ProFamily Legislators Conference: Fighting for Our Values: Join Audrea Decker and Representative Nathan Winters as they share about the ProFamily Legislators Conference, the conference that’s changing the country one state at a time!
Air Date: 09/05/2018
Guest: Audrea and Nathan
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, all of it from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
Check us out at WallBuildersLive.com for the radio site information and then WallBuilders.com for all of our other materials and tools that will help equip and inspire and educate you. So make sure you check out both those websites today WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.
David, Tim, we’ve get two special guests coming on the program today. Audrea is going to be with us to talk about the ProFamily Legislators Conference. Then we actually have a legislator that’s been through the conference several times that’s going to come on and talk about it as well.
What is the ProFamily Legislators Conference?
Let’s just kind of say why. Why do we even have a conference? What’s the point in bringing these legislators together? What do you guys hope to impart to these legislators when they come in November.
Well, Rick, one of the things obviously WallBuilders stands for is a lot of family positions right? Traditional morals and values, and the way that you uphold those traditional morals and values around the nation, is largely going to be through state legislators, what they’re doing in their state, the legislation they’re passing, defending religious liberty, defending freedom, and upholding traditional marriage.
Those are things that have to be fought for.
One of the things that Ronald Reagan said is, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” So we have to fight for these values. A lot of what we do is bring in the state legislators. We will bring in policy experts from around the nation, and they will come and address specific issues that are happening in the States. We will sometimes have sample legislation of what a state has done, or what a representative has done in their state to help solve these problems.
It really is a very practical equipping and we want it to be a very encouraging and refreshing time for them. We’ll have a little bit of a spiritual component in the midst of what we do so that they know they’re not alone, that they can be really encouraged, and that they can recharge their battery. Then they have very practical steps to go out and make a difference because we recognize if you look at the nation it’s not practical to say, “To solve the nation’s problems, just elect a new president.” That’s what happens when you have a dictator, when one person controls everything.
We don’t have a dictatorship in America, so if we’re going to solve America’s problems, we actually have to do it on a lot of local levels and state levels. That’s why we think we need to get legislators from all 50 states coming together to get a vision for making a difference in their state, which ultimately helps solves the nation’s problems.
Big Changes Start Locally
This is a conference we’ve done for a number of years, and one of the important things to recognize is that most major change occurs at the state level, not at the national level. National is where it comes last, but right now because of what’s happening in the U.S. Supreme Court they’re putting more, and more, and more back to the state level which makes these legislators even more important. This is a conference we’ve done every year for a number of years. As Tim said, religious and moral values, also constitutional values, we teach these guys how to understand constitutional values and defend that at the state level.
So it really is important, and we’ve got two guests today: the first is Audrea Decker. She is the executive director for the ProFamily Legislative Network. This is a network of hundreds of these legislators that have come together from across the nation. It’s a great network where we’re able to share all this information. Then we’ll have Nathan Winters on. Nathan is a state representative in Wyoming. He’s now running for statewide office in Wyoming as a state auditor. He is a great guy. A class act.
He’s just a perfect example of why it’s so important to help legislators with this Profeta legislators conference.
Stay with us folks. Audrea Decker, our first guest, will be back in a moment.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
Meet Audrea Decker
Welcome back, and thanks for being with us here on WallBuilders live. Audrea Decker is with us, she’s executive director of the ProFamily Legislative Network and puts on the ProFamily Legislative Conference.
With us here at WallBuilders. Audrea thanks for coming on.
Great to be with you.
Also president of I am Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization. Are you still doing that as well?
We are. We’re still doing that. Reaching students on college campuses to help them register and vote. So we wear a lot of hats.
All right, good stuff! Well, in fact we need to get these legislators, or the legislators conference, talking about I am Tomorrow back in their districts and getting that on their card. Well, let’s talk about that conference this year.
That’s exactly right. There’s a lot of great, great things legislators can be working on in their state.
The ProFamily Legislators Conference Helps to Form Lasting Relationships
Well, listen, I know that you know all of our listeners obviously aren’t legislators.
We do have a lot of legislators that listen but most of our lawmakers are plugged in and they know who their state rep or state senator is, they can get word to them and send them links to ProFamily Legislative Conference. So let’s talk to those people in the audience about why the legislators conference is important, what these legislators get out of it when they go home, how it’s equipped, inspired, and really helped them to do a better job back in their home states.
Yes. So for those that may not know, and maybe this is the first time they’re hearing of the ProFamily legislators conference, this is going to be the 20th year since David Barton launched the network. But, essentially, every year we hold a conference that briefs state legislators on important issues that they’re going to be facing in their states, all from the framework of a biblical and constitutional worldview. So we bring in leading policy experts and make sure that legislators get the chance to not only hear from leading experts on policy and bring those ideas and policy ideas back to their states, but also meet with with other like minded state legislators from across the country and be encouraged by that.
