‘Launching Pad for a National Movement’: Freedom Caucus Expands to State Legislatures with Georgia Organization

Greg Dolezal
Greg Dolezal for Senate

ATLANTA, Georgia — The House Freedom Caucus is now no longer just operating in the nation’s capital, but launched the first of many state-level freedom caucuses here in Georgia’s state capitol building on Tuesday morning.

Gathered with more than 50 state legislators from around America from at least 26 different states, a bicameral group of Georgia legislators from both the state House and the state Senate announced the formation of the Georgia Freedom Caucus. The group is officially linked to the U.S. House Freedom Caucus, and to a sprawling network of planned freedom caucuses in state legislatures nationwide that will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.

“I want to thank the members and future members of state Freedom Caucuses all over the country who have joined us this morning,” Georgia State Sen. Greg Dolezal, a Republican who will chair the Georgia group, said when he spoke from the podium in the state Capitol. “I just had the opportunity to meet some from South Dakota, Missouri, and even found one from my home state of Illinois which is in desperate need of a movement like this perhaps as much as any other state. We are honored to be the launching pad this morning for a nationwide movement.”

State Rep. Philip Singleton, who local sources told Breitbart News was a driving force in the creation of the group, said that there is no better time than now for state legislatures to get even more engaged in battling the federal government. Singleton said in remarks that his hope is the Georgia Freedom Caucus, like the House Freedom Caucus in Washington, serves as “the conscience of the Republican Party” and helps “usher in an era where conservative principles survive past campaign season and make it into law.”

“Events of the last year have highlighted just how important fighting for liberty and limited government is at the state level,” Singleton said. “Virginia, New Jersey, and the recent Biden administration challenges in Texas show that real change cannot only be left to the few true conservatives in Washington. The most important change, the most lasting change, and the greatest check on federal government overreach must come from the grassroots at the state level. Today it is my privilege and my honor to announce the creation of the Georgia Freedom Caucus. The Georgia Freedom Caucus is a first in the nation bicameral caucus of limited government and constitutional conservatives united in the cause of liberty and a direct relationship with our partners in the House Freedom Caucus.”

Like the U.S. House Freedom Caucus, the Georgia Freedom Caucus will not publish a public list of members’ names—but members are welcome to announce and discuss their participation in and membership of the group. Several of them, including Singleton and Dolezal as well as state Sen. Burt Jones and state Rep. Charlice Byrd, did so on Tuesday morning announcing their membership in the group.

“Not only is this organization necessary to push toward freedom, but to push against a culture of cancellation that is spreading across many states and our country, this cancel culture as we call it,” Jones, who is running for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia with Trump’s endorsement, said. “We experience that here as conservative Republican legislators because we spoke out or spoke up against what we call the majority which is our party affiliates. I think it’s a sad day when your elected officials, the very people put here to represent constituents across this state, can’t freely voice their opinions in these hollow hallways. The Freedom Caucus, I’m proud to be a part of this organization and I’m proud to be nominated and accepted, because it is something if we do not watch out and we do not push back then one day all of our freedoms will be taken away and I think it’s important not only for this organization to thrive but to grow here and I think it will.”

The Georgia Freedom Caucus is the first of what will be a series of similar organizations nationwide, connected to each other and the House Freedom Caucus by a group called the State Freedom Caucus Network. This new venture is headed by its president Andy Roth, the former Club for Growth foundation executive director.

States with lawmakers at the rollout here in Atlanta include Wyoming, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Texas, Alaska, Idaho, and Nevada. U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the current and outgoing chairman of the U.S. House Freedom Caucus who will soon be succeeded by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), told Breitbart News in an exclusive phone interview ahead of the event that he believes these groups will spread through state legislatures like wildfire in the coming months—and that they will be active on every major issue that comes before these chambers coast to coast.

