Just so no one can’t accuse me of not being fair, I am highlighting a comment from Slade O’Brien, Florida Director for Americans for Prosperity, to my story yesterday about what I believe to be a decline in enthusiasm in Florida for the Tea Party.
There were two events at the Capitol last year. The 1st was the opening day rally that attacked a very large crowd who were celebrating the success of the 2010 election cycle and the beginning of a new session. People came up went to the rally and then went home. The 2nd event was the AFP summit which was a two day event and included break-out sessions and a dinner program.
This year’s AFP sponsored two day event attracted a larger crowd (365) than last year’s two day event. This year we had the Rally on the steps of the old Capitol like they did last year but we had people actually on the steps surrounding the Speakers, last year they did not…..interesting that those photos angles aren’t shown. You are welcome to view them for yourselves at our face book siteor webpageif you would like to view some other camera angles.
This year’s event also had a dinner program that featured CFO Jeff Atwater, AFP 2011 Legislator of the Year Scott Plakon, noted blogger and author Trevor Loudon and the Writer/Director of Stephen K. Bannon. We also had breakout sessions for those that were interested, topics and speakers included; Krisanne Hall with a Constitutional Refresher, Daryn Iwicki on Economic Freedom, Patricia Nelson, the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Fiscal Responsibility and Regulatory Reform, Terren Bragdon from the Foundation for Government Accountability spoke on tools for holding local government accountable and protecting you Healthcare Freedom, and the Heartland Institute spoke about insurance reform. We also provide space on the 22nd floor of the Capitol for Patriot Groups to cover issues outside of AFP’s mission.
But the main point of all this was to help put Patriots in front of Legislators and that is exactly what happened. The Attendees scheduled appointments with their Legislators or key committee members working on issues that matter to them.
So I guess we’ll all agree that last year’s turnout may have been bigger because it was some sort of post-election celebration. I’ll concede that. But I stick by my assessment that, having participated in the first event and attended this year’s, there was more energy and enthusiasm at last year’s rally.