A conservative advocacy organization that has traditionally involved itself exclusively in state politics has branched into local policy work to combat progressivism in city and county governments.
The American Legislative Council (ALEC), which has assisted state lawmakers in crafting legislation to reduce taxes, expand school choice and check the power of unions, recently opened a new branch dedicated exclusively to local and state government work.
The new local wing, the American City County Exchange (ACCE), crafts model legislation for city and county lawmakers that focuses on advancing traditional conservative ideas. Jon Russell, a city councilman from Culpepper, Va., came up with the idea for the ALEC’s local branch after becoming frustrated with increasing progressivism in traditionally bipartisan city halls.
“Now we can communicate with 2,500 elected officials across the country that we know share our values and push back against some of the progressivism that’s gotten into cities,” Russell told Yahoo News.
While Democrats have controlled America’s urban areas for decades, Russell said he became discouraged by increased progressivism among traditionally nonpartisan municipal organizations like the National League of Cities.
Despite the fact that the ACCE has only been around since 2014, it has managed to affect change on the local level on a number of issues. One notable accomplishment is the passage of legislation, based on a model bill distributed by the group, which prevented unions from automatically deducting dues from paychecks from workers in 12 Kentucky counties.
The group also works on tax reform, free speech issues and education policy at the local level.
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