“It’s a broad-based approach because we’re dealing with a broad-based attack,” Biggs said. “People I’ve been talking to since I’ve been back in Arizona this weekend have been saying there is a broad range of issues and matters where people’s individual rights and freedoms are under attack. The states also face that. So that’s why it’s an across the board approach. The second thing is we would love it to be in all states but certainly not all states are perhaps ready for this. They might be ready, but we don’t have the bandwidth to reach every state yet. But we do—we have reached out to many, and I think the number of states where state legislatures have expressed interest in participating is I think well over 20. We think it’s going to be huge and we think it’s going to be a big game changer. The other thing I would say too which is important is it provides this kind of communication nexus with the grassroots organizations throughout the country who can tap into what HFC is doing and knowing at the federal level as well as at the state level. We can make this a pretty powerful tool to preserve this nation.”

Biggs said that there are several reasons for the creation of these state-level freedom caucuses.

“We decided that there’s a number of reasons for this,” Biggs said. “Number one, there needs to be some more cooperation between like-minded folks both at the state and local levels as well as at the federal level. So this seemed like a great way to do that. Number two, we know that in the state legislatures a lot of conservative voices face an uphill battle and they need more information so we want to make sure we provide information and support wherever we can. Similarly, we need to make sure we are in touch with the states and the local jurisdictions so we get information and feedback on how the feds are impacting them. The third thing, and this is perhaps the most important thing, is a lot of us look at it this way—yes, Congress is important but the most important way we are going to save this country and take it back off the brink that we see that Biden has tried to push us off of is to have a restoration of federalism. That means that the states need to have their prerogatives recognized under the Constitution as a vertical check to the federal government and be buttressed. We thought this would be a great way of doing that and providing encouragement to do that to restore federalism and make things stronger. That’s really what kicked off the plans to put this initiative together.”

Mark Meadows, who served as the second chairman of the House Freedom Caucus after its founding chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) stepped aside and before he went on to serve as now former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, added that these groups could serve as pipeline of talent up to the federal level for conservatives looking to recruit exciting young talented candidates of the future.

“As we see the conservative movement more broadly, many times it is the fight in the state legislatures that make all the difference in the world,” Meadows told Breitbart News. “Having true conservatives and freedom fighters that are willing to stand up for the forgotten man and woman in their states is something critically important to the support especially since much of the legislation that seems to impact people is moving forward at a state level as opposed to the federal level. The second benefit to this is really as vacancies become open for House seats it becomes very apparent when you have these state chapters of Freedom Caucuses who the real advocates who are going to bring values from their states to Washington, DC, and not just go along to get along and become a swamp creature. We see it will make a huge impact in terms of conservative movement legislation in the states but the secondary component is potentially identifying candidates for higher office if a vacancy occurs in the federal congressional or Senate races in their states.”

Meadows is one of two Freedom Caucus members to go on to serve as a White House Chief of Staff to Trump—the other was now former Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC). Other Freedom Caucus alumni have gone on to big things as well, as Florida’s current Gov. Ron DeSantis is an alumnus and now Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) is an alumna from her time in the House. Meadows in a phone interview compared these state-level Freedom Caucuses to a farm team in pro baseball, arguing that when the moment is right some of these talented state legislators may called up to the major leagues in the U.S. Congress to fight there and some may even go beyond that into the U.S. Senate or governor’s mansions or into senior levels of a future GOP administration down the line.

“We’re hitting the gas pedal and more importantly we want to let the people across the country know that when you stand on principle and do what you said you would do and you actually work hard for the American people, you get governors like Gov. Ron DeSantis and you get presidents like President Donald J. Trump,” Meadows said. “In doing so, probably the key component I see is you kind of have a farm team so to speak of future leaders whether they be in Congress or some future administration actually working on behalf of the American people.”

Biggs agreed, saying this Congress more members than ever are in the Freedom Caucus with at least 10 new members.

