I’m sure by now that everyone who reads this weekly Op/Ed has no doubt in their mind that I am a Conservative. Most of us Conservatives question ourselves everyday about how America got to where it is today, when in fact there is no easy answer.
Is “Fiscally Responsible Politicians” an oxymoron?
The one thing I will not do is place the blame on any particular party, because it took many years and both parties to bring us to this point. In retrospect I have accepted that hindsight is 20/20 and the past is just that, the past, I cannot change it, but what I can do is affect the future and the elections yet to come.
It’s not too late to make a difference and I am the first to admit that we have been silent and complacent for way to long and for way too many years, and yes, that includes the Bush years. The fact remains that to have a fiscally responsible government than you must have fiscally responsible elected officials and potential candidates. Until earlier this year I had no idea how to find those candidates, but then I found the Grassroots Group, Icaucus.org. This group helps like minded people find fiscally responsible Officials/Candidates and helps keep them in office if they hold one or get them elected if they are running.
At our July 5th Event we had the pleasure of having the Co-Founder of Icaucus, Monte Bateman, speak.
Just recently I had the opportunity to speak with him again and ask him a few very important questions that
so many others have been asking me. Questions about Icaucus, and how they, as average citizens, can make a difference. Here are Monte’s answers verbatim to those very questions.
-How did ICaucus come to be and why?
Several of us worked on Jason Chaffetz’s campaign and were so motivated by the experience that when we won the election we didn’t want to quit. So we kept meeting at each others’ homes working together to keep the momentum. Frank (other Co-Founder) and I were the leaders of the group and eventually it evolved into the Independence Caucus, growing in a few short months from 250 members to over 6,000 today. Our primary goal is to elect good men and women into office who share our principles and values.
-Has Icaucus worked on a winning campaign?
Not as a formal organization. The founders and many of our current members however worked on Jason Chaffetz’s campaign and learned on his campaign the things we are teaching to our members now in how to win elections grass roots style with a dash of modern day tools thrown in.
-In that winning campaign, what do you believe made the difference?
Honestly it was the 1000+ campaign volunteers that made the difference. They worked hard not because they were getting paid, because no one was paid a dime–Jason wouldn’t even buy anyone a meal–but because they finally had a candidate who shared the same principles and values they did. People will do a lot for free for a politician who will truly represent them. You will be seeing that all over the country this next election in 2010.
-Do you have Candidates that you are currently endorsing?
We presently have three we have officially endorsed, and a dozen more that are currently going through the vetting process who look very promising. Some of the candidates who are stepping forward have zero political experience but a great love for our country and a passion to make a positive difference for their fellow citizens. By the time the 2010 election rolls around I expect we will have between 75 and 100 candidates endorsed for national office and another 200-300 state and local candidates.
-How did you find and choose to endorse those Candidates.
We teach our members all around the United States how to go about finding and convincing quality candidates to run for office. We’ve asked them to look in their local church congregations, their 912 and Tea Party groups, their current slate of state and local political representatives, and those who are involved politically but have never before run for office. Quite often you don’t even need to look that hard. The good candidates will quite often find you! Our endorsement process is probably the most intense job interview many of the candidates will have ever had. We have them fill out a questionnaire with 80 YES/NO principle-based questions. If they answer 70% in the affirmative, then we have a panel of 3-10 people interview them for an hour to an hour and a half asking open ended questions that are pertinent to their specific race. The Independence Caucus members in that voting district vote on whether or not to endorse the candidate. If 70% vote in favor, then we send out a press release notifying any and all interested parties that they are officially endorsed by the Independence Caucus. It sounds so clinical, I know, but it’s really quite exciting when you see how excited people get at the idea that they will actually have a candidate who they know will represent them and they didn’t just have to guess on that at the voting both on the first Tuesday in November.
-So, as an average citizen that may or may not have been politically active in the past what can I do to help get candidates in office that agree with my principles.
That is the beauty of what we are doing. The majority of the people who are partnering with Independence Caucus have never had any political experience whatsoever. They are so disappointed in the direction the leadership of this great nation is taking us and they are finally realizing that in order to effect change for the better, they must get involved. The problem has often been that people don’t know what they can and should do that can make a real difference. What we at Independence Caucus have is what we refer to as the “Five Golden Keys” to getting good men and women elected into office. People are joining with us from all walks of life because they are seeing that those “keys” are the catalyst for the changes they want to have happened to return our country back to the principles the founders of this great nation fought for.
If you like more information about the Not for Profit, Non-Partisan, http://ICaucus.org, you can go to their website or the Social Network http://Icaucus.ning.com or email me directly from my website to find out how to get in involved.
Until next time, Stand proud, be Passionate my fellow Patriots and we will prevail.
BreeLee Johnston is the founder of United American Tea Party which is a Chapter of Just Patriots Inc in St. Johns County. She is a member of the National Leadership Council of Tea Party Patriots as well as the Florida Coordinator for ICaucus.org and contributes a regular guest editorial to Historic City News.