So we might not always-
And by the way, I got to tell you that’s such an important piece of this. As a former legislator, I can tell you that you often feel like you’re the only one even though you know there’s other good folks, even in your own state. There is something about coming to this conference and all of a sudden you look around and there’s 100 or more Reps. and senators from all these other states that obviously have like minded biblical Worldview and are passionate about the Constitution of the country. It just encourages you that you’re not the only one..
Yeah, very unique. To exchange ideas and learn what they’ve passed in their state and what’s been successful. But to have that kind of relationships with other state legislators from across the country is really encouraging. It’s always one of the most overwhelming responses we get from the conferences, not only the practical information that they’re able to take back with them but the relationships that they build.
Ideas that Sharpen Each Other’s Countenance
And you mentioned the sharing of ideas that’s sharpening each other’s countenance. That opportunity to get ideas, and even some things that are just ideas of things to possibly do, where they can actually see that another state has implemented something that they’re wanting to do in their own state and then they can see the results of it. They could take that back home and say look I’ve seen Oklahoma do this and it worked well and here’s how they did it at Michigan or whatever the state is. That’s a very effective tool for them to be able to move the agenda forward and get some good legislation passed.
Exactly. Very, very practical information that they can take and use right away. A lot of these legislators know what they believe, but there are so many different issues out there to research, know, and to come up with the best policy solution for. So that’s what we’re here to do, to help them in that process.
Why You Should Share This Conference with Your Legislator
Now folks at home that are listening may not be a state rep but they would love to see their state rep go to one of these. How can they get information in that legislators’ hand? What’s the best place for us to send them to?
That’s a great question. If you know your state legislator, and maybe you need to take a minute to learn your state legislator, this is a fantastic conference for you to invite them to. People can go to profamily.com and get more information about the conference, you can also contact us there. But really, you should just send your legislator an e-mail. Give them a call. Give their office a call. Let them know that you would love for them to attend the conference and send them the information. Legislators have a lot of turnaround.
There’s always new legislators that are coming in and learning in their states, and a lot of them just need to be invited to the conference. They’re sure to be encouraged and informed.
And at the website, as a legislator, it’s important for them to see the testimonials from all these other legislators. Watch some of the videos and realize the really positive benefit that comes from it. One of the cool things, this may sound shallow to some people, but one of the cool things to me is the laid back environment and we’re kind of telling if you wear a tie we’re going to cut it in half.
You relax and just enjoy the camaraderie and the great speakers. But it’s a relaxing environment kind of. It’s really kind of a respite, almost a rejuvenation for them. It’s right after the elections, before they’re going into their legislative session and coming in for that weekend. I just hear it from him every year, how they went home and they were just rejuvenated. Sometimes they served a few years, sometimes you could get burnout. This is a great way for them to get rejuvenated for the upcoming session.
Yeah it’s a really unique conference because it’s close. It’s just for legislators and their spouses. It seems that they get to interact with each other and also with these leading policy experts. We have some incredible speakers confirmed for this year’s conference including Polster, a new York Times bestselling author George Barna, and Rabbi Daniel Lapin and some fantastic policy expert as well. So the chance they get to really interact with them, have a meal with them, and learn from them is is really neat and special.
It’s a great opportunity. So folks, you can go to that website today, profamily.com. Just grab the links send it to your state rep or state senator. If you know them call them and tell them, “Hey I heard about this on WallBuilders it sounds like a great weekend for you.” And encourage them to attend. Audra thanks for doing this. Thanks for all your work on the conference and and just helping to impact this culture we’re really glad to have you on the team and looking forward to a great weekend in November.
Absolutely. Thanks so much Rick.
Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with a representative from Wyoming. He’s actually sharing his experience at the ProFamily legislators conference. You’re listening to what that was like.
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Representative Nathan Winters
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us. Representative Nathan Winters from Wyoming is with us today. Representative thanks for your time.
Rick, it’s a real honor for me to be on with you, and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.
Well, I appreciate you being willing to serve. I know a lot of times people don’t realize it’s a sacrifice, especially at the state level, to serve in the legislature and end up as a pastor and a member of your community. I just appreciate you serving in multiple capacities. Give us a little before we talk about the we’re going to talk about, the ProFamily legislators conference, but give us a little background on yourself how long you’ve been in the House and what made you decide to run for legislative office.
