Speech to the 39a Republicans – Beyond the Tea Party

A couple days ago, I gave a speech to the 39a Republicans. There were three other people that gave speeches to the same group, all except myself were gubernatorial candiates. These included Marty Seifert, Pat Anderson, and Tom Emmers.

I considered it an honor to speak during this event, and would like to thank Bill Jungbauer for asking me to do so. Below, I have included the text of my speech.

Beyond the Tea Party

Terry Pearson – August 20, 2009

Greetings from your neighbors in 39b.

I would like to give a special thanks to Chairman Jungbauer for giving me this opportunity to make this address at your picnic.

As you know, there has been a resurgence of conservatism across our country throughout the past year. Nationally, the Tea Party movement ignited a firestorm of activity among conservatives. Locally, the tax cut rallies have brought thousands to support the “lower taxes” and the “more freedom” message.

Because of your response, and the diligent efforts of many of the Republican legislators, the largest tax increase in Minnesota history was halted for the time being. Thanks to Governor Pawlenty’s veto, along with his ingenious use of unallotment, our state budget’s footprint shrank, in real dollars, for the first time in history.

At a critical juncture in time, you stood up for what was right, and that made all the difference. Whether you called your representatives, showed up at rallies, or wrote letters to the editor, you were heard, and you were effective.

Ronald Reagan once said “If you don’t do this, and I don’t do this, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” He was speaking of beating back socialized medicine, but the same could have applied to higher taxes, or any other issue we fight against. Government encroachment does not hold prejudice to one issue; it is an enemy to freedom wherever it exists.

You all played a stunning round of defense over the previous year. We forced the proponents of bigger government, and higher taxes, to the other side of the field, but the battle is far from over.  Now is not the time to sit back, relax, and take off your shoes. If we want to win, if we want to truly create meaningful change, we must move to the offense.

What will you do to take on the liberal establishment?  Will you bring your conservative ideas to newspapers, to friends, and to family? Will you take the fight to the next level by running for office?

Traditionally, Republican strategists have ignored the school board, the planning commissions, or the soil and water board. To our detriment, we have often ceded these positions to our left leaning neighbors.  This is unfortunate, because many of the decisions that are made by these entities have a great affect on the community.

There are dozens of places where you can serve, all for varying interests and time commitments. For example, South St Paul has three school board positions opening up this fall. Why not put your name on the ballot. We all know how lacking the public schools are of strong conservative voices. This would be your chance to build a message of responsible government to the community. Or, ask to serve on any number of city or county commissions. Many of these positions only take a couple evenings a month, but they make a big difference in the communities in which we live.

As conservatives, we believe that the power comes from God, to the people, and then to the government. As federalists, we believe that government’s power is derived first from what is local. So please consider serving your fellow citizens. Let us build a strong conservative governing base at the local level.

The tax cut rallies and tea parties are a great starting point. They emboldened and impassioned the conservative cause, but they are not an end in themselves. Take some time this week to think about running for a position on school board, or maybe applying to a planning commission. Maybe even consider something bigger.

Get out there, and get involved. Let’s take this game to the offense.  Because if you don’t do it, and I don’t do it, we will have to provide an answer to future generations why we did not take those seemingly small steps to provide a future that is free and prosperous for their generation.

Thank you.

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