Minutes of the Operating Committee of the America First Party
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
BE IT REMEMBERED that the Operating Committee of the America First Party met on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, pursuant to the previous resolution of the Operating Committee.
The Secretary called the roll of Operating Committee members:
- Dan Charles of Colorado, Chairman
- Gene Lovell of Georgia, Vice-chairman
- John Pittman Hey of Mississippi, Secretary
- Maureen McHugh of Illinois, Treasurer
- Jon Hill of Massachusetts, Finance Committee Chairman
- Romelle Winters of New Hampshire, Public Relations Committee Chairman
- James Edwards of Tennessee, Candidates Committee Chairman
- James D. Jones of Tennessee, Party Building Chairman
- Eric Thomas of Tennessee, Rules Committee Chairman
- Michael O'Brian of Michigan, Platform Committee Chairman
- Trey Golmon of Mississippi, Ballot Access Committee Chairman
The meeting was called to order by the Chairman at 9:09 p.m. EDT.
The Chairman led the members in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Secretary gave the invocation.
Mr. Lovell moved the adoption of the Agenda as proposed by the Chairman. His motion was seconded by Mrs. Winters and adopted by unanimous vote.
The Chairman delivered a short report. The Keep and Bear Arms coalition has accepted the AFP as a member, and we are already listed on the web site. The Chairman has been visiting various representatives sympathetic to our cause and making contacts with them while in the nation's Capitol. He senses a growing disgust among grass-roots Republicans, with more Congressmen willing at least to meet with him to discuss our issues.
The Secretary reminded the members that he had previously circulated draft minutes of the May 6 meeting of the Operating Committee. He moved the adoption of the May 6 minutes. His motion was seconded by Mr. Lovell and adopted by unanimous vote.
The Treasurer reported that so far, the party has received orders for 32 Patriot Recruitment Kits.
The Chairman suggested that a National Committee meeting should be called. Mr. Lovell moved to call a National Committee meeting by teleconference for May 20 at 9 p.m. EDT. His motion was seconded by Mr. Jones and adopted by unanimous vote.
The Chairman opened a general discussion about how to encourage greater committee participation from the rank and file members of the party. He reminded the members that they had discussed this issue in the past, and that the same problem persisted, i.e., a remarkable amount of work was being done by a very small number of dedicated members at all levels of the party.
Mr. Lovell opined that the problem of participation is difficult to overcome, and that he was not sure of a solution, because only a small percentage of members ever become involved.
The Chairman reminded the members that many calls had been made for volunteers without much success. These calls have been made regularly via e-mail and at National Committee meetings. The National Committee members have been encouraged repeatedly to solicit help from their state party members.
Mr. Thomas said that sustained, repeated requests for volunteers should be made.
Mr. Hill suggested that a letter be sent to all state party members asking for volunteers. A discussion was had regarding the content of such an appeal.
Mr. Lovell remarked that it is difficult to get state party members to volunteer for state party activities and committees, much less for the national party. Mrs. McHugh suggested that experience on the various national committees might actually assist state party members in becoming more effective at the state level as volunteers.
Mr. Hey stated that the lack of participation may be caused by the fact that we have not provided new members with activities they feel comfortable and competent to perform, especially for persons who are new to political activism. We must find simple, non-threatening, confidence-building activities to engage new volunteers in so that they do not become frightened or discouraged. In addition, we should find a way to solicit ideas from people without requiring any commitment to volunteer at the beginning, with the hope that they will come along with us later as dedicated volunteers.
Mr. Hey suggested that members should be encouraged to distribute party literature in an anonymous manner to start with, for those who are very timid and new to political activity. Another idea he provided was assigning members to scour local newspapers and collect names of people who express ideas compatible with the party platform. These names could be developed into leads that could be pursued by the more outgoing members.
Mr. Jones suggested a "letter to the editor" campaign with letters being provided to members for their signature and submission to their local newspaper.
The "letter to the editor" idea was discussed in some detail, with members noting the organizational problems and the benefits of implementation.
Mr. O'Brian noted that state party growth seems to occur in fits and starts, and that dry spells in recruiting must be expected. It seems that we are currently in a dry spell.
Mr. Lovell expressed his concern that some National Committee members may not attend the meeting in Nashville, resulting in lack of a quorum at that important meeting. He raised the question whether the Operating Committee should invoke the provisions of Article III Section 5 of the Party Constitution, which requires National Committee members to affirm in writing their intention to continue to serve. The purpose of this process is to reduce the number of persons required to achieve quorum by removing members who are not serious about appearing at the meeting and serving as members.
After some discussion, Mr. Lovell moved that Article III Section 5 of the Party Constitution be invoked, and that the required notices be mailed to all National Committee members no later than May 30, 2003. His motion was seconded by Mr. Jones and adopted by unanimous vote.
Mrs. McHugh asked a question about accepting on-line credit card payments for convention banquet tickets. Mr. Hey stated it would be no problem to add links to the Convention page on the web site to promote the banquet and solicit on-line payments.
There being no further business, upon motion made by Mr. Thomas, seconded by Mr. Hey, and adopted by unanimous vote, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned.
John Pittman Hey
America First National Committee