Senate Hearing Recap
By Nick Laughlin
June 17, 2015 | Blog
On June 17, No Labels leaders and citizen supporters headed to the U.S. Capitol to advocate for our message of bipartisan problem solving. The main event: a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the framework for a National Strategic Agenda.
It was an energizing and momentum-building day for No Labels and everyone involved. Here’s a recap:
No Labels supporters turned out in droves early to wait in line for the hearing. We had citizen supporters from 22 states show up, coming from as far as Texas and Arizona just to be involved in this momentous day.
There were so many people who wanted to be a part of the hearing they had to open up an over-flow room, and even that filled up quickly!
And we’re off…
It’s customary for witnesses to swear-in before offering testimony. Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) swears-in No Labels Co-Chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Lieberman, as well as No Labels Co-Founder Andrew Tisch and Andrea Hogan, CEO of Merchants Metals.
After some friendly banter, Sen. Johnson spoke about the importance of this hearing and the need for America to start facing the realities of our long-term problems. He lauded No Labels efforts in trying to bring both parties together to face those realities together. “When you spend a lot of time figuring out all the areas of agreement, you develop a relationship, you develop a level of trust,” Johnson said. “So when you finally come to those areas of disagreements, it’s just a whole lot easier to find common ground.”
In his testimony, No Labels Co-Chair Sen. Lieberman was unequivocal in stating that a National Strategic Agenda is the best way to overcome the political challenges of the day.
“I applaud the No Labels group for their efforts to push us to do the right thing,” said Ranking Democrat Tom Carper (DE). “It’s often said that, if you don’t try, you will always fail. I hope we take that to heart today as we think about how to tackle some of the tough issues we’ll be discussing today.”
Jon Huntsman addressed the importance of finding solutions to America’s problems in today’s political framework – working in the structure we have, not the one we want.
“America is headed for a bumpy and dangerous ride if we do not rise to meet these problems soon,” said No Labels Co-Founder Andrew Tisch. “That is why the National Strategic Agenda is such an essential idea. It identifies our most pressing problems. It sets realistic goals and timelines to solve them. And… it provides a rigorous process and a decision-making framework.”
Andrea Hogan, CEO of Merchants Metals, offered a business perspective on the need for goal-setting. “A federal government that adopts a plan – and demonstrates progress towards its goals – instills confidence in the population and, in turn, fuels new innovation, risk taking, and growth.”
Problem Solver Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) showed up to the hearing and discussed the need for more compromise in Washington. She also thanked No Labels for “elevating the discussion of solving problems at the national level.”
Also in attendance were Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).
We want to say a sincere thank you to Sens. Johnson and Carper. They did not need to hold a hearing on the National Strategic Agenda – they did it because they believe it’s an important conversation to have.
After the hearing, everyone headed to two luncheons – one with citizen supporters, and another to brief 30 representatives of the national media on No Labels’ progress and plan for 2016. Both were terrific successes.
Gov. Huntsman and Sen. Lieberman thanked the citizens for coming out to make sure their voices are heard.
We also unveiled our new glow-in-the-dark lawn signs at the citizen lunch! Here’s Linda Gibson, a citizen leader in Florida who has helped build a network of over 50 supporters in her community.
Here are Gov. Huntsman and Sen. Lieberman with some of our interns and college chapter leaders.
After the lunch, citizens went back to the Hill to meet with their representatives and senators and asked them to support our congressional resolutions. Here’s Sean Brown at Sen. Booker’s office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.