Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” Welcomes the ‘Royal Flush’ of Conservatives
by Susan Fletcher on June 19, 2013 at 9:57 AM
When considering the top conservative political events and conferences in Washington, DC, the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority ranks among the best! Last week, their impressive list of surprisingly accessible speakers coupled with diverse event programming and breakout sessions educated, encouraged and empowered grassroots activists from across the country. Over 1,800 leaders, speakers, and media participated during the three day event. I was personally honored to attend and represent the Texas Faith & Freedom Coalition, the Lone Star State affiliate for the FFC. The event began on Thursday with a kick-off luncheon featuring Senators Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI) and Marco Rubio (FL). Also featured were FFC Chairman Ralph Reed and FFC Executive Director Gary Marx. Following the luncheon, hundreds of attendees flooded Capitol Hill and representatives’ offices to lobby on conservative issues ranging from executive overreach to immigration. Lobby Day wrapped up with a reception in the Capitol featuring our own U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, and Congressman Tom Price (GA).
Thursday evening, the Faith & Freedom Coalition hosted a private state leaders’ dinner where I met many dedicated colleagues who are carrying the conservative message throughout their home states as well. We were also joined by former presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum as well as radio talk show host Michael Medved, who both shared some candid, encouraging remarks. An “After Hours” event with both speeches and Q&A time featured former Presidential Candidates Governor Mike Huckabee (AR), Senator Rick Santorum (PA), President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, National Review Editor-At-Large Jonah Goldberg and FOX News Contributor Dick Morris lasted well past 11:00 p.m.
Friday’s line-up began with our own U.S. Senator John Cornyn and continued through the day featuring former Congressman Allen West (FL), former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, FFC Chairman Ralph Reed, President of American Values Gary Bauer, radio talk show host Michael Medved, actor John Ratzenberger (“Cliff” from the classic TV show “Cheers,”) Congressman Paul Ryan (WI), Congressman Mark Sanford (SC), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly. Three afternoon break-out sessions provided training on many topics including outreach to youth and minorities, big data technology, fundraising, standing with Israel and influencing legislators.
Friday evening, the Patriot’s Gala and Awards Banquet came with a big surprise for me personally. I was invited to the green room to join the honored guests at the head table. In the room were Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulow, Christian Broadcasting Network Chairman Pat Robertson, Virginia Congressmen Randy Forbes and Scott Rigell, FFC Chairman Ralph Reed, FFC Executive Director Gary Marx and one of my favorite Congressmen, our very own Louie Gohmert, who was there to give the invocation.
Susan Fletcher and Congressman Louie Gohmert
Before long, the entire room took a collective breath as the door opened and in walked none other than Donald Trump and his security detail! He was very gracious and posed for photos with all of us, and then we were lined up according to our introduction order and marched to the backstage entrance. One by one, we were announced as we walked on stage to our dinner seats. I must say, it was quite an experience to eat dinner in the spotlights with cameras filming every move you make! Of course, my assigned seat was directly in front of the podium, so I was always in everyone’s peripheral view. By the way, my mother will be pleased to know that I was on my best behavior and employed all of the social etiquette training that she engrained into me from such a young age! Napkin in lap… check. Never use the fork to cut or to scoop… check. Use the utensils from the outside and work toward the plate… check.
After The Donald delivered his keynote address, we were serenaded by Grammy & Dove award winning artist Sandi Patty. At one point, she sang her new arrangement of our “unofficial national anthem” God Bless America. I was sitting next to Arkansas State Senator Eddie Joe Williams and we whispered to one another that we should be standing as we sang, so we mutually agreed to stand together, which instantly caused the rest in the room to join us… a very touching moment.
If that experience wasn’t enough, Saturday morning was the icing on the cake. I was asked to introduce our very own Governor Rick Perry, who was the first speaker of the day. Arriving in the green room, I was soon in the company of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, and of course, Governor Perry. We had a great chat and when I asked him about his future plans, he said that he would make his decision about running for re-election in the next couple of weeks as the Legislature wraps up. I also thanked him for recently appointing me to the State Board of Public Accountancy and we discussed the changing political landscape in Texas. Others on the Saturday morning line-up were Virginia GOP Lt. Governor nominee E.W. Jackson, Columnist for the National Review John Fund, former Presidential candidate Herman Cain, President of Hobby Lobby Steve Green and former Vice Presidential Candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Throughout the conference, our Founding Fathers were quoted by many of the speakers, and I could almost see them cheering from the grandstands, telling us NOT to give up. The battle is worth it, and as we seek to protect our republic and guard our liberty, we must remain focused on our Constitution. Giving up is simply not an option. Hats off to FFC Chairman Ralph Reed and FFC Executive Director Gary Marx for such a well-planned and executed event. We are now much more equipped to continue this battle for America’s soul. For now, we have our marching orders and I hope to see many more Texans at next year’s conference.
At least one experience will likely stick with me for a while. When commenting on my opportunity to meet Donald Trump, a friend proclaimed, “So… ‘The Donald’ got to have his picture made with ‘The Susan!’” The comment has since gone somewhat viral in my circle of friends, so at least for the time being, I am being referred to with an article of speech preceding my name. Who knows if it will stick, but in the meantime, maybe I should come up with my own trademark tag line!
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Governor Rick Perry, and former Ohio Secretary of State and State Treasurer Ken Blackwell
Donald Trump in the green room
Arkansas State Senator Eddie Joe Williams and Susan Fletcher
Senator Ted Cruz
Over 300 media covered this exciting event. View the links below and see what they are saying about the Faith & Freedom Coalition!
The Christian Post: Rick Perry to Conservatives: Be Humble, Courageous Like Jesus and Disciples
The Washington Post: Sarah Palin lampoons D.C. at Faith and Freedom Coalition conference
POLITICO: Evangelicals to GOP: Don't betray us on abortion
The Rush Limbaugh Show: Sarah Palin Rocks the Place in DC Speech
Christian Broadcasting Network: CBN's Pat Robertson Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
Texas Gov. Rick Perry pitches a way to ‘win this country back’
In addition, Texas Faith & Freedom Coalition is planning a large event in Houston in the fall. For further information, stay tuned to www.texasffcoalition.com as we plan to announce details later this summer. The national Faith & Freedom Coalition has many more exciting events that YOU can be involved in! Visit www.ffcoalition.com for more information on upcoming national events.