A grassroots group is organizing in hopes of stopping what they call the runaway power of the federal government.
The first Quad City-area [northern Arizona] meeting of the Convention of States project, held Sunday at Lifepointe Church in Prescott Valley, drew about 28 people dissatisfied with the country's direction.
According to FAQs distributed at the meeting and available online at conventionofstates.com, Convention of States has one goal: To force Congress to call a convention, as laid out in Article V of the Constitution, to amend the Constitution. Any amendments that limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government can be discussed at this convention, which would be called if 34 state legislatures pass resolutions calling for it.
Any proposed amendments coming out of the convention would then be sent back to the states for ratification. Thirty-eight states must ratify them before they become part of the Constitution.
Washington, D.C., is a mess, said Chino Valley resident Andy Ericson, the AZLD1 captain for Convention of States. "Instead of just sitting around complaining, we can do something."
The current state of affairs has been a long time coming, according to deputy captain Tom Steele, of Prescott Valley. Americans have been losing the country for more than 100 years, since the days of Teddy Roosevelt.
"What we have in Washington is a professional political party," Steele said, citing Rep. Paul Gosar as an example of what's right with Washington. "We need more like Dr. Gosar in office."
An attempt to get Arizona to join the Convention of States was introduced in the state legislature in January 2015. It passed the House but got held up in the Senate, because of Senate President Andy Biggs.
Biggs, Steele said, is a supporter of the John Birch Society, which opposes a Convention of States.
One of the group's jobs will be to generate legislative support for the project.
So far, applications have been approved by Florida, Alaska, Georgia and Alabama.
The local group plans to grow support of the movement not only among lawmakers but also among Arizonans. Ericson encouraged attendees to tell family, friends and coworkers.
"Part of our action plan is to get the word out," he said.
He urged people to educate themselves and then others, recruit like-minded supporters, and volunteer.
"We're just going to have to do it one conversation at a time," Ericson said. "It's a big task. It's a huge mountain, but we've got to do something."
The local Convention of States group plans to meet at 4 p.m. the third Sunday of every month at Lifepointe Church.
Convention of States, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance, is endorsed by Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Ron Johnson and Col. Allen West.
For more information, visit conventionofstates.com and azconventionofstates.com.