From O’Brien, a stark tale of heroes and villains
On April 12, controversial state Rep. Bill O’Brien was presented with the Conservative of the Year award during the Freedom Summit in Concord, which was sponsored by Citizens United and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. What follows is the text of O’Brien’s speech upon accepting the award.
I want to thank Americans for Prosperity and my good friends in their New Hampshire chapter for this award.
I am thrilled and humbled to be in the company of Ovide Lamontagne and Sen. Kelly Ayotte as recipients of this award.
Both of them are not just great New Hampshire conservatives, they exemplify what is great about the conservative movement in New Hampshire.
Their contributions to our state, our country and the cause of liberty are appreciated.
It is most especially an honor to receive this award at an event attended by such champions of American liberty as Sens. Ayotte, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Louie Gohmer and Steven King, and my friends, Speaker Gingrich and Dave Bossie of Citizens United.
There are so many great people here.
But there are some who deserve our special appreciation who are running for Congress and the governor’s office as Republicans.
You may support one or more of these individuals over others and may have good reason to do so.
But I ask you to remember one thing – Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster are enemies of freedom and part of an unfolding disaster. They do not hold a candle to any one of these individuals.
Support your candidate but remember who are the enemies of New Hampshire as opposed to those who are our friends with whom we merely disagree on some issues.
It has been my privilege to be in the New Hampshire Legislature and to fight against the collectivists who brought us Obamacare, an awful law, a law so dreadful that some insightful person once went so far as to call it “one of the most serious federal legislative assaults on individual freedom since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1854.” Harsh language indeed, and maybe we should run from it; but it needed to be said by someone, no matter how much outrage it caused.
Oh wait, I guess as the president pointed out, it was me who said that. I am glad he was listening; now if he could only acknowledge his mistake and help us repeal it.
Upon receiving an award such as this, it is said to the point of being a cliché that I alone do not receive this honor for my efforts.
That observation has never been more accurate than here today. Whatever I was able to realize as speaker reflected entirely the hard work, dedication and courage of numerous conservative New Hampshire activists throughout the Republican Party and, in particular, those activists who joined us in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
As a group and as individuals, each of these legislators deserves your praise and this award.
Could all those in the New Hampshire House of Representatives now or in the 2010-2012 term please stand so we may see you.
Thank you my good friends. Let us all acknowledge them as recipients of this award.
Those in the 2010-2012 session, would you remain standing?
Ladies and gentlemen, you will never see before you a greater assembly of New Hampshire heroes.
These sons and daughters of New Hampshire gave us a New Hampshire miracle.
Think of only a few things they did that the statists currently running the New Hampshire House have not been able to repeal: By cutting state-funded spending by 18.4 percent and passing 43 laws to reduce regulations on business and personal freedom, these heroes before you lightened the crushing footfalls of a liberal-engorged state government trampling on the Live Free or Die Soul of New Hampshire.
∎ They brought free choice to workers by repealing the New Hampshire card check law, which allowed union bullies to avoid secret ballots on whether to join a union.
∎ They enhanced our natural right of self-protection by passing a stand your ground law.
∎ They protected us from racial, religious, ethnic or sexual discrimination – whether excused as affirmative action or otherwise – in college admissions and job hiring.
∎ They affirmed that we do not have a state government that has subjects, but we are sovereign citizens who have a government, one, by telling state agencies to warn businesses before they are fined for non-safety; two, by making state employees accident records public; and three, by putting the state checkbook on line for all to see.
∎ They began the journey back to integrity in our elections by passing a voter ID law.
Ladies and gentlemen, there stand among you men and women who deserve your acknowledgment.
Please join me in giving it to them.
But let me thank one person who is not a legislator, but who showed her courage when she lost friends because of my activism. When she heard the phoned-in threats. When she quietly and gracefully listened to the insults. And when she charmingly told me you really can’t live on $100 a year legislator salary.
I want to thank my wife and companion of 31 years for joining me in this journey to today and this event. Thank you, Roxanne.
When you look to Washington and despair that there will never be the courage to change, to reform, to return to the 226-year- old constitutional vision of our forebearers, I ask you to think of the despair with which we looked to Concord in early 2010 and said New Hampshire is lost.
And think of what then happened. Conservatives came forward and breathed life back into the New Hampshire vision of limited government, low taxes, personal freedom and a family-centered community.
That vision remains with us today and, come this November, another group of conservatives needs to ignore the naysayers – those who say be moderate, wait your day, be practical, it can’t happen – and instead say they will bring the revolutionary spirit of 1776 and 2010 once again to Concord.
Help them. Be them. Show Courage. Take back Concord.
(Rep. Bill O’Brien is a Republican from Mont Vernon.)