- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2021

The House Freedom Caucus plans to broaden its reach into state legislatures to provide conservative policymakers with resources and tools to push their legislative agendas.

The State Freedom Caucus Network will be led by longtime GOP strategist Andy Roth and House Freedom Caucus Executive Director Justin Ouimette, and has the direct support of the House Freedom Caucus.

The State Freedom Caucus Network is intended to give support to conservative state lawmakers who have limited resources compared to what is available at the national level, a senior GOP aide close to the Freedom Caucus told The Washington Times.

“There are people or people in states that want the same thing here in Congress. The Freedom Caucus exists to speak for the millions of Americans that feel like this place has forgotten them,” Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who was recently elected the new chair of the Freedom Caucus and assumes the role Jan. 1, said in an interview. “It stands for transparency, fairness in government and constitution. They want the same thing in the states.”

The House Freedom Caucus can help provide state-level lawmakers resources such as staffing, communication, strategy, tactics and logistics that give them the space to deliver their message more effectively while pushing back on their own leadership from time to time.

House Republican leadership has not spoken to Freedom Caucus staff about the new program, according to the GOP aide.

Much of the collaboration includes key caucus members in Congress repeating their messages, retweeting their tweets, visiting their regions to promote what they’re doing, appearing in media with them and writing op-eds in their local newspapers.

“All of that obviously matters at the federal level, but there’s a lot more noise to filter out at the state level when you’re in a fight,” the GOP aide said.

 “Everything can focus on that, and you know, with the Freedom Caucus brand, the hope is not only do you know that they’re serious about following through on doing what they said they were going to do, but that they’re going to have the backup to stick around, politically and carry out that mission.”

The House Freedom Caucus sees the expansion into the states as an opportunity to pick up on issues to campaign on during the 2022 midterms. The HFC wants to zero in on federal money that funds critical race theory training, vouchers for school choice and resisting vaccine mandates.

“It’s definitely a hope that we have enough states that push on a single issue that we can show. It’s not just sort of grassroots to federal, but that every level of conservative Republican is crying out for a policy fix,” the GOP aide said.

As of now, it is unknown which states the State Freedom Caucus Network will launch. However, a slew of state lawmakers likely to be part of the new initiative could very well become a farm team for the next congressional class of House Freedom Caucus members.

The HFC sees this new state network as a way to show off new up-and-coming conservative political talent who will be pre-vetted if they decide to run for higher office one day.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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