By far the coolest facet of my job is daily interaction with grassroots patriots. Like our Founding Fathers and patriots of every era since then, these people work hard all day, take care of their families, fulfill their obligations, etc. What truly makes them stand with those former generations of patriots is that whether it’s big or small, they refuse to let a day go by where they don’t do something to promote liberty. The future of their country and her freedom is simply too important for them to not take up that banner every day.
As I’ve been working for American Majority in our Texas office for the last two years, one of the people and groups who I’ve spent the most time working with and come closest to is Toby Marie Walker (@TobyMarie) and the Waco Tea Party (@WacoTEAParty)
With the advent of the TEA Party movement, things went from zero to sixty pretty fast in Waco. It’s not an area friendly to political newcomers but the Waco TEA Party wasn’t about to ask somebody’s permission to promote liberty. When asked to define the TEA Party in an interview on NPR, Toby said:
Well, we focus around three main issues…constitutionally limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility. A litmus test that we use is about taxes or spending, and we focus on those issues because that’s what we were founded under.
When it came time for the 2010 election cycle, Waco TEA Party activists were ready to make things happen. Even though their Congressman, Chet Edwards, had voted against the Health Care Reform bill, they knew that his record was far from fiscally responsible. When asked by the BBC why they would work to fire somebody who had voted against the HCR, Toby responded: “If they don’t have a really good record of being fiscally responsible, and following the constitution, nobody’s safe.”
For anybody who thought the Waco TEA Party was just a GOP front group, they’ve been proven wrong on more than one occasion. Not only have they gone after fiscally irresponsible Republicans but their members worked in force to elect 9/11 survivor and American Majority alumni Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell to the Texas Senate over the establishment favorite, David Sibley. Toby also served as campaign manager for Marva Beck in her successful campaign against longtime liberal incumbent, Jim Dunam in the Texas State House.
This upcoming municipal election cycle, the Waco TEA Party is cheering on one of their members and AM Alumni, Tony Abad, in his bid for the Waco School Board!
Since helping start the Waco TEA Party, Toby has worked to make it a force for liberty (as well as a force to be reckoned with) in the region. They haven’t just waved signs and protested. It was clear to Toby and the rest of the TEA Party that if they wanted to make a real political impact that solid political training was very important. Through that realization came the genesis of their relationship with American Majority. Since then we’ve worked with the Waco TEA Party and trained nearly 200 of their members! They have also signed the New Leaders Pledge, promising to identify and help train a new wave of conservative elected officials.
The Sam Adams Alliance has recently named Toby as one of the finalists for their “Rookie of The Year” award. SAA describes the award: “In 2010, newcomers to the political scene accomplished what professional politicians couldn’t. The Rookie is someone who engaged in politics for the first time.” When I called to congratulate Toby on the award her response was, “I’m honored to have been chosen as a finalist for the “Rookie” Sammie this year, but while the nomination has only my name on it, I believe that it is an honor for the whole Waco TEA Party team.”
Toby went on to describe some of the contributions made by her fellow Waco TEA partiers and their relationship with American Majority:
Our whole team are American Majority Alumni and we credit many of our accomplishments to the training we have received. We have implemented many of the techniques and tools provided by AM. Our social media presence has double this year, we have many modern day pamphleteers in the group who blog, tweet and post all over the internet spreading the conservative message. Michael Simon, our co-founder, Carol Waddell, Becky Kodrin and Greg Jones have worked tirelessly with me to make the Waco Tea Party one of the best grassroots activist/watchdog groups in the country. Other volunteers, such as Lisa Dickison, who has put together our voter guide, creates great graphics, and is also our City Watchdog. Bobby Keith has done an awesome job as our WTP Watchdog Radio host, due to his efforts and his weekly appearance on 94.5 he was offered a live one hour show each week for the Waco Tea Party. David Saucedo has toured the country singing his political rap and energizing people to be more involved in the political process. I can’t think of one person on our volunteer team who didn’t get involved in the elections in 2010, either through a candidate, group, club or individually helped out at the polls.
We also are proud of other AM Alumni like Tony Abad, who was one of the first people to support the WTP and now works very hard with GOPisforme in Stepping Stone project. Janet Jackson, who was at the first AM training in Waco is now our SREC rep for SD 22 and sings praises about AM far and wide. Duke Machado, I believe another AM Alumni has started GOPisforme and the Hispanic Club. Tom Bratcher was at the first Waco AM training and is now the GOP county chair for Bosque County. And the Baylor YCT students have also been to the AM training.
The Waco TEA Party has established a record of doing it right. They protest, they GOTV, they train, they identify conservative candidates. They stand up and get things done for liberty! It’s been a real honor to get to work so closely with them and I’m excited about their growth moving forward.