Interview by Peter Gemma, Co-Editor of The American Constitutionist
|Sam Pew is the Director of Sales and Marketing for a company specializing in consumer-packaged products primarily grocery and frozen food products. He serves as 2nd Vice Chairman of the Utah Constitution Party and Western States Area Co-Chairman.|
Question: Sam, how did you come to the Constitution Party for a political home?
Answer: I was involved in the GOP as a County Delegate for several years. Like many who leave the GOP, it was more like the GOP left me because of their inability to stand for anything. As the Republicans moved further to the center on social, financial, and moral issues, the further to the right I moved. Once they no longer protected and aggressively encouraged need for God in our lives, I knew it was time to leave. The GOP seems to feel no different about the Constitution regarding its origin of being God given verses Government given, than the Democratic Party. The GOP seems to look for ways to work around the Constitution verses supporting its percepts straight up and taking action accordingly. The final straw for me was being convinced that many of our Congressional and Senatorial representatives in Utah (Senator Mike Less excluded), are not supportive of Utah and traditional US values and morals. My vote could no longer be given to the “lessor of evils.” I came to the conclusion that a true vote of conscience is never a wasted vote.
I would say that I likely spent a couple of years doing my research, attending meetings and communicating with party members. Then I started listening to YouTube speeches by party leadership like Howard Phillips, Jim Clymer, and other speakers at conventions. I must say that Jim Noorlander’s run for Congress a few years ago was instructional and the YouTube information still on the web from that run also influenced me considerably. I also listened to Scott Bradley a time or two and started to be moved to give serious consideration of making a change.
Again, it was the consistency in message, effort and commitment that I felt was more concrete than the GOP. Our party membership in general sticks to the Seven Pillars of the party in their messages and doesn’t change the message. I love attending meetings that start with a simple prayer of thanks and help for inspiration to God before meetings and feel that in our meetings those prayers are really heart felt and are expressed by those of commitment.
Q: Is the party on the ballot? How does it maintain ballot access?
A: The Constitution Party of Utah is has been on the ballot for a number of years. That’s done by petition. Currently we maintain ballet position with one or more statewide candidates who garner least two percent or more of the total votes cast for all candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the same regular general election. Most of this has been done by following the example of our former State Chairman Frank Fluckiger and never taking our eye off the prize. However, we are now in the middle of legal action now against the State of Utah who legislative branch has passed a new state law that could make future elections, caucuses, primary elections, and party recognition/membership a completely different ball game. Due to confidentially issues of the case I can’t comment more on this.
Q: In your work as a party leader, what are the positive — and negative — lessons you’ve learned.
A: Early planning on issues and workable solutions to those issues, strategic election plans and execution is paramount. Taking your eyes off the prize can cause stumbles and fumbles.
Q: I understand the Utah Constitution Party has a long success record.
A: I would estimate our growth to be up approximately 10% – 14% compared to last year. This is primarily due to dissatisfied Republicans who have finally seen through the GOP, realizing that they are not that much different than the Democratic Party.
We simply invite, invite, and then invite folks, friends, and family to participate, encourage them to read and study our consistent message.
Q: What do you suggest a new affiliate do to gain a foothold and grow in size?
A: Although we are working with an entire volunteer organization, the key is to run it as much like a business as possible. Elect good leadership and the leaders need to do (or take action) by example not just direction. We all need to hold each other accountable for commitments we make to the organization. In Utah we inspect what we expect from our local leaders monthly and where/when possible we assist and support them in their activities. I know that as a part of our state leadership this year I have logged between 8.5K and 10K miles on my car and given many nights to the party, out town many times which requires overnight stays. It involves sacrifices of time and resources. Often when speaking to our groups I talk about “What are you willing to give to the party and is success and survival.” I point out what we are asked to give is nowhere close to what our founders and past generations gave to build this great country. This generally will then tie that into “What are you doing to leave our country better for your children and grandchildren.” Sometimes many of today’s hot topic issues fly at too high of an altitude for general discussion based on intimate knowledge vs. a perceived knowledge of those issues. However, personal feelings of love of God, safety, rights and privileges are things that we can all feel personally every day and are emotions that folks will respond to favorably too. Love of God, Country and Family sounds trite, but I have found that it can generally be explained easily.