As Wisconsin Assembly Speaker pro tem Tyler August — yet another of the “10 Under 40” honorees — told the CPAC conference, it’s about thinking “of the next generation, not just the next election.”
Assemblyman August, too, is emblematic of the new generation of conservative Republicans that is racking up victories across the heartland that the national GOP could learn from.
In Colorado, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff has fought to bring the Colorado legislature into the internet age, so small business owners can deliver impact statements on pending legislation online, and not just in person at the State Legislature in Denver.
“Owners of a small business on Main Street can’t afford to travel to Denver, then wait for hours to deliver their three minutes of comments,” she says. “If the legislature heard first-hand the impact they have, they’d think twice about raising taxes or imposing new regulatory schemes.”
In Michigan, state Representative Tom Leonard and his colleagues have worked with Governor Rick Snyder to erase $20 billion in long-term debt and, in the process, brought unemployment down by 4 percent.
Representative Leonard speaks eloquently about the need for accountability for public workers, and of the need to give parents greater choices in their children’s educations. Over the strenuous objections of the Left, Michigan’s legislature reformed tenure and lifted a cap on charter schools.
That’s in addition to adopting Right-to-Work legislation — in Michigan, of all places.
Anybody who doubts the power of conservative ideas — or who is interested in mapping our movement’s trajectory over the coming decades — should have been at CPAC last weekend.
Better yet, get out of Washington and visit the Republican-led state capitals.
Frank Donatelli is chairman of GOPAC, an organization dedicated to educating and electing the next generation of Republican leaders. He was also White House political director for President Ronald Reagan.