From Friday, October 21st through Sunday October 23rd 2011, Reform Party leaders and organizers from across the country gathered at the Merrell Institute in Bohemia, New York to meet fellow reformers, learn about current issues, and plan strategy for 2012.
Mr. JD West (MO) and Ms. Jaime Dives (UT) expressed it well. “We had a wonderful time,” Mr. West stated. “Thanks to everyone that put it on!” Ms. Dives agreed, saying that “Thanks to everybody! It was fun and so great to see you all!”
The event was two and a half days of learning how to stop the bipolar left-right gridlock that has gripped our nation, learn about current issues, get to know other Reformers and learn how to participate and be effective.
Attendees seemed to agree it was a tactical and strategic success as well as being enjoyable. Mr. Mark Kravis (CA) said that “A lightning bolt has struck politics as the Reform Party awakens. We should do more of these around the country.” Ms. Pat Benjamin (NJ), a founding Reform Party member, also saw significant value in the event, stating “There was plenty that went on and it was very educational. Two great speakers and workshops; planning sessions for the Reform Party; and possible candidates… there were lots of political ideas discussed and many points of view represented.”
Speakers included Retired Intelligence Officer Charles “Sam” Faddis who spoke on reforming the United States intelligence and national security policies and bureaucracies. After a decade of spending and the construction of huge new bureaucracies for improved national security, are we really any safer? Or have we just thrown money at the problem? It was heartening to hear straight talk from someone with his breadth of knowledge and experience.
Former Comptroller General and head of the GAO David W. Walker educated the attendees on his plan for restoring fiscal sanity to Washington and received positive reviews from the attendees. He painted a picture of a government spending headed toward disaster, but likewise provided real-world proposals that could halt that fall.
Mr. Bill Dopf (FL) was very pleased with the speakers. “What a great opportunity to meet and network with Party members,” he explained. “David Walker’s presentation was a highlight. His assessment of the true National Debt is a sobering reminder of how Democrats AND Republicans have failed America.” Ms. Benjamin agreed, “The speakers were great — David Walker for GAO head, Sam Faddis, former CIA operative…the speakers provided information you probably won’t hear anywhere else, partially because of the great questions asked by the attendees.”
In addition, there were workshops on:
Ms. Benjamin (NJ) had praise for the workshops as well. “[The] Workshops were informative.
There was plenty that went on and it was very educational…the workshops on party building (etc.) for state leaders, were something that was not conducted by the 90s Reform Party and should have been.”
We hope to repeat this event around the nation as requested by the attendees, so all Reform Party leaders, members, and friends have the same opportunity to meet new and old friends, learn about current issues, and improve their party building skills.