“That was another part of why we were doing this too,” Biggs said. “We know that Congress is important. State governors races are important. U.S. Senate is important. Down ballot tickets are all important. This allows for a bench to be cultivated of people who have proven track records, who have proven that they are conservatives and understand what this nation is about and the foundation of this nation in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all the way back to the Magna Carta. They understand who we are and what we need to do to preserve the nation. So, when you talk about it you’re exactly right: This is an opportunity. We had 10 newly-elected members of Congress join the House Freedom Caucus—10. Our alumni, as you mentioned, we’re fighting in a division far higher than you would expect for a group that’s been around for just about five and a half or six years now. That’s because it’s dynamic and really powerful. We’ve had some great alumni come out and do some great things around the country. We anticipate that will continue but we also want to fill the next generation. When you talk about young people coming up, as I’ve gone around the country I’ve found we have some tremendous conservative voices who are very young and that have interesting and dynamic experiences and they’re going to come in and make a difference in Congress and make a difference in their state legislatures. That’s exciting because we need voices from all generations to really put this pandora back into the box.”

Interestingly, this event had been in the works for some time and many of the U.S House Freedom Caucus members had planned to travel to Atlanta to help roll it out—but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called votes on Democrats’ partisan measure to hold none other than Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the slanted January 6 Committee. As Breitbart News has reported, polling shows most Americans believe the committee is a partisan endeavor by Pelosi and her comrades—and when it is revealed to respondents that Pelosi handpicked the “Republicans” she allowed to be on the committee, even more believe it is a partisan sham. So, instead of making it here, a lot of the U.S. House members stayed in Washington to fight Pelosi’s partisan committee targeting Meadows—but Meadows himself is still expected to appear at a gala Tuesday evening in Atlanta and perhaps some members of the Freedom Caucus will make it down for that.

Most conservatives gathered for this here in Atlanta do not think it is any accident Pelosi called this particular vote on this particular day—a sign she is worried about the potential impact of a network of conservative leaders in the U.S. Congress working with likeminded folks in legislatures nationwide. “Nancy Pelosi does not do anything by accident,” one conservative leader here told Breitbart News. “This is proof she is very worried about this project’s possibility, which is likely to be seismic in nature if executed properly.”

Meadows, in his interview with Breitbart News, added that state legislatures are from where much of the pushback on the Biden agenda is coming given that the U.S. Congress is currently controlled by Democrats.

“The most significant efforts that have been made on election integrity, on vaccine mandates, and even on the border and some of the Biden administration overreach have all come from the states—either from state legislatures or state attorneys general working in tandem with America First Legal and groups like them,” Meadows said. “We see this as the real battleground on how you can make a huge difference. The excitement level on this kickoff in Georgia is real. We’ve got leaders and legislature members coming from all over the country because they see this as our last hope of putting up a real bulwark of protection between government overreach and the rights and freedoms of freedom-loving Americans.”

Biggs said the goal of these state-level groups is to help execute on the broader conservative vision and put points on the scoreboard for the right against the left.

“We’re movement-oriented, we’re platform-oriented, and we’re promise-oriented. When we make promises, we better do everything we can to keep them,” Biggs said. “If we can’t keep those promises, it better be understood by everyone that we busted our nut trying to do it because the bottom line is we need our leadership to recognize that when we keep our promises then the American people trust us and believe in us and we can get more things done. We can get a more robust economy. We can get more people back to work. We can get people the freedom to worship as they want to, when they want to, where they want to. We can allow freedom of movement. We can be the true city on a hill that Ronald Reagan talked about—that light that’s out there for freedom lovers all over the world to aspire to be like. Sometimes, though, our leaders forget some of those most important aspirations that are contained in our platform or the promises we made and then we will step in and remind them of that—and that needs to happen, probably, throughout the country. I served in the state legislature for a good period of time and there were moments when I know my leadership was very frustrated with me but I would—I think it’s very important that are colleagues at the state level and locally know that we’re together and we want to stand up for the party platform. The reason we are Republicans is because we believe in that platform. We also make promises and we want to stand up and support those people who believe in those promises that are consistent with the ideals and values that we share.”

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