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The Hill - March 28, 2024

My name is Melissa Ortiz, and I am the new government affairs manager for TCC. I discovered my love of all things Congressional during my 7th grade field trip to DC many years ago. At one point my goal was to be the first female US Senator from the great state of Tennessee. I'm proud to say that one of my mentors, Marsha Blackburn, beat me to it. That's probably a good thing, too, as she is nicer than I am and in working on the Hill and in other related fields through the years, I learned that what I really wanted to do was influence policy and how it is made rather than be the one passing the legislation. Government Affairs and grassroots organization/mobilization are my sweet spots. This position allows me to combine both. 


Since coming on board March 1st, I have been working towards meeting the Chief of Staff and/or Legislative Directors from all the 267 GOP offices on Capitol Hill. It's easier said than done, but I am making steady progress. Sometimes I feel like I know more Members than I do staffers. 


This is a perilous time for our Republic. Nowhere is it more evident than on Capitol Hill. Tension is thick and comradery is almost nonexistent. We are spending money we do not have and wading into conflicts that are not our own. We are enabling people to live in government dependence rather than learning to be self-sufficient. We are allowing the idea that we should have things just because we exist and not work for what we need or want to be the guiding principle. It is no longer seen as shameful to be dependent on the government rather than working. 


Several pieces of legislation are making their way through the channels that continue these bad trends. Things that should be provided by the private sector have been presented for funding. Legislation and guiding parameters that honor feelings above logic are the norm rather than the disdained exception. Reagan’s idea of finding the 20% we CAN work together on, even in our own party, seems to be sitting on the shelf gathering dust. The Constitution is being trampled at every turn. Because it is no longer taught in public schools, it is not understood by most citizens. Private schools aren’t doing much better. We have an opportunity to unite like minded legislators, educate and influence their staff and rally the citizens of each congressional district and state to demand that their legislators do better or be unseated. 


TCC’s role on the Hill will be to let the elected officials know the citizenry is watching. In the district, TCC will be raising up a grassroots army to hold their elected officials accountable and be ready to replace them when needed. Besides making sure that they know TCC exists, is making a comeback and what our core beliefs/mission are, part of my role is to figure out who is high on the TCC scorecard of holding to Constitution values and support their initiatives. It is also my role to work with our President, Jim Pfaff, to partner with like-minded organizations to support good policy and those who make it, while causes and ruckus of awareness when those elected are not doing their job, which is to represent the will of the people. 


The view is disheartening to the faint of heart, but not to me. Not to Team TCC.


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