stands apart from the world around him in a John Wayne-esqe manner. His demeanor is informed by a constant awareness of his primary purpose: alarm and defense. Any other role he may fill is secondary to that of guardianship. Failing to raise the alarm or defend his charge are not forgivable offenses.

Here’s the thing about being a being a guard dog: your decision to bark or defend isn’t based on pragmatism or the number of attackers; it is solely based on the presence of danger. I borrowed this metaphor from David Smith who went on to say that, “A K9 watchdog is never expected to be able to beat every enemy that comes to the house. If the robber has a gun the watchdog will lose — and become a family legend.”

As conservative activists we are political guard dogs. This means that we hold people accountable. Like canine guardians, we watch for danger and upon discovery we move to the offense, barking like hell is upon us. We won’t always win but the idea of remaining silent should revolt us.

In Texas we just finished the race for Speaker of the House of Representatives. It was one of those times when the barking dogs took a bullet. Not unlike the Democrats during the HCR debates, liberal Republicans thumbed their noses at their constituents’ clear demands. Whether a similar electoral judgment day is on the horizon stands as an open question.

While there was a decent degree of grassroots unity in calling for a more conservative Speaker, I have been sorely disappointed in the reaction from many individuals and groups since the vote was taken. It’s a chronic problem among conservatives when dealing with political leadership elections. We win elections then exert little weight in leadership fights and quickly forget about the outcome, when we bother to involve ourselves at all.

In the end, leadership elections are treated as inconsequential when in reality they stand among the most important votes cast during a legislative session.

So what do you do if the good guys lose a leadership fight? The answer has two words: Primary Elections. Am I saying that candidates should be running against the incumbents based on this one vote? Possibly. We sure thought one vote was enough to identify the bad guys when it came to TARP or HCR. One vote may be enough. We can say with certainty that it is a vote with enough import that recovery from it could be difficult.

The reaction that we should be seeing among conservatives is a redoubled dedication to hold their legislators accountable, letting them know they are on a short leash and an active search for primary election opponents. This should be a pretty standard response to any legislative setback we face.

A number of people have taken a much different path. Instead of enforcing accountability they are easily swallowing the milk toast excuses they are fed by their legislators. Excuses of, “but the Speaker won’t like me,” and, “my vote wouldn’t have made a difference,” are being accepted without question.

Too many Texans, even conservatives, have quickly announced that they are willing to accept this temporary defeat as permanent and fall into line behind the same legislators who have so recently voted against their interest. The about face is stunning. Instead of holding their elected officials accountable, they are in essence saying, “We were just kidding. We’re not THAT serious about holding you accountable.”

Does this mean that I won’t consider future votes in my appraisal of which Representatives should face primary opposition? No. This egregious violation of trust does, however, indicate that we can probably do better than many of our current Representatives have to offer. I’m confident that many good things will come out of this legislative session but my doubts remain high that conservative gains will be as significant as they could have been under the leadership of a solid conservative. If this is the case then accountability must be enforced against those who insisted on upholding the status quo.

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