March CEO Update

There’s a place for you here at ALEC. A place to learn, to achieve, and to grow

Alexander Pope once wrote that hope springs eternal. A fitting sentiment heading into March with fresh policy victories under our belt and the promise of more right around the corner. But while there is hope and promise in our future, I am deeply concerned by the chaos at our door.

In February, I watched in frustration as protestors blocked highways, fanatics glued themselves to the streets, and vandals attempted to desecrate the U.S. Constitution in the National Archives. These are not righteous acts of free speech. These are criminal acts that disrupt free enterprise, delay medical emergencies, and deface cherished symbols of democracy.

Meanwhile, retail theft continues to plague American businesses, as many elected officials have neglected to restore the rule of law. Our crowning American cities are dying because of the decisions made around prosecution and the definitions of criminal behavior. There was even a video of Gov. Gavin Newsom telling California mayors about witnessing a theft at Target. After the cashier told Newsom they couldn’t stop the thief because of the governor, he angrily asked to speak to a manager to set her straight.

Some people fail to acknowledge how their actions (or inactions) affect the rest of society. Another perfect example sits squarely upon our southern border.

I was stunned to watch a reporter asking a group of twenty or so military-aged men fresh from an illegal border crossing about their country of origin: China. Are they looking for freedom? Or are they here to disrupt our way of life? Hard to say. But with everything we know about the CCP’s influence in the U.S., the odds are not in our favor.

President Biden could put an end to all the madness right now, especially after finally seeing it firsthand. Sadly, politics have gotten in the way. And that’s our real problem today. Thankfully, ALEC and our members offer a different vision: to preserve our freedoms, protect our business community, and oppose nefarious actors on the global stage.

As J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on CNBC earlier this year, it’s a mistake to dismiss people and policies just because they are from another party. As the nation’s largest nonpartisan organization of state legislators, ALEC isn’t in the business of playing favorites. If you support the principles of limited government, free markets, and federalism, then you’ve got a home here at ALEC.

As our team traveled the country – and globe — over the past month to Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Germany, I’m pleased to report that our message is resonating, and the ALEC principles are alive and well. So well that we’ve already seen Education Freedom legislation pass both the Tennessee Senate and the Alabama House, meaning our 25 by ‘25 initiative to bring education freedom to 25 states by 2025 is off and running!

Over the past few weeks, our staff also released new research, including the 6th edition of Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) Liabilities and the Labor Reform Policy: 50 State Factsheets. Jake Morabito made a media splash with his latest examination of artificial intelligence regulations and deepfakes, while Gretchen Baldau’s editorial on Occupational Licensing Reform appeared in papers up and down the California coast. Andrew Handel was interviewed by Governing on the launch of our Education Freedom Alliance, and Jonathan Williams detailed Iowa’s opportunity to be our 10th state without a personal income tax in the pages of National Review.

We’ve entered a world where people hesitate to do the right thing. Yes, there was a time, during the days of Reagan, Clinton, and even Bush the 2nd, when Americans would call out injustice wherever it appeared. We did it because it was the right thing to do. The American thing to do. Then, sometime during the last decade or so, we flinched. Stepped back. Bit our tongues and looked the other way. Reluctant to speak for fear of losing our place in the world. That’s not the America I remember, and it’s not the America I’m leaving my grandchildren.

I’m pleased to say that ALEC members are taking a stand against the Left’s sacred cows. Led by South Carolina State Rep. Bill Taylor, the “ESG Pension Protection Act,” which followed the ALEC model to keep politics out of pensions, was signed into law by Gov. McMaster in February. Last year, we witnessed ALEC leaders across multiple states like Arkansas and Montana do the same.

At ALEC, this is what we do. We stand up for our principles, our friends, and our freedom. We do this thanks to an incredible staff, engaged partners, and a legion of motivated members proudly serving more than 60 million Americans throughout the United States. But don’t take my word for it, come see yourself this July at our Annual Meeting in Denver. We’ve lined up big events and big names, and we’ll discuss new model policies sure put our country back on the path to prosperity.

There’s a place for you here at ALEC. A place to learn, to achieve, and to grow. Come. Join us. And make the most of your March.