AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT PRESENTS HIGHLIGHTS OF PANEL, FULL VIDEO TO COME.
June 15, 2014
RACHEL CAMPOS DUFFY, EVAN FEINBERG, AND TERESA OELKE
“Advance in the States”
P R O C E E D I N G S
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Hi, my name is Rachel Campos-Duffy. I am the National Spokesperson for the LIBRE Initiative.
Now, we know that the electorate is divided into thirds (inaudible) are those that support our freedom agenda. We’ve done a pretty good job of sustaining and retaining our base. The left third are those who don’t and probably won’t. And in the middle are those who are up for grabs. And we call that group the middle third. These are non-political or apolitical people, and these are people that share our values. Sometimes they don’t even know it. This panel is focused on reaching the middle third.
We’re excited today because of some of the experiments that we’ve been doing with our grassroots advocacy groups to reach the middle third. With us today is Evan Feinberg. He’s at Generation Opportunity. There are a ton of young people that fall into the middle third. They are open to new ideas, and they’re searching. And so, they’re a perfect group for us to reach out to. The next is Teresa Oelke, and she’s from Americans for Prosperity. They are also working on programs to reach the middle third. Again, these groups are apolitical, but they also want to know that we care about them and the most vulnerable in our society. And so, they’re working on programs to do — to do that.
Finally, we have my group, the LIBRE Initiative. Hispanics are culturally conservative. They are generally aligned with our values and our principles on — when it comes to economics. But they are being won over by leaders of community groups, and my very radical liberal professor (inaudible). Now, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about what we have learned from these groups and from their tactics and strategies, and how we’re actually (inaudible) freedom.
Now, these are truly incredible the capabilities that we have built. How do we, before that, because typically, since we’re talking about advancing in the states, how does this work in (inaudible) in (inaudible) people on issues at a local and state level?
TERESA OELKE: I think that’s what (inaudible) said best is that the difference in this network is this (inaudible) infrastructure in the states to move it forward and carry out the (inaudible) plans (inaudible) component of health (inaudible) working in a concerted effort to advance freedom. And you know, we’re a nation by and we’re for people who can be really powerful (inaudible) to really help (inaudible) issues and stories happening in people’s communities. And that middle third is more likely to (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So give us an example.
TERESA OELKE: Okay, if you look at business licensure in Arkansas, (inaudible) personal business (inaudible) expert (inaudible). But instead, we want to take it to the (inaudible) pass that $500-dollar threshold, who wants to pursue more opportunities, and so people who are either business entities (inaudible) contact Arkansas (inaudible) perspective. The University of Central Arkansas this fall will release research about the impact business licensure has on upward mobility. Our think tank, Advance Arkansas, is focused on investigative journalist stories, along with crime, as well as covering what’s happening with the capital on the stories (inaudible).
We have Americans for Prosperity invested in that effort (inaudible). Our focus is on making sure our members are educated on the issues and they understand that this isn’t just about (inaudible). It’s about people’s opportunities for prosperity. That way, when (inaudible) go back to (inaudible) they don’t just listen to special interests (inaudible) a number of citizens (inaudible) principles (inaudible).
Although we (inaudible) an interim committee this summer, (inaudible) regulatory (inaudible). So we have already the energy (inaudible) 2016 to advancing this story. And why, why can’t we make coalitions? Look at the black coalition at the state capital in Little Rock and because (inaudible) about the fact that the business licensure (inaudible) partnership, and this is a perfect opportunity to be talking about it.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: And it’s such a great example because (inaudible) regulatory (inaudible) have in store for us, but the (inaudible) on the ballot is the same as where I live. And you know, I think so often on issues like this, the significance in fighting for freedom, we win those conversations, to say that the successful in this country (inaudible).
And it’s crucial that we’re fighting (inaudible) for those people, but we’re also fighting for (inaudible). And so, I think this is about engaging the little guy in this battle, taking up (inaudible) a lot of (inaudible) we need to be the warriors for those who (inaudible). Evan, this is (inaudible) important to (inaudible).
EVAN FEINBERG: Absolutely, Rachel. I think a lot of people think of my generation as being (inaudible), and it’s really all about themselves, but actually nothing could be further from the truth. Young people are really (inaudible). We’re marked by how much we care about others and the last and least among us in society. So that represents a huge opportunity for us right now in reaching out to people because we don’t think they really care about us. Definitely we don’t think people in Washington care about us.
