During the Conservative Political Action Conference, there were great panels on the Second Amendment, criminal justice reform, how liberals dominate bastions of cultural dissemination, and, of course, the 2016 elections. Yet, during the conference, the debates, and even on the campaign trail–the issue surrounding President Obama’s pernicious regulatory agenda is often pushed to the backburner to talk about a certain billionaire’s hand size. It may be good for a laugh, but for millions of Americans–financial Armageddon is upon them, especially if the president’s Clean Power Plan is considered to be legal by the Supreme Court; they recently issued a stay on the most burdensome regulation on power plants.
In short, the Clean Power Plan is the ultimate buffet of narrow interests by the environmental left; its objective to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Regarding the political ramifications, it pretty much impacts states that voted for Mitt Romney at disproportionate levels. Democratic and Republican state attorneys general have joined the lawsuit filed by more than half the states against the Clean Power Plan. It places fixed-income seniors in the crosshairs, whose home budgets will surely be torpedoed by the rising energy costs. It could also put millions of jobs from the black and Hispanic communities on the chopping block.
Townhall bumped into Americans for Prosperity’s Chief Executive Officer Luke Hilgemann at CPAC, where he told us what his organization is doing to curb the regulatory overreach emanating from Washington.
“We’re out there in the states, making a real difference. Six states just this year are going to be passing the REINS [Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny] Act to try and block his [Obama] Clean Power Plan; that is the way that we’ve been fighting back against Washington from day one; that will always be part of our model,” he said. The organization’s grassroots activists are deploying a variety of voter outreach operations, including the ever-present phone banks and neighborhood canvassing to educate and hopefully drum up opposition support for the president’s economic agenda.
On the right-to-work front, the pro-economic freedom organization clinched sweet victory in West Virginia, where their efforts led to the Mountain State becoming the 26th in the country to codify workplace freedom.
It’s “unbelievable to see 26 states now across this country embracing workplace freedom. Giving people the right to choose, whether or not they want to belong to a union as a condition of their job, I think is a critical component of the reform we push all across the country,” said Hilgemann.
“Take a look at states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and now Michigan even passing that reform, and what it does is it sets the stage to say you know what now that they have the right to choose, but most likely it’s going to push unions out of the political sector and forcing them to actually come to the table and offer real benefits for their workers,” he added.
Hilgemann was also particularly fond of the story emanating from the Missouri State Senate, where they passed paycheck freedom legislation with a veto-proof majority on March 2. Yet, he understood that the story was buried by “hubbub” over Super Tuesday, but noted that it lays the groundwork for Missouri to become the 27th right-to-work state.
“They passed that bill 23-7. Missouri is very close to becoming the 27th state across the country to either pass right to work or embrace paycheck protection as a way to save taxpayers resources and give people the right to choose,” he said.
Nevertheless, Hilgemann added that while these success stories haven’t been told (and they should), they’ve energized AFP’s 2 million-plus army of grassroots activists that he hopes will continue to clinch more wins in the various state legislatures across the country this year.
The organization has a comprehensive list of policy objectives in the 35 states AFP operates in, with citizen engagement being at an all time high.
“In the last eight weeks alone, we made five million voter contacts all across the country on the issues of free markets and freedom,” said Hilgemann. “What we’ve seen at the national level is a just a total lack of conversation around the ideas and real solution that this country needs to put it back on the right track; we’re driving that conversation every day.”