- Love American exceptionalism and revere America’s founding documents
- Believe individual Liberty best enables people to achieve
- Believe government’s mission is limited to the preservation of liberties
- Believe in equal opportunity not equal outcomes
- Believe the personal and economic decisions of the people trump the government’s best attempts to provide economic security
Purpose and Goals:
The PA Coalition for Responsible Government was formed to be a vehicle for ordinary citizens to be effective agents of change to promote free enterprise, limited government and the empowerment of the individual. We provide information to members and associated grassroots groups in order to keep them informed on pertinent subjects and provide email action alerts to members with suggested courses of action on breaking issues.
The PA Coalition was formed one cold night in December of 2008 when three housewives stood huddled together in the street in front of their homes with light snow falling. They talked about how frightened they were for what they perceived as a great danger looming for their country. Barack Obama had just been elected along with majorities in both houses of Congress and they clearly foresaw the leftward shift towards greater Big-Government control of their lives and those of all Americans. It was decided that night that “something” had to be done to change this dangerous course towards Marxism. That “something” turned out to be the Pennsylvania Coalition for Responsible Government.
The speaker for our first meeting (and a charter member of the PA Coalition) was Matt Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation. Matt and the Commonwealth Foundation have been great supporters of the Coalition and we greatly appreciate their support for our efforts. The Coalition moved away from holding monthly meetings and became an informational hub, providing original political commentary and summaries to our members.
The launch of our website on September 12th, 2010 culminated our vision of becoming a central informational source for grassroots groups in Pennsylvania. Our regional map of Pennsylvania identifies all grassroots groups that support the principle of limited government. Our goal for this portion of the site is to allow a person to easily identify a grassroots group in their area and serve to increase membership for all of the groups.
1. The PA Coalition for Responsible Government. The name implies that government – either in this moment, or inherently – is prone to irresponsibility. Can you speak to this? What motivated the founding of your group, and what are your primary activities?
The lessons of history demonstrate time and again that government is inherently irresponsible. Mr. Madison said it best in Federalist 51 “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed: and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” We are motivated to limit government to its just powers with the consent of the governed and then to oblige the government to control itself.
Like many other recently formed grassroots groups, we were created in response to the election of Barack Obama, a Democrat take-over of Congress and a very real perception that our Nation was on a direct path to Marxism and Big Government. Our main goals are the promotion and advancement of the principles of limited government. We provide information and original political commentary to members, including more than 50 grassroots groups across Pennsylvania.
2. Pennsylvania is unique among states as it’s one of the few commonwealths in the nation. Can you speak to what this designation means versus a typical state government?
Four states use the official title of commonwealth rather than state.
Constitutionally speaking, commonwealths and states are identical. However there is an important historical distinguishing difference. The word commonwealth identifies a nation or body governed by the people, not some king or tyrant. In fact, the time in British history during which Cromwell and Parliament ruled instead of a king is known as the Commonwealth Period. So when it came time for the American colonies to throw off the yokes of oppression and tea taxes and the excessive overreach of government, the three hotbeds of revolution—Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—were most eager to signal the difference in government. Perhaps remembering the Commonwealth Period, they declared themselves commonwealths. Today, it is a symbol of our proud heritage.
3. How are the politics of Pennsylvania’s different regions (Pittsburgh versus Philadelphia, the Northwest and Erie versus the Northeast and Scranton) going to impact the senate and gubernatorial elections? Are voters everywhere looking for the same things, or do you expect certain regions to matter more than others this year?
Often voters rally around the larger state issues of taxation and spending. However, politicians (especially incumbents) attempt to rally the voters around regional issues. In 2010 the larger issues of taxes, jobs, government spending, corruption, and competency appear to be trumping regional issues. This may be the influence of new grassroots organizations, the fact that both gubernatorial candidates are from the same region of the state, or that there are no incumbents in the senate and gubernatorial races. The only major regional issues to emerge surround development and taxation of the Marcellus natural gas industry.
We see the major cultural differences to be a stark difference between the overwhelmingly Democrat urban areas and the generally conservative Republican-leaning suburban and rural areas of the state.
4. What differentiates your group from the myriad advocacy and political groups already on the scene? Aren’t you all working toward the same goal?
We educate and advocate on behalf of the principle of responsible limited government, which can be applied to all issues. Responsible government is when government exercises its “just power” that is limited so that government does not trample the rights of citizens. Without “responsible government”, a class of citizens who are not politically connected may have their rights infringed.
We are different than most groups in that we view our mission as mainly informational, providing information to members and to other grassroots groups across the state. We currently send information out to 55 grassroots groups in Pennsylvania. This information includes original research and commentary. In addition, we organize and advocate for political activism.
We encourage our members to be investigative journalists. Just recently, the PA Coalition was responsible for an expose of a no-bid contract between the state (Rendell) and Anadarko Petroleum which cost the taxpayers between $30 and $50 million. The Coalition filed “Right to Know” requests of the Governor and several top officials to uncover this abuse of authority which was featured in a front page report in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
Are we working toward the same goal? For the most part, “yes”. Those goals are:
- smaller, more efficient government
- radical reduction in government spending at the local, state and federal levels
- lower personal and corporate taxes
- less regulation
- strong military
- strong adherence to constitutionally limited government, with particular emphasis on the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution
5. Describe your membership. Specifically, what does a typical member or supporter look like in terms of background, interests, career, political history/involvement?
Our membership is diverse in terms of background, interest, and career. Members include stay at home parents, blue collar workers, business and technical professionals, and business owners. While some members have been elected officials and have been engaged in politics for decades others are new to political involvement. All have gained through life experience and study the realization that “limited government is the solution to the human condition.”
Our goal is to empower individuals and grassroots groups so that they can help to elect candidates that support our vision of limited government.