Well, it’s been a real honor for me to serve. But I’ve been here in Thermopolis, Wyoming about 12 and a half years. I’ve had the privilege to be one of the pastors at the first Baptist Church here and it becomes very apparent in the smaller community when you begin to see the needs and the ways in which you can personally impact an individual’s life in a community like this, and how the outside world begins to affect that. I began to work within the state Republican Party and just began to attend the local party meetings.
It wasn’t very long, and I was asked if I would be the vice chairman of the local county party, and about a year later to be the chairman of the county party, which gave me a position at the state level. And it wasn’t very much longer after that that it became parliamentarian for the state party. I just began working in that way. I never dreamed that I would get directly involved in politics. But then a wonderful lady who was kind of a mentor to me decided that she would not run again for state representative, and asked if I would consider doing that.
Really prayed about that and it really didn’t come to a head for me until an individual asked if I would work on their campaign. I asked them some more questions about their beliefs regarding life and liberties, some very important questions. In listening to the responses I got, it became apparent that they were not an individual that I would feel comfortable getting behind. It was about 3:00 o’clock in the morning or so and the Lord wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept flicking me in the ears. I got up and I grabbed my Bible I sat down-
At least, Representative, he has to flick you in the ears and doesn’t have to hit you over the head with a two-by-four like he usually has to do to me, so I’m thankful, for that, for you.
Even a Pastor Can Have a Place in Politics
That’s right. My passion has always been history. I went upstairs, sat down on the couch, and opened my Bible. I didn’t even look at it for a long time and I just thought, “Lord, think of all the people that have endeavored to do something like this and the challenges and dangers that they face.”
When I finally glanced down at my Bible I was looking at the book of Daniel. Daniel was a great man, and was the ancient version of a politician if you will. I thought “Well, thank you Lord, thank you for that answer.”
So, the next question was, “How does a pastor really have a role running in politics?”
I’d run across an article written by David Barton and it was about the Black Robed Regiment. So, I looked that up again and I read it, copied it, I almost memorized it, and I realized, “Wait Lord, you’re trying to tell me something here.”
As I ran, it was just tremendous. I’ve been in the legislature for three terms. I’m currently the House Republican caucus chairman and vice chairman of judiciary, and I was elected to the legislative management audit committee. It’s been a real joy to serve in this capacity because it’s really exposed the need in the Wyoming legislature that I’ve been honored to help fill.
I find it so interesting that you started in party politics, and some people when I say party politics have a negative connotation of that. Well, we all know that’s just a machine that’s out there and it’s not the car, it’s who’s behind the wheel driving the car and we have a no party system. That’s how it works.
People don’t realize that you can make a huge difference getting involved at that level. It’s interesting to me that you decided to start there and serve the party in that way. What was it that initially made you go that direction?
Well, the county chairman for our local party attended our church and were really nice individuals. They asked me when I first moved here, “Nathan, have you ever been involved in the Republican Party?” I said, “No I’ve always been a Republican and very conservative.”
They could obviously tell that I had read enough history to know up from down as far as why I’m a conservative. So, I attended that first meeting and I had the opportunity literally to weigh into the overall conversation and debate regarding in this case school policy.
Well, I thought, “I’ve never had an outlet like this before,” and you can genuinely make a difference and help stand up for things that you believe in just by literally showing up.
Doing Things Right/Doing Right Things
And that was extraordinary.
What’s also interesting is most good businesses will ask the question: “Are we doing things right?”
And great businesses ask the question: “Are we doing right things?” And that has become a mantra for me and almost everything that I do. But I have found that it is a vital question in politics.
Yeah, no doubt. Part of that kind of opens up our next topic together, which is the legislative conference. I guess that helps when you come together with other like minded biblical worldview foundational reps and senators around the country to really discuss what the right things we need to be working on in our culture are right now.
That’s absolutely right. One thing that David Barton brought up during the last legislative conference there, was the fact that when we look at policy overall many people are focusing on the external things, such as writing legislation and making sure that you have a certain paragraph in a certain place, and so warrant when there is a deeper question. Should we even be having this conversation at all? Is that part of the purview of what the Founders gave us? And that is the fundamental question, are we doing the right things?
Yeah, is it within your jurisdiction to even be considering that issue?
Absolutely. That worldview perspective was just a tremendous thing in November.
What was it like? I guess when you come together like that with legislators from other states, that maybe everybody’s state is a little bit different and as you’re exchanging ideas of things that work, but that aren’t working in their particular state. Were you able to share some ideas with other legislators that they could take back? Did you get some ideas from other legislators? How did that work?
Oh yes. Actually, you had the opportunity to interact with a lot of people that are like minded. I guess the best way to describe something like that, especially as you feel as though you’re walking through life, and you’re remaining strong, and you are together in coalitions to try to get things done. There are times where you feel rather fatigued. You can feel a little weary and well-doing.