(Inaudible) we often don’t think that they have our best interests at heart. That’s happening with all the generational (inaudible) that’s going on in Washington (inaudible). We’re seeing a real political impact on young American lives. So you know, this is the fact of young America (inaudible). Over a third are forced to move back in with their parents (inaudible) a lack of economic opportunities here in America today.
So I think that this really is an incredible opportunity for us to show them that freedom drives (inaudible), that freedom leads to better options in young American lives. We don’t care about free market (inaudible). We care about improving their lives and the lives of (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Okay. So what are some of the ways that Generation Opportunity is showing how freedom (inaudible)? But we’ll get to that. I just want to — I just want to give a little more context to how we do this experiment.
We have about like six components of well-being, and these people (inaudible) all the folks we’re going to hear about today are tied to either one or more (inaudible) opportunity, health and environment, living standards, freedom, community, relationships, and peace and security. So again, Evan tell us how you’re engaging young people (inaudible) desire for opportunity (inaudible) unorthodox and (inaudible) craft beer.
EVAN FEINBERG: Well, I have a big surprise for everyone here. Young people like beer.
EVAN FEINBERG: I know that’s very surprising, but (inaudible) in the context of opportunity when I talk about the context of what we’re looking for on a fun Friday night. Young Americans are really interested in the craft brewing industry. In fact, I’ve got a couple of friends who brew beer in their basement right now. They’d rather leave their jobs, and become an entrepreneur, and start their own brewery. It really actually is something that marks our generation. It’s a cultural phenomenon.
You know, I do that at my job, at Generation Opportunity. We actually did an experiment where we use technology on Twitter. We wanted to — overall we wanted to know what do young people care about? How do they form their communities online? And so we did a really intense analysis of their Twitter streams. We found out that craft breweries and craft beer were actually the largest cultural segment in North Carolina. So we set about to talk about craft breweries because it’s what they care about, so we care about it.
(Inaudible) just like a lot of other businesses, it’s one that’s marked by tons of government regulations, tons of cronyism where businesses are trying to keep the little guy down. And so young Americans were actually really interested in this topic in particular.
So we did a Free the Brews campaign. It featured young entrepreneurs that we’re really supporting and who were really trying to cut through the red tape and get started. We got hundreds of people into that event. In Asheville, North Carolina we have over 500 people that we were able to impact through our Free the Brews event.
I wrote an op-ed in a number of papers that was very well-received. We’ve been able to get tons of these young Americans interested in the ideas of freedom, not because we came through with a really great way to talk about marginal tax rates, but because we were able to talk about freedom and regulation about something that they care about.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So tell us about how the Free the Brews campaign led to other projects.
EVAN FEINBERG: Yeah. So, so another really fun project that (inaudible) is our Free the Food Trucks campaign. I don’t know if you’re aware of this phenomenon, but especially among urban youth and in college towns, having a truck pull up and bring delicious food directly to you is something you don’t usually care about. But it’s also focused on young entrepreneurs (inaudible) to work (inaudible) in life is to quit that job and (inaudible) drive a food truck (inaudible).
So this an opportunity where we can be a champion for entrepreneurs, a champion for young people, a champion for opportunity to talk about (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: You know, food trucks are a big phenomenon (inaudible). You can — you can agree with me on this one (inaudible) food trucks were cool.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible) and so, we’re also looking in Florida with the food trucks, the fast-food truck communities, and they’re (inaudible) because of Generation Opportunity to share those practices. (Inaudible) big government, and cronyism, and over regulation (inaudible) the little guy, and we are taking it to the streets literally. And this is so important for us to (inaudible). This is a segment, this is a Hispanic segment with 800,000 percent (inaudible) every year. This chases the demographic (inaudible).
This idea of meeting people where they’re at, demonstrating that we care about them, and we care about what they care about. How important is the idea of (inaudible) when it comes to women (inaudible)?
TERESA OELKE: This is incredibly important to the (inaudible) of women (inaudible). Women tell you how — what women go through (inaudible) what decisions they make and how (inaudible). It’s our issues and that’s our problem, and we don’t want them to be (inaudible) about it. We want them to be (inaudible).
