CPAC, the leading conservative political gathering in the United States, hosted its annual convention in Orlando, Florida, giving the FAIRtax a forum to remind people that we are still alive and well. Eight FAIRtax-ers gathered at their own expense to attend the event. Board member Marty Sturmer received the prize for traveling the furthest. He flew in from California. Here we are:
Last year, fewer volunteers represented us: Bob Paxton, Ron, and Elaine Maiellaro. Because the exhibition area was far from the center of the action, and booths were expensive, the team decided last year and this year to forego a booth. Instead, the team walked around the central area with FAIRtax shirts, material, and recording equipment. Last year Ron and Bob succeeded in getting some Congressional candidates to sign the FAIRtax Candidate Pledge. This year we had more volunteers and followed the same plan. This year Congressional Candidate Ron Eller, MS-02, engaged with us. He signed the Candidate Pledge a short time ago.
We flashed the FAIRtax scroll and handed out stickers saying “FairTax Ends the IRS” until told to stop. Another group had planted cards on each chair in the main auditorium, but they had paid for the privilege.
FAIRtax Guys Bob Paxton and Bob Scarborough brought their recording equipment and scored some exciting interviews. One was with Congressional Candidate Alex Stovall, AZ-09, who signed the Pledge at the candidate boot camp in Las Vegas last April. Another standout interview was David Thomas Roberts, who bills himself as “The Most Audited Man in America.” Roberts says he did not seek that recognition. Elaine Maiellaro had made the contact with Roberts.
Our volunteers all had a great time and generally agreed that it was important for us to be there. Marty Sturmer valued the opportunity to fly East and meet FAIRtax people in person. He talked to attendees, some of whom had not heard of the FAIRtax. Marty joins with the majority and thinks we should have a booth next time, even if it means he would miss some of the speakers at the main event. This year the booths were closer to the center of the action than last year. Marty speaks approvingly of the non-partisan, though conservative, nature of CPAC.
FAIRtax Guy Bob Paxton loved the event and would go no matter what. Everybody wanted to play with his Rubik’s cubes. Bob notes that we would need more participants to staff a booth so that no one is tied down manning the booth all the time and everyone would have time to enjoy the conference and hear some of the speakers. Given the entrance fee of nearly $300 for each person, we need to start recruiting now. There is no separate ticket for exhibitors. Bob also noted that booths are not ideal for trying to attract political types and media, but they do let us give CPAC-goers handouts.
FAIRtax Guy Bob Scarborough, a radio man from WTOB in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had a press pass. The pass got Bob into areas closed off to the rest of us, including the box in the main auditorium where Donald Trump waved his finger with pejorative remarks. The Donald loves to attack the press. Bob commented that we need to discuss its style if we have a booth next year.
Laura McCue noted that a booth is one of the best ways to reach people, particularly the young people, and there was an abundance of young people at this CPAC. Bob Scarborough concurred with Laura about the presence of young people, noting that young people are not afraid of a revolutionary change in our tax system that the FAIRtax brings about.
Randy Fischer highlighted some of the drawbacks. The event was enormous, and the crowd was there for themselves or to stargaze. The exhibition area was more about who was giving away what.
Jim Bennett noted that we could have handouts at a booth. The stickers with the message "The FAIRtax Gets Rid of the IRS" were more enthusiastically received at CPAC than back home in New Jersey. Jim thought we were successful in reminding people in this group that the FAIRtax is still alive and did not expire with the retirement of Neal Boortz. He contacted the economist advisor to the Republican Congressional Candidate for the at-large district of Delaware.
On the way to see Jim’s 103-year-old Mom in Fort Myers, Florida, Jim and Christine stopped in Clearwater to update Steve and Paula Hayes. Steve is our Board Chair and President, and Paula, a CPA, keeps our books.
Please let us know what you think of having a presence next year at CPAC.
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