“Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.” -John Adams
The quote above could have easily been said by any of the dozens of great Arizonians who put on a ‘LibertyFest’ event last month. People from all over the state of Arizona came for a concert hosted by local bands, speeches by state leaders, dinner, games, and much more.
But mostly they were there to take their country back.
“People in Arizona are excited about Convention of States, because they see it as a way to return power to the people,” said Tom Eidukonis, a volunteer District Captain.
“Convention of States is a constitutional, legal way to recapture our republic,” said Ed Goheen. “It’s the only good, comprehensive, viable way to restore our republic before it is lost.” Convention of States Project is a grassroots movement to invoke Article V of the Constitution in order to rein in the power of the federal government, including term limits and fiscal restraints.
Michael Farris, the co-founder of the Convention of States Project, was the headline speaker for LibertyFest, but it was the Arizona volunteers who stole the show.
“I just decided it was time for me to get off the couch, stop screaming at the TV, and do something,” said volunteer Dawn Brunson, who co-owns a business and has three children at home. “I knew this would be a time commitment, but I decided there was no choice in the matter. It’s been a blessing, and I wouldn’t change anything in the last two years for the world.”
“Most people see what’s going on, but feel helpless,” said Joseph McCrary, who volunteers his time as a District Captain. “By getting our message out, we are helping people to feel empowered, and that’s why I think we’re going to be successful.”
A key aspect of COS’s mission is educating people about the Constitution, especially the convention of states provision in Article V.
“We have to be the vanguard to bring awareness to the public,” said Dennis Reiber, volunteer Presentation Coordinator. “Both the citizens and the state legislators have the authority to bring the amendment process.”
The Arizona COS team is one of the most organized and strategic COS teams in the country. Their resilience is impressive. They have passed the COS resolution through the Arizona House two years in a row.
“We are organizing, we are putting this together, and we are prepared to act now,” said Rep. Kelly Townsend, who spearheaded the COS resolution through the Arizona House in 2014 and 2015 before hitting a roadblock in Arizona’s upper chamber both years. The COS Arizona team believes that most of the Senate members would vote in favor of the resolution and deserve a chance to do that.
Even with these setbacks, the team remains optimistic and looks to implement new strategies in 2016 in order to officially add Arizona to the list of states calling for a Convention of States. Their volunteer base has grown exponentially over the past few months, which is a great challenge unto itself in order to accommodate interest in the movement and plug those supporters into the ongoing statewide effort.
“There’s a lot, a lot of people out there who are looking for something to do, and you can just see them recognize the ability of Convention of States to make it happen” said Steve Davidson, who is a District Captain for Convention of States in Minnesota and was visiting some friends in Arizona.
“Convention of States gives me hope, because it’s part of the Constitution. Our forefathers felt it was necessary to prevent a runaway government,” said Skyler McCorkel. Like many others on the team, McCorkel is a military veteran. He now serves as an important Strategist on the COS team.
“My oath has never been nullified,” he said. “I believe in my oath and try to fulfill it everyday, not only for myself, but also for my kids and grandkids.”
Husbands and wives work together on the project and some have even gotten their children involved, giving the youngsters a crash course in history, civics, and political activism. This type of involvement is new for almost everyone on the Arizona COS team, who continue to add new recruits to their volunteer leadership team. Most have never been activists before, but they’re people who love America and are willing to commit to something bigger than themselves.
They are unfazed by praise, focused squarely on the task at hand—doing whatever is necessary to grow their grassroots army and move the COS resolution through the Arizona House and Senate. In my multiple attempts to track down State Director Mike Kapic for an interview, he was always helping someone with something. This is precisely the sort of servant leadership that Convention of States Project seeks to elevate.
The Arizona team seems to be too busy doing to get hung up on the sheer hugeness of what they are accomplishing and are striving to achieve. They will probably scoff at this lofty praise, but this group of Arizonians is thoroughly inspiring. The members of the Arizona Convention of States team are the salt of the earth.
I met veterans of the US military, grandmothers, small business owners, a mother of three who works full time, a trucker, an IT specialist, and many more everyday people. At first glance, there’s nothing particularly unique about this ragtag group. So what’s the key ingredient?
From my brief time speaking with dozens in the group, I believe I pinpointed the common denominator, perhaps stated best by Dawn Brunson, who serves as the Social Media Director for Convention of States Arizona.
“I have three children. I’m going to fight with every last breath I have to make sure they have the same opportunities that I had,” said Brunson. “It’s important to fight now for the next generation.”
These are citizens who care about their children and grandchildren, and they are deeply concerned about America. In the end, that’s all it takes to make a difference and be part of something truly special.