Trust but Verify

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Trust but Verify

By: 
Ryan Johnson

Approaching Christmas 2016, many Missouri Republicans and Conservatives alike have a sense of optimism that has been a long time coming. The prospect of Koster for Governor hung over us like a dark, dense fog for seven plus years and has now been swept away. All of the sudden, it feels like morning again in Missouri.
 
Many long-time skeptical, even cynical, conservatives are excited by the possibility of policy successes that have long eluded them. Right-to-work, which a few short months ago was a mathematical impossibility, in terms of overriding a governor’s veto, is nearly a forgone conclusion. Tort reform, which could only muster 85 votes in the House before being summarily executed by the veto pen, only needs 82 votes and Senate passage before Eric Greitens, who has vowed to sign it, makes it a reality. My how times have changed. And, presumably, for the better.
 
Still, the need for accountability is greater now than it ever has been. The average Missouri Alliance for Freedom score in 2016 for Missouri House Republicans is a C, and for their counterparts in the Missouri Senate, it’s a little better at a C/B but only because there are fewer of them to drag down the average.
 
In 2017, we will still have self-identified “conservative” members of the legislature who will stand for tax increases and against tort reform. They will oppose ethics reform and labor reform too. Let’s face it politicians of any stripe require an active citizenry to hold them accountable even with the GOP in control. And some might say, especially with the GOP in control. That is where we come in to play.
 
In 2014, then-State Senator John Lamping (MAF 100%) said “Missouri is a state of special interests. We ignore the vast majority of taxpayers who can’t afford to hire a lobbyist while we cater to those who can.” Nothing has changed since then except that we (Missouri Alliance for Freedom) have worked hard for three years to be your advocates and hold policymakers’ feet to the fire.
 
In Texas, the reddest of red states, there is an organization much like ours called Empower Texans. They are constantly battling against the establishment and working hard to hold elected officials accountable. Texas Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who openly wins his role as Speaker with a coalition of democrats and moderate Republicans, is a constant foe of Texas conservatives. In Kansas, the divide is not between Republicans and Democrats, but between Conservatives and Moderates. The lesson that we should learn as a newly-minted red state is that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
 
Republican policymakers, staffers, lawyers and lobbyists, as well as political operatives will likely enjoy a brief post-election honeymoon. Then, all bets are off as they start to compete one against another for power and position.
 
Now is not the time for conservatives to rest on their laurels because they won an election. Now is the time for conservatives to step on the gas, hold their elected officials to a higher degree of accountability, and make sure you have a voice and an advocate in the Capitol.
 
That is what we do, but we need your help to continue. For Missouri. Thank you!