PPP Event provides new GOP Primary Candidate insights

The joint Presidential Preference Profile Event between Palm Beach County Tea Party and South Florida 912 was held at the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. We’d like to give special thanks to the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach for allowing us to use these beautiful facilities, and for making the arrangements. Thanks especially to Jimmy Scroggins, Senior Pastor and Linda Thornton, Senior Pastor Assistant and all who were involved. And thanks to Joy Stone, member of the congregation, and a member of both South Florida 912 and Palm Beach County Tea Party for making the initial contacts for us.

The event was intended to inform the grassroots activist members of both groups about the candidates in the upcoming January 31st Florida GOP Presidential Preference Primary, and to provide them with additional information to motivate them to join the campaigns for the final 3 weeks prior to the primary.

Pam Wohlschlegel, Chairman and County Coordinator for Palm Beach County Tea Party and Florida Chair for Tea Party Patriots. introduced David DiCrescenzo, Publisher/Editor in Chief of The Patriots Press and long-time South Florida 912 member, who led us in a heart-felt, moving invocation. Then Jason Shields, another long-time South Florida 912 member and leader, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pam asked for a show of hands on how many undecideds were in the audience. Over 60% percent raised their hands. She spoke about the hard work ahead and how both PBCTP and South Florida 912 plan to work together to achieve success in 2012. Cooperation, Collaboration and Communication were to be the hallmarks of 2012!

Pam turned the podium over to Shannon Armstrong, Founder of South Florida 912.  Shannon asked the attendees how many went to the first 9/12 March on DC in 2009. Several in the audience had. She asked us to consider how much intensity we felt then and in the 2010 election campaign and did we feel that now? If not – we have to look within ourselves and regain that intensity as we head towards this most important election in 2012. She then introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Brian Mudd, Program Director 1290 WJNO & 1230 WBZT Financial Analyst & Co-host for The Morning Rush.

Brian also spoke motivationally – encouraging all of us to listen to the candidates’ positions and to pick our candidate, but to all get behind the eventual winner to ensure a win in 2012. He asked Fred Scheibl, long-time member of South Florida 912 and co-founder of Palm Beach County Tea Party, to explain what the evening was about. Fred gave the ground rules.

Each of the candidate representatives were to have 5 minutes to discuss their candidates values on:

  • Leadership – what makes a good leader, who they admire
  • Character – which attributes of character are most important, which guide their lives
  • Worldview – what is America’s role in the next 20 years, what are our top three economic problems, top three foreign policy challenges?
  • Quality of Solutions – What is the major advantages of your tax plan, your doctrine on foreign interventions, your approach to the size of government
  • Governing style – How will you get things done? How will you “change Washington?” How will you differ from Barack Obama? From George Bush?

The next portion of the agenda was to discuss Policy Positions and each surrogate could pick from any of the following areas and speak for another 5 minutes:  Tax Reform, Spending and Deficit, Size of Government, 10th Amendment, Health Care, Regulations, Trade/China, UN/NATO/EU, Arab Spring, Role of the Military.

Finally – the reps would get 3 minutes each to wrap up and solicit volunteers, after which Brian would moderate 10 minutes of questions.

Fred explained that the PPP Voters’ Guide was a combination of responses provided by each of the campaigns coupled with the research done by several Palm Beach County Tea Party and South Florida 912 members. The complete guide is 44 pages long, but the 4 page summary is also available online. Thanks to all of the members who participated – in particular Alex Berry, Richard Bock, Joe Burge, Barry Carson, Mary Farrell, Laura Henning, Gary Summers and Kim Winker.

Brian then introduced the candidate surrogates:

For Newt Gingrich: Tami Donnally, PBC Co-Chairman
For Ron Paul: Francisco Rodriguez, PBC Co-Coordinator
For Rick Perry: Craig Briscoe, Southwest FL Regional Director
For Mitt Romney: Fran Hancock, PBC Co-Chairman
For Rick Santorum: Starla Brown, Southeast FL Regional Coordinator

Each of the surrogates were volunteer activists with extensive experience. All should be congratulated on the amount of work they put into preparing for the Event and in their outstanding detailed and eloquent descriptions of their candidates Worldview and Policies. Thanks to all of you! Well done!

Ed Fulop – South Florida 912 Project organizer and long-time member served as our time-keeper. The representatives had clearly timed their presentations and most finished well-within their allotted timeframes!

Mid-way through the presentations, Brian pointed out the quality, depth and caliber of the positions of any and all of the GOP candidates when contrasted with the current administration. We should be proud to support any of these folks!

After the Q&As, Fred gave the current results of the member Surveys from both the South Florida 912 and Palm Beach County Tea Party websites. When tallied together, the tied overall winners were Congressman Paul and Senator Santorum. The survey remains on the websites and you are welcome to continue to take and/or modify your ratings of the candidates.

Finally, Jason Shields announced the 50:50 winner and the meeting concluded. Many stayed to talk with the various candidates representatives.

Thanks to all who participated. Please feel free to distribute the links to the complete Voters’ Guide and to hand-out/print-out the short version to all whom you think may benefit from it. We want informed voters at the upcoming Primary and hope these tools will assist you in your decisions.

Some pictures from Iris:

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