ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Americans for Economic Freedom, a new conservative economic group, made its official debut today with speeches from its CEO Jeff Miller, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Marc Rodriguez, chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the Embassy Suites of the St. Charles Convention Center.
Miller and Perry say the group’s main initiative is to assess to pros and cons of the economy on state-by-state basis.
“We know that Washington D.C. is not going to solve these problems. We must look to the states,” Miller says. “There are 50 models that serve as examples of what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to creating an environment that promotes job creation.”
Miller says donors are helping to fund the 501(c)(4), but wouldn’t list contributors. He did say August Busch III and Newt Gingrich are on the board of directors.
Miller also says money the group raises will be only utilized for media purposes to promote its message through paid, earned and social media. AFEF won’t take stance in elections, he adds, and its purpose is educational.
“Will AFEF run TV ads on a local level on a national level to have a conversation with the American people? The answer is quite likely ‘yes,’” Miller says. “Will we build that around individual issues going on in the states? Unlikely but it’s possible.”
Perry echoed Miller’s statement, saying that Washington D.C. culture is “broken” and doesn’t have the ability for change. He continued to call state capitols “laboratories for innovation that are engaged in the experiment of democracy.”
Perry listed several governors as examples to follow including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“These governors have one thing in common — we know we can’t spend our way to prosperity but we know you can grow your way to it,” Perry says. “Americans for Economic Freedom will shine a spotlight on policies that create individual freedom, foster entrepreneurship and lead to economic expansion.”
Perry says these states — and his home state, Texas — are positive role models for others to follow.
“We start that movement today from the midsection of America — Missouri,” Perry says. “This is a battleground state when it comes to electoral politics, but the real battleground is for the health of our nation and it revolves around the fiscal and econ issues of our time. Let us begin restoring our nation to good standing.”
When asked if he will run for President in 2016, Perry says he “doesn’t have any idea” and will make that decision in about a year.
“I’m the Governor of Texas for the next 15 months,” he adds. “That’s going to continue to be my focus but I’m pretty good at multi-tasking. I’m going to travel across the country and hopefully push this debate and push this discussion.”
Brittany Ruess was a reporter for The Missouri Times and the SEMO Times, and a graduate of Webster University.