Grassroots Leadership Academy

J.R. Hoell receives his diploma after graduating from GLA’s Community Mobilizer Certification program.

It’s not every day a legislator attends one of our Grassroots Leadership Academy trainings. But last year, JR Hoell, a three-term state representative from New Hampshire, completed the Level 2 certification training in Manchester.

Then he started using the skills he learned to advance economic freedom in the legislature.

New Hampshire is unique—it’s a small state with a massive legislature. With over 400 lawmakers, representatives very accessible to their constituents, but it also makes it a challenge to get anything done.

When the house leadership unveiled a budget plan that didn’t cut spending and lower taxes, Hoell knew he had to do something.

So he used the lessons about community building he learned at GLA to organize over 50 like-minded legislators. They called themselves the New Hampshire Freedom Caucus.

The House leadership refused to take him seriously, but Hoell knew from the GLA training it was important to drive the narrative. Instead of letting his opponents define him, Hoell used press releases to make sure his message was getting out to the public.

Grassroots Leadership Academy

J.R. Hoell speaks at an event about cutting taxes in New Hampshire.

It all came to a head when, for the first time in history, the New Hampshire House failed to pass a budget. Hoell and his Freedom Caucus had held firm and refused to support tax increases and irresponsible spending. Overnight, Hoell went from a curiosity to one of the most powerful elected officials in the state.

When the Senate came back with a plan that included tax cuts for businesses, they knew it was a non-starter for the House leadership. So the Senate and the governor turned to Hoell and his Freedom Caucus to hammer out a deal.

In the end, the budget they passed cut taxes, implemented Medicaid reforms and improved education choices for students.

JR says the skills he learned from his GLA training were invaluable as he led the fight. The Freedom Caucus still meets, and he’s hoping to help likeminded representatives in other state legislatures form their own Freedom Caucuses.

If you want to learn the same skills and tools Hoell used, check out what trainings are coming up near you!

 

Interested in learning the skills and tactics needed to be effective in your community? Sign up for updates on when our next Grassroots Leadership Academy certification programs will be coming to a city near you.