And so a key component of that is your sincerity. They want to know if you’re building a world that they want to be a part of, if you’re a building a community that they want to be a part of. So for example, they may not like Obamacare, but they trust the President’s intentions to make the world a better place. And that goes a long way (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: That actually reminds me of Michelle Obama. You know, these young girls were abducted in Africa, and what would we tell (inaudible) bring our girls home. Now, it didn’t do much to help the outcome, but it did (inaudible) some goals, that she cared. And that’s what Democrats want to do. That’s what they care about. That’s their goal. They want to help. And so on the right, we want (inaudible).
TERESA OELKE: We have to do a better job of selling our motivations and what motivates us. You know our activists, they do care. The people in this room, they do (inaudible). They want these people to have an opportunity to move from poverty to prosperity. That’s what drives us.
You know, our activists, they love this country, they love (inaudible), they love their communities. They spend a great deal of their time, and their talents, and their resources (inaudible). And it’s up to us to do a better job explaining what motivates us through the activities and the issues so people understand.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: So tell us about the healthcare event that you guys (inaudible) that shows, that demonstrates, you know, that we care.
TERESA OELKE: In Arizona, our (inaudible), hosted several health and lifestyle events with (inaudible). Now, these events are focused on (inaudible) network (inaudible) of women who are not going to go to a town hall. They’re not going to become the political (inaudible). Just a little bit of a teaser here. Tomorrow at the value-added uh, break-out, (inaudible) a few of our board members: Frayda Levin, (inaudible), and Deborah Wesley (inaudible).
But I want to focus on what happened (inaudible). These women were not (inaudible). They don’t know their representatives. This is a valuable platform that empowers them. They want to live healthier lifestyles and make better decisions. This is also a platform (inaudible) our perspective on how to get there. And, boy, were they motivated to action and wanted to know what they could do about the President’s healthcare law.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Okay. So now I’d like to hear (inaudible) under the living standard. (Inaudible) by helping with the day-to-day tasks that maybe are difficult (inaudible) in this soft economy. (Inaudible) to give you an example.
But first before I do that, (inaudible) collective issues, taxes (inaudible) working (inaudible) builds up trust. They’ve successfully built loyalty by providing (inaudible) also be providing (inaudible) services (inaudible) has basically adopted that strategy of providing these services (inaudible). And when we do this, it strengthens our credibility and new opportunities.
And we’re doing this through what we call our Community-Based Events. These are events that (inaudible) multiple (inaudible) depending on what community it’s in, what that would mean for (inaudible).
So here’s one example. This is an example of an existing program. We now have (inaudible) the opportunity to get a better (inaudible). In the first year alone (inaudible) six students (inaudible) that program (inaudible) this opportunity. For some reason (inaudible) students were failing the exam at twice the rate. And so we decided to partner with (inaudible) and we provided two three-hour workshops to help (inaudible). And we were able to (inaudible) responsibilities and self-reliance (inaudible).
We had similar events in other (inaudible) states. We offered taxes. We partnered with H&R Block to help people to fill out their taxes. And again in all these events, we see that (inaudible). responsibilities (inaudible).
TERESA OELKE: Rachel, Americans for Prosperity has a very similar project (inaudible). We’ve held over 30 event (inaudible). And I have to say that people are tired of organizations (inaudible) that don’t do anything to empower them (inaudible), whether it’s better budgeting (inaudible) that empowers people that then have the skills. It gives us a platform that’s more credible (inaudible) are our concerns in regards to government (inaudible).
So, in Richmond, Virginia, we have a business budgeting (inaudible). Two members of the congregation who are experts on the topics (inaudible), and as a partnership with Americans for Prosperity, gave us a platform to engage people who (inaudible) in a way that was credible. And it allowed us to share our concerns (inaudible) how many people (inaudible) to say we want to help you survive, and we want to (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible) opportunity for living standards (inaudible) online (inaudible).
EVAN FEINBERG: Yeah. So I mentioned before the unemployment rate (inaudible). Right now nobody has got a (inaudible) young Americans (inaudible) student loans (inaudible) unable to find (inaudible). And it’s 20 percent of recent college graduates (inaudible) all these really highly qualified, really well-educated young Americans who can’t get their foot in the door of the economy. So rather than just talking about all the regulations, all the government spending, all the (inaudible), we decided to highlight and help some of those young people.