Some Other States Have Already Been Down Certain Paths That Others Haven’t
On the other hand you get in a place like that, where people are like minded and they care deeply about the very things that you do. They see things from a very similar view. It’s almost like a rejuvenation, a revival if you will. And we really had that opportunity for the interchange of ideas and it was extraordinary.
Yeah there’s something about that energy, especially after three terms. Sometimes you can get burned out and even, just like you said: “Weary and well-doing.” But to be around these other folks that can, and sometimes newer ones that are just coming in and may be a little bit more on fire at that point, or getting some wise sage advice from folks who have been in the fight for 20 30 years. There’s something about that iron sharpening iron that to me has always been really special at the conferences. Sounds like you experience the same thing.
Absolutely. The other thing too is some other states have already been down certain paths that Wyoming hasn’t yet, or there are times where we’ve been down a road that they haven’t yet, and so to exchange our testimony, if you will, has been a real opportunity.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I’m excited for this year’s conference. I know you are as well. What would you say to folks that are listening at home about how they should approach their state rep or state senator? What kind of encouraging things should they say to him about potentially coming to the conference this year?
Well, one thing is, when you have an individual that loves the Lord, that is doing what they can to try to stand up for truth that is internal, it is absolutely imperative that they have fellowship with like minded people. If they have the opportunity to come to this conference, then people in their district do everything they can both to encourage them and try to help find a way to get them to that conference because it is absolutely a blessing in so many ways.
Yeah, no doubt. Well, I hope we have a lot of folks at home that are saying, “There’s a way I can make a difference by helping my legislator be encouraged, learn some good things, and exchange some good ideas. So even if you’re not a legislator you can help to get good laws in your state by getting your legislator to the ProFamily legislators conference. Representative, sure appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on today. Thanks for serving.
Wonderful. Thank you so much for calling.
We look forward to seeing you in November.
That’s Representative Nathan Winters. Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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It’s not Just a, “Hey, Let’s all come Together and Talk about how we Agree”
Welcome back live. Thanks to Representative Nathan Winters for coming on the program with us today as well. That was his personal testimony there, obviously he got a lot out of it. We hear that every year from a lot of the legislators. It’s a special time for them to get rejuvenated, to sharpen each other’s countenance and counsel, and to go back to their home states and take these good ideas and actually implement them. So it’s not just a, “Hey, let’s all come together and talk about how we agree,” it’s actually going back home to their states and getting it into legislation.
Yeah, and really Rick, one of the things that I love about having Nathan on the program, you just hear he’s a great guy. A Baptist pastor who said, “I’ve got to get involved and make a difference,” but he’s one of the many of the hundreds, and the hundreds, and the hundreds of guys we’ve worked with at the state level. This is one of the things that you’ve got to know if you’re listening. You want your state legislator to be there to get these values imparted to them, to get these practical marching orders.
So, first of all, if you don’t know who your state legislator is, look up who they are, set up a lunch meeting, get to know them, spend some time with them, and help invite them to this conference. This is something that will be absolutely world changing for them. For many of these legislators they are in a very financially tough spot, which I’m sure many of us even listening are in that same position.
Things are tough financially, but you don’t make a lot of money being a state representative. It’s not like how we see the federal government, these guys aren’t making a lot of money. No, the state level you make hardly any money. And every year we have state legislators say, “Man, I would love to come, I just don’t have the money to fly there or drive there and the hotel.”
It’s only a couple hundred dollars for these guys to come, for the hotel, for the meals, the food, we don’t actually charge him anything beyond our expenses.
Actually, we don’t even fully charge them our expenses most of the time.
We try to provide super minimal for them to come. So if you want to help sponsor legislators to come to this, if you want to donate so that state legislators can come in, we can give out some of these scholarships to people like Nathan, well deserving people who you would love to have these values imparted to. You can support that at WallBuilders.
ProFamily Legislators Conference Support
And actually, we’ve talked a lot recently about how people can come on board and be partners with us at WallBuilders and doing all the things that we’re doing. The radio program, having great guests on the program, the pastor’s briefings, and the legislators conference. So if you’re one of our monthly donors, or you want to be one of our monthly donors, you’re a part of that legislators conference.
So come and go to WallBuilders.com today. It’s very easy to do. You give five bucks a month or 10 bucks a month, whatever works for you. And that helps us to put that conference on.
It’s like investing in good government, it’s investing in getting good leaders out there trained through our youth leadership program, through this legislators conference, so be sure to check that out, WallBuilders.com, and join us today. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.