FreedomWorks hosted nearly fifty dedicated and energized activists from around the country this past weekend for the June, 2018 activist fly-in. The fly-in featured a variety of panels, seminars and discussions that advocated the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and the rule of law.

The event kicked-off on Friday night with an activist happy hour. FreedomWorks President, Adam Brandon, interviewed Senior Fellow, John Tamny about his new book The End of Work. Tamny’s book articulates why as society progresses, globalization increases wealth, allowing people to pursue careers they enjoy. The interview will appear on CSPAN in the coming weeks.

The instructional portion of the fly-in began in earnest on Saturday morning with FreedomWorks Vice-President of Legislative Affairs, Jason Pye, speaking about the need for criminal justice reform. FreedomWorks Legislative staff, Sarah Anderson and Dan Savickas contributed to the presentations as well. FreedomWorks Director of Campaigns, Colby Bledsoe, got political with an update on the organization’s PAC’s endorsements and 2018 campaign work.

Here are some of the key highlights from these forums:


Criminal Justice Reform Forum.

  • Spending money to deter rather than incarcerate – Criminals are deterred more by the prospect of  “getting caught”  not “prison time”.  A dollar spent hiring a Police officer gets a greater return on investment than a dollar spent hiring a jail guard.
  • Priority – Jail beds cost average $75k per year.  Who should be in that bed,  someone with a minor conviction, or a serial killer. Placing low risk criminals in jail simply exposes them to the hard criminals.
  • Hard core “Diversion” programs work.. Texas reduced jail cost AND significantly reduce recidivism.
  • Second Chance / Clean Slate  –  Felony convictions are a life sentence that prevent good people from getting good jobs. Seal records after 10 or so years of no trouble.
  • Mandatory Sentencing doesn’t solve crime, It clogs jails with people who should not be there.  Judges do a excellent job of sentencing,  let them do their job. FAMM (Families against Mandatory Minimums)

Former Virginia Attorney General and current FreedomWorks Director of the Regulatory Action Center, Ken Cuccinelli spoke with Jason Pye at midday about the need to fix the US Senate to advance a bold, conservative agenda. Ken made the case for rewriting senate rules to overcome Democrat opposition and confirm more of President Trump’s judicial appointments.

Fix the Senate

  • Avoid a vote on any issue at any cost
  • How representatives get “Swampified”.
  • Primary goal is to get re-elected
  • Senate and House fights, Keep the house and Senate
  • Renacci battle – We’re still looking into this
  • Jim Jordan – Speaker of the House

Saturday afternoon featured sessions from allied conservative and libertarian organizations as well as an activism training led by FreedomWorks Grassroots coordinator, Emily Stack and activist Kathy Hartkopf. Later in the afternoon, FreedomWorks Director of Policy, Patrick Hedger, presented on the the need to cut bureaucratic red tape. Throughout the day, activists met with FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon to record episodes for his new podcast, Freedom Files.

FreedomWorks Senior Economic Contributor, Steve Moore, gave an animated talk during dinner Saturday evening, followed by an address from President Brandon about the need to grow the grassroots movement and take advantage of the Republican super-majority to further the cause of liberty.

Regulatory Action

  • The “Regulators” receive their power from Congress.  This is known as the “Administrative State”
  • Unelected regulators create the laws, enforce the laws, and impose punishment for violating the laws.
  • Freedom Works excellent program identifies key issues coming up from Regulators.
  • Activist are asked to comment on these issues.  Comment count isn’t a Yes/No vote. Unique comments MUST be addressed by regulators. Often a regulation is withdrawn when regulators see to much work answering comments

Medical Reform – CREATES Act

  • Generics – Must go through FDA processes that impede their success –  i.e. samples required – Why doesn’t FDA use test data from original manufacture acceptance rather than completely re-test manufacture samples.
  • Manufacture sells intellectual property rights to Native American tribes.
  • Legislatures get BIG contributions from Pharmaceuticals to stop CREATES act. i.e. Sen Orin Hatch (R-UT)  $583k

Sunday morning began with an emotional, patriotic sermon by Reverend C.L. Bryant, FreedomWorks Senior Fellow. FreedomWorks then delivered various legislative and policy based sessions, followed by a Media and Press training led by consultant Brad Williamson and FreedomWorks Press Secretary, Peter Vicenzi. The event was wrapped up with a regulatory action panel moderated by Patrick Hedger.

Media Training – Talking to the press

  • Ideas / guidelines on how to conduct an media interview

FCC Regulatory Update.

  • Infrastructure spending stopped dead with threats of regulation.
  • Rollback of “Net Neutrality”.  If Congress wants to regulate it,  they need to pass legislation,  not allow the “Administrative State” to do their work for them.
  • Infrastructure spending exploded when rules got rolled back.
  • Very small percentage of “no service areas” mainly very remote rural areas.

Owing to the past weekend’s success, FreedomWorks plans to continue to host further activist fly-ins. FreedomWorks staff wish to thank their grassroots activists for attending and for continuing to fight for the Constitution and small government.

Freedom Works Update

  • Moving to new building (111 K st)
  • Fine tune focus

I wish to thank the entire staff at FreedomWorks, my fellow members of the Activist Advisory Committee, and those who took the time to travel to Washington DC to take advantage of this valuable resource.  FreedomWorks has been a strong ally of the conservative movement and I look forward to continuing out partnering with them.

John Mc
Toledo Tea Party
NW Ohio Conservative Coalition