So through some of our regional (inaudible), we formatted them online, through our (inaudible) .org platform (inaudible). We were able to find some young Americans who fit that profile (inaudible) everybody learn, really qualified (inaudible), and we actually (inaudible) online and highlighted their stories, promoted it. (Inaudible) some real success, so (inaudible) online on Facebook. Eleven thousand people saw this particular story, and we’ve done about five interviews with (inaudible).
We also drove the national narrative. So this was an A1 USA Today story profiling what a great (inaudible) one of the people that we — that we highlighted, and describing the lack of (inaudible). They also (inaudible) my world, my commentary, and what it was that was (inaudible).
So we were able to go to them and say to our online activists and to young Americans (inaudible) that we care about them, that we’re trying to help, but also that (inaudible) advancing federal policies, prescriptions for what ails young Americans.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible). That’s exciting (inaudible).
(Inaudible) who want to share (inaudible) fall under the (inaudible) we really think that (inaudible) this is about engaging our volunteers (inaudible) crisis (inaudible). Now, this will help us to demonstrate our goodwill, that will sort of help show that we care, and show how we can depend on each other and not (inaudible) for everything on the government. (Inaudible) saw what happened in Katrina when people relied solely on the government.
Again, (inaudible) this example (inaudible) it’s actually one of my favorite (inaudible). Our office is actually located in the (inaudible) Park neighborhood, (inaudible) about five minutes from our office, (inaudible) a baseball park. And they had a big (inaudible) kids couldn’t afford it (inaudible). And so we decided to give them (inaudible) to the park. Again, a really good example of how we were, one, able to (inaudible). We strengthened our ties (inaudible) in the community, and we were able to get just a really great local resource (inaudible).
Now, since March of 2013 (inaudible) LIBRE has organized 27 (inaudible) events. Now, based on our analysis, we know that (inaudible) are the most debatable segment within (inaudible) to pull off these events. Total attendance at these 27 events, over 8,700 (inaudible) on average. That’s about 220 people per event.
And again when these people come, they sign up for the event, they give (inaudible) to receive our newsletter, (inaudible) telephone, cell phone and also you have determined our message. So by talking to them, showing people (inaudible) about the importance of (inaudible) on the Federal level. (Inaudible) can you give us some examples of (inaudible)?
TERESA OELKE: The day before our (inaudible) was scheduled for (inaudible) there was a (inaudible) in the water. And the RGA (inaudible) and our organization pulled together to provide 20,000 cases of water and were able to distribute it there in the community using (inaudible). And that’s how Americans for Prosperity Foundation was introduced to the community because we were there for them, and we were invested in what mattered to them. Similarly in Arkansas, (inaudible) we were able to (inaudible) water and (inaudible) from across the state and deliver there (inaudible).
So this isn’t about us (inaudible). This is about being a member of the community, and with the community (inaudible), being a good partner. And that was after (inaudible) that’s with added value back to the community. And it also allows us to work with this network of people who are not our network. There are people not (inaudible). In Arkansas, we currently (inaudible) this network that we are learning how (inaudible) added value.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: I hope that this helps you sort of get a sense of how (inaudible) territory (inaudible) we have a long way to go. But I use — I use individual experiments and (inaudible) success. If you would like to discuss any of these (inaudible) with any of these grassroots groups, we will have groups tomorrow between 2:00 and 4:30 outside the Monarch Ballroom upstairs, and we’d love to have you stop by.
(Inaudible) we’re going to have (inaudible), so if you are interested in (inaudible) Americans (inaudible). Additionally, there’s a break-out meeting tomorrow afternoon (inaudible) Americans for Prosperity (inaudible) people in the middle third. It’s part of our long-term effort (inaudible). Glad to be here and thanks for your support.
KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you all very much. (Inaudible) this afternoon (inaudible). In particular, I want to say a special thanks to Rachel Campos-Duffy, whose husband, Sean, was sitting in the back of the room just a couple of minutes with child number –
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible).
KEVIN GENTRY: (Inaudible). How old? A month and a half old. So, Sean, you’re doing great work back there (inaudible).
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: (Inaudible).
KEVIN GENTRY: So thank you very much, Rachel. Thank you. So, and again, this is really what you all are doing. You all are the investors in this effort and (inaudible) a lot of us it’s a challenge (inaudible) who are doing all these things (inaudible). We’ll have breakouts tomorrow, get into groups and (inaudible).
(End of session.)