New Group Hopes to 'Give Conservatives a Voice'
With plans to facilitate networking for conservatives throughout Maryland, MD CAN will hold its inaugural conference on Jan. 8 in Annapolis.
The waning lame duck session of the 111th Congress gave way to the most bi-partisan chapter of the Obama presidency. The tax-cut compromise, as well as the Senate's ratification of the New START treaty with Russia, were some of the most significant bi-partisan efforts of the last two years.
The end of 2010 also gave rise to a number of groups working to bring the two parties together including the heavily publicized launch of No Labels, a new non-partisan group to ensure those "in the middle" are heard. However, in heavily Democratic Maryland, a new organization hopes to cater to a different group of voters who feel left out — conservative Marylanders.
On Jan. 8, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis, the Maryland Conservative Action Network (MD CAN) will hold its inaugural conference, aimed at projecting a clearer and louder conservative voice in Maryland.
"We were really dismayed with the treatment of conservatives by the Republican party this election," said Tonya Tiffany, one of the founders of MD CAN. "Conservatives in Maryland don't seem to have a voice."
Tiffany and her colleagues said they hope to change that. In what she describes as a "networking opportunity," Tiffany said she intends to link conservatives to activist organizations in the region.
This weekend's conference will feature booth displays for 12 different conservative organizations, as well as a long list of conservative speakers. Some of the confirmed speakers include first-term U.S. Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD), Brian Murphy, the Sarah Palin-endorsed Republican candidate for governor who lost to Bob Ehrlich in the GOP primary, and Maryland State Del. Ron George (R-30).
According to the MD CAN website, as of Jan. 5, there are more than 150 attendees preregistered for the conference. The site also states that, in terms of where registrants are from, Montgomery County is in the lead followed by Anne Arundel and Carroll counties.
While Tiffany described herself as "very conservative on all the issues," she noted that MD CAN is open to conservatives of all stripes, including those who may be registered Democrats.
"There are lots of conservative Democrats who feel they are being neglected as well," said Tiffany. "There's commonalities in all and it's time to set down the bickering."
It remains to be seen whether a group aimed at those who associate themselves only with conservatism will help find common ground or simply turn up the noise on the partisanship dial.
Regardless of the group's long-term goals, Tiffany boasts that Saturday will be a "highly entertaining and interactive conference" where speakers aren't only lecturing, but are actually participating in a conversation with the audience.
The all-day conference will feature a number of different topics, including a panel titled, "Federal Pressures on the State of Maryland: How Can We Respond?" It will be headlined by Congressman Andy Harris, who ran on a platform of repealing the recent health care overhaul. Immigration, media outreach, voter fraud and precinct organization are all on the agenda, as well.
Tiffany's "do-it-yourself" attitude permeates through much of mainstream conservative thought, and is perhaps part of what pushed her and the other organizers to form MD CAN.
"We saw that there wasn't really a great network of conservative groups in Maryland," said Tiffany. "So, we just said 'let's do something about it.'"
For more information, click here. The conference is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. (program starts at 9:30 a.m.) to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis. The cost at the door is $50 and includes refreshments and lunch. Please e-mail Ann Corcoran at email@example.com to preregister.