In a fast paced Powerpoint presentation at the RCPB Feburary lunch, Karen Jaroch, Florida grassroots manager for Heritage Action, brought the club up to date on the issues currently on their plate.
The Conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, located in the heart of Washington, has a team of activists and professional lobbyists that educate our Members of Congress and try to move them in the proper (conservative) direction. What had been missing in their quiver was a grassroots component that could bring a member’s constituents to bear on the issues of the day.
This is the hole that Heritage Action fills. From invading the twitter townhalls of the left, organizing tweetfests aimed at particular members, or publishing youtube videos to make political points, the group uses social media together with old fashioned phone calls and email to amplify the conservative message.
Another technique they use is the “key vote”. By publishing ratings of all the members, based on how they voted on a short list of “key” bills, they can describe at a glance if a member is voting appropriately or “straying from the path”. Members are informed of what upcoming votes are “key” and will be included in the ranking for that year, raising the stakes for them. See the table at the end of this article for the current Heritage rankings of the local Florida members.
Some of the issues that are currently hot are:
- Defeating the No Child Left Behind re-authorization. NCLB, passed in the Bush years, was the next step after the Elementary and Secondary Act that first put the federal government in the local school’s business back in the 60’s, and started the nationwide standarized testing protocol. Common Core of course, is where this all leads. NCLB is up for re-authorization this week and Heritage is trying to derail it.
- Repealing Obamacare through the reconciliation process. You may be aware that when Scott Brown was elected to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority, and it looked then that Obamacare could have been stopped. They used reconciliation to get around that inconvenient roadblock and the rest is history. Now, Heritage is looking for other members to sign on to the “Fleming Letter”, in which Louisiana Republican John Fleming is urging support for a reconciliation style repeal. As of February 1, 20 members had signed on and he seeks 100 before sending it to Speaker Boehner.
- Repealing the Obama overreach on immigration. Heritage is supporting the Aderholt and Blackburn amendments which the House added to the DHS funding bill to stop Obama’s immigration order and the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Program. Although it looks like the Senate is balking at this, Heritage will use this as a “key vote” and penalize any member’s rating who does not support it.
- Supporting the Transportation Empowerment Act, which would phase out the federal gas tax and return transportation funding decisions back to the states.
In a question and answer session at the conclusion of the program, Karen gave insight on a number of other topics including net neutrality, common core and Obamacare.
The key grassroots tool of Heritage Action is the Sentinel Program, which Karen described in her talk. This is where you can help, by participating in calls for action and pressuring your congress members. For more information see: Are You Ready to Become a Sentinel?
The current Heritage Action ratings for our members are (100 is perfect):
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Invites You to Attend its upcoming meeting
on Wednesday March 25
LARRY HORIST speaks on a wide variety of subjects’ but is most noted for his presentations on current events, politics and government. He is considered an authority on public policy, and has appeared on scores of radio and television public affairs programs, including his own radio show on WIND. He has been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul, Loyola, Knox College and Hope College, and had multiple appearances at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). His opinions often appear on newspaper editorial pages, most recently in the Miami Herald, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Sun-Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Horist was the first conservative winner of the “golden pickle” debate trophy from the liberal leaning Bughouse Square Debates – a long time Chicago tradition. Also, Loyola University political science students voted Horist the best guest speaker of the semester – in a lecture serious that featured a number of nationally prominent political figures.
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