1st Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity holds inaugural meeting
27th January 2014 · 0 Comments
By Fritz Esker
On January 21, the grassroots conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity debuted its first Louisiana chapter with a dinner and meeting at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
Speakers at the event included State Representative Julie Stokes, State Representative Scott Simon, AFP’s Louisiana State Director Philip Joffrion, former Representative Jeff Landry and AFP President Tim Phillips.
Even though AFP officially launched its Louisiana chapter with Tuesday’s meeting, it had already established a presence in the state with commercials criticizing Senator Mary Landrieu for her support of the Affordable Care Act. A common theme among the speakers was total opposition towards the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and all the lawmakers who voted for it.
Speakers also discussed their opposition of the medicaid expansion that was offered to the state that Governor Bobby Jindal turned down. Joffrion emphasized that the AFP does not believe that fight is over. While there has been talk from lawmakers of pushing the medicaid issue to a vote, Joffrion said the AFP will vehemently oppose the issue even reaching a vote.
“We don’t need the intrusion,” Simon said. “Government has overstepped its responsibility and its role.”
Limited government in general was also a theme among speakers, who also paid tribute to Kenner as being one of the most conservative areas in Louisiana. “All of the people in this room stand for limited taxes, limited government and unlimited opportunity,” Stokes said.
Simon said that when elected, people asked him what kinds of laws he would be passing. He replied that he felt his job was more to ensure that laws don’t get passed.
For future plans, Joffrion said the AFP has targeted 16 parishes in Louisiana as strong conservative areas. The AFP will work to get more people in these parishes involved in advocacy and the legislative process in an effort to advance a conservative agenda in Louisiana. “We want to reach out to citizens who have not always paid attention,” Joffrion said.
While the group has hopes for more conservative expansion within the state, Landry, who during his legislative tenure was named the 4th most conservative member of Congress, acknowledged that conservatives have already made big strides in Louisiana.
After mentioning David Vitter’s recent entry into the governor’s race, Landry said, “There was a time when we’d be lucky to get even one Republican on the ballot.”
Landry also emphasized the need to address the unemployment problem in America. He said the United States was a country that could once solve any problem, but has now fallen into dysfunction and that the country needs to get back to its roots.
On a similar note, Stokes said, “I want to leave my kids an America our ancestors would be proud of.”
This article originally published in the January 27, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.