In recent years, the United States has witnessed a concerning trend of centralization of power, primarily concentrated in Washington, D.C. This shift has raised valid concerns among citizens about the waning representation of local interests. Amid this backdrop, a promising Political Action Committee called the R.E.D PAC (Rural Economic Development Political Action Committee) is leading a charge to re-center the focus back on local communities. By dedicating its efforts to supporting local candidates who prioritize the protection of private property rights, support increased economic development opportunities, and promote fiscal responsibility, the R.E.D PAC seeks to support local candidates and pave the way for a more prosperous future for America.
The Growing Centralization of Federal Power:
Over the years, the concentration of power within the Federal Government has become a troubling reality, resulting in limited representation for local communities. This shift has sparked concerns over the erosion of democratic values and the influence of special interests on the decisions that affect the everyday lives of the American people. As a consequence, citizens have grown disillusioned and disconnected from their elected officials. Addressing this issue is crucial to restoring the core principles of democracy and ensuring that the voices of every citizen are heard and respected.
R.E.D PAC: Advocating for Local Candidates and Values:
In response to increased centralization, the R.E.D PAC has emerged with an innovative approach: support candidates who champion private property rights, fiscal responsibility, and government transparency to promote local economies and highlight the benefits of rural economic development.
Jackson Keith, the director of the PAC, explained, “When we surveyed the political landscape, we identified a yawning gap. There is a disproportionate focus on national races and the heated rhetoric that surrounds them. However, real change begins at the grassroots level, within our towns, counties, and municipalities. R.E.D. P.A.C. was created to fill this void, channeling resources and support to conservative leaders who are ready to roll up their sleeves and work in our local offices.”
The R.E.D PAC places a strong emphasis on endorsing local candidates who are dedicated to:
- Actively working towards fortifying private property rights as a cornerstone of individual freedom and prosperity.
- Increasing transparency at the local level, promoting accountability, combating corruption, and ensuring that the government truly serves the people it represents.
- Acknowledging the significance of rural communities and their contributions to our nation’s economy.
“Our candidates bring a unique perspective to national issues, advocating for policies that directly impact their communities,” said Keith.
R.E.D PAC Methodology:
To effectively address these concerns—and to remain nimble—R.E.D PAC has instituted a two-tiered ranking process for vetting potential candidates of interest. They overlay this process with a proprietary tracker. The tracker showcases all major utility-scale wind and solar projects currently under consideration (or in permitting) throughout the country. The decision team, including Keith, makes Tier One and Tier Two recommendations on prospective targeted candidates based on the following criteria:
- Likelihood of Success: In identifying candidates, we will focus on individuals who are in the best position to win with key support. Our team has an acute awareness and understanding of electoral trends.
- Efficient Spending: Having the greatest impact with our funds means spreading our limited resources efficiently across our footprint. We will prioritize regions and communities that allow us the greatest capacity to spend with the most DVC.
- Impact: Many of our local champions represent boards that are friendly and supportive of development. However, while these individuals are natural allies, the resources expended by R.E.D are typically used to retain boards with a narrow majority, gain ground on boards with narrow minorities, or even to flip boards to be more pro-development.
- Deployment: Candidates who represent areas with “near-term” development opportunities will be most heavily prioritized. Our goal is to demonstrate the viability of using voter contact tools to support friends of development, while also ensuring these funds support short-term opportunities.
- Upward Mobility: The final piece of the ranking process will be selecting candidates with the highest likelihood to continue their political careers at the state or federal levels.
Clean Energy, Local Control, and the Path Forward:
In 2022, a Democratic-led Congress made significant strides in advancing clean energy and infrastructure through two major spending bills: the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act. However, amidst this, concerns have arisen regarding potential resistance from conservative Governors and policymakers who fear the impact of these expenditures on the national debt. The opposition likely arises from the prevailing divisive political climate, which incessantly seems to seek more centralized control. As political polarization intensifies, this “us versus them” mentality has permeated state and county government institutions across the nation.
Nevertheless, for the Inflation Reduction Act to achieve its objectives, all stakeholders, including political leaders, funding entities, NGOs, and industries, must recognize that its success relies on broad-based acceptance in conservative regions of the US, often referred to as “Trump Country.” The effectiveness of the Act and broader efforts towards decarbonization hinge on finding common ground in these areas…
“And we are determined to bridge that gap,” stated Keith.