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AFP: From the road in Kansas

Yesterday in Topeka at AFP Foundation’s Defending the American Dream® Summit attended by almost 600 pumped-up activists, I talked with a fellow I first met 6 years ago when he attended one of our very first AFP grassroots meetings.

Kansas Summit
AFP Foundation Rally at the Topeka Defending the American Dream Summit

He said, “Tim, who knew six years ago that we were launching something that would help turn our nation around?”

Who knew, indeed.

Six years ago, Americans for Prosperity began in Kansas – with just a handful of activists and a big dream of building a powerful grassroots force to protect and advance our economic freedoms.

Our simple operating premise came from former Senate Majority Leader Everett Dirksen from Illinois who used to say, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.”  We wanted to make sure elected leaders felt the “heat” when it came to economic issues like taxes and spending so that they would see the “light” and do the right thing!

Today, thanks to that big dream and the hard work of folks like you, Americans for Prosperity has 30 state chapters and affiliates and more than 1.2 million grassroots freedom fighters in all 50 states taking on the Left.

More importantly, we’re helping fight and win on important issues like Card Check (Big Labor’s most cherished goal is still not passed?) and Cap-and-Trade (yep, Al Gore’s most cherished radical environmental boondoggle is still not passed, though the threat is still there).

I give this brief history of AFP to tell you the amazing difference just a few committed activists like you make for our nation and our values.  AFP-Kansas began with just 70 or so folks on board.  The very next state, Texas, was launched just weeks later with no more than a few hundred hardy souls.

As each AFP state chapter launched in the months and years to follow, invariably they began with only a few dozen committed Americans who said “I’m going to do something I’ve never done – start a grassroots organization in my home state and community to protect my economic freedoms.”

The same audacious American spirit animates so many tea party activists and 9-12 leaders across the nation who are helping lead our freedom renaissance right now.

At our Topeka event yesterday, a lady quietly approached and put a book in my hand written by her husband, Paul – a retired Army chaplain with 24 years of military service.  This lady, Jan, and I talked for a few moments.  With so many folks around and all the excitement and bedlam of the grassroots event happening I thanked her, put the book in my briefcase and walked on.

Later on the airplane to Missouri I pulled out the book, entitled On This Day, and began reading amazing stories from our nation’s history.  Minutes turned to an hour as I read of the courage and leadership of great Americans – many I had never heard of before.

The Army Chaplain who wrote the book served all over the world with our soldiers, including 9 years with the Army Rangers and Special Forces.  He made more than 100 military parachute jumps.

Just as I was closing the book a folded paper fell out into my hands.  With loving care, it detailed the life story of their son, who had recently passed away after a lifelong battle with a difficult chronic illness.  Reading the story of their son, who met every challenge and lived life to its fullest through a deep abiding faith in God, one could see the pride and love of two parents.  I don’t often shed tears on an airplane with strangers all around, but I did yesterday.

We can be proud to serve in the cause of freedom with people like Jan and Paul and their late son, Aaron.

Keep the faith and know that our nation still produces the very best people in the world.

I meet them on the road every day.

Tim Phillips Signature


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