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    Alaska conservatives look to gain political respect

    AlaskaWatchman.com

    Mike Widney admits he doesn’t have many politician friends, and that’s okay.

    “I don’t, but I’m not interested in gaining access to them,” the Big Lake resident said. “I’ve seen a lot of people get sucked in with politicians. I’ve seen activists fighting and then the next thing you know they’re given political access and they become more of a spokesman for the politician.”

    “Unless you are politically feared, you will not be politically respected.”

    Widney is a conservative activist who chairs Save the PFD. He is also helping coordinate a May 16 event in Big Lake for the Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership (FACL). The national organization sends speakers around the country to educate conservatives on ways to gain influence over their elected representatives.

    Michael Rothfeld, president of FACL, says the workshops help conservatives understand how the political process works so they can make meaningful changes at local, state and national levels.

    “You no longer have to be a prisoner of politicians and their schemes. You can finally burn your victim card.”

    “Unless you are politically feared, you will not be politically respected,” he wrote on the group’s national website. “We will teach you how to be politically feared.”

    Each workshop is taught by a conservative leader with decades of experience fighting in the political trenches.

    “I want you to understand just how much power you really have,” Rothfeld wrote. “You no longer have to be a prisoner of politicians and their schemes. You can finally burn your victim card.”

    The Big Lake event will be taught by Zach Lautenschlager, vice president of the National Association for Gun Rights. He has worked on more than 200 campaigns in local and statewide political contests.

    Widney said the upcoming session is one of several that have occurred in Alaska in recent years. They typically bring together pro-life activists, gun rights advocates and those who favor limited government.

    “The basics are all the same – you can apply the principles in any field,” Widney said of the workshops. “We’re very much focused on conservative goals with pro-life being at the top of the list, but gun rights, fiscal conservatism and small government are all related.”

    “The old mindset that a lot people have when it comes to politics is not working,” he said. “We have to move to a more aggressive political stance.”

    The May 16 training day will explore why educating people alone doesn’t result in change, how the political class uses your convictions against you, and how to put pressure on legislators to pass meaningful laws despite opposition.

    Widney attended a workshop last year in Palmer and was impressed by the practical, hands-on strategies, including tips for how to interact with elected officials.

    “The old mindset that a lot people have when it comes to politics is not working,” he said. “We have to move to a more aggressive political stance.”

    In particular he sees a need to make sure a politician’s voting record follows them into the campaign season.

    “We don’t really care about their talk – we care about their voting record and how it breaks down,” Widney said. “There are very few politicians who really stick to their guns.”

    The workshop runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Big Lake Lions Recreation Center (2942 S. Lions Circle, Big Lake). Due to social distancing mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic, space is limited and all participants will be stationed six feet from each other in a large meeting room.

    Click here for more information, or to register.

    Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

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