By: Alexandra Smith
PLUM, Pa. – Recently receiving the Weyrich Award for Outstanding New Organization of the Year, Heritage Action for America is a policy advocacy organization that works with citizen activists to generate support for legislation in the U.S. Congress.
According to its website, heritageaction.com, “Heritage Action for America was created in 2010 after its sister organization, the Heritage Foundation, recognized that it was winning the battle of ideas on Capitol Hill, but losing the fight for good policy.” Heritage Action for America is a 501-c4 nonprofit organization that is funded entirely through gifts and donations from citizens.
One of Heritage Action for America’s most prominent services to the public is its Heritage Action Scorecard, which ranks all 535 members of Congress based on how well they adhere to the principles of conservatism espoused by Heritage Action for America and the Heritage Foundation.
According to Kurt Brown, Heritage Action for America’s regional coordinator for the Pittsburgh area, the organization has five regional coordinators located throughout the country. “We put our regional coordinators in places where we believe they can do the most good and be most effective,” he said. “We strategically target areas of the country where there are a significant number of representatives who are underperforming on our scorecard, and provide resources, including our Sentinel program, for activists in the region who are disappointed that their representatives are not voting conservatively and would like to have their voice heard.”
Hugh Fike, a Sentinel coordinator for Heritage Action for America, said that becoming involved with Heritage Action for America is “an ideal avenue for someone wanting to be involved with the fight to restore fiscal sanity to Washington D.C.”
“Our grassroots program, Sentinel, is made to fit people’s time level of time commitment, dedication to specific issues, and civic involvement,” he added.
Jack Pierce, also a Sentinel coordinator in Cincinnati, Ohio, for Heritage Action for America, said in an email interview that one of the biggest political issues that the organization addresses is “keeping Congress accountable for their votes.” Pierce said that his role as a Sentinel coordinator is to “attend local conservative group meetings to spread the word about keeping our U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators accountable to the Constitution’s constituents.”
Pierce also mentioned that Heritage Action for America doesn’t endorse any political candidates. Michele Slatt, an organizer of the Southwestern Pennsylvania TEA Party said that she appreciates “that they are not telling me who to vote for. They are providing information so that I can make an informed decision.”
According to Lou Soltys, a Latrobe area supporter of Heritage Action for America, the fact that the organization doesn’t endorse candidates is fine with him because “if they point out who the real conservatives are and who is pretending to be a conservative, the voting public will see without an endorsement.”
Fike said that he expects the organization to see growth in the coming years. “I can only see exponential growth for Heritage Action,” he said. “We have grown our grassroots staff, development staff, and political staff. We are having a major impact on Capitol Hill and more and more people want to be involved in this fight.”
Soltys said he believes that the conservative organization will continue to see growth. “Even though the liberals ‘won out’ last November, there is a ‘tide’ of conservatism that is gaining in this country,” he said. “Those conservatives will eventually learn that Heritage is their best hope for positive changes in this country.”
The best thing about Heritage Action for America, according to U.S. Army veteran Doug Hinkle, is “the information they provide.”
“I’m happy that we have an organization like the Heritage Foundation digging deep, doing the research, and helping to shape public policy in a positive way,” said Hinkle.
Slatt believes the best thing about Heritage Action for America is the fact that they “are working around the clock to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information such as the latest votes in Congress and upcoming bills.”
Brown said that the best thing about the organization is “the legislative accountability that our scorecard provides.”
To learn more about Heritage Action for America, visit its website at www.heritageaction.com.