Liberty Isn’t Free: It Must Be Fought For

September 10, 2013 | By Lauren Day

Teri Capshaw, a homeschooler from South Dakota, worked as a TV and local newspaper reporter during college. After graduation, she was hired as an evening news producer in Boise, Idaho, where she met her husband -- before starting her own sewing business.

Now, she takes her professional background and understanding of the challenges that come with owning a business into meetings with donors and potential partners for Campaign for Liberty, where she serves as the donor relations officer.  

“I grew up training horses, participating in rodeos, raising small animals, and learning about the small businesses owned by my parents and grandparents. As a result, I brought a unique perspective to the news business—and thoroughly enjoyed reporting in my home area,” Teri said. “Now, I have a huge amount of respect for our donors at Campaign for Liberty, and I think a big part of that is knowing just how much work it takes to make money in a small business.”

The Leadership Institute helped Teri launch her career.

“I got my job at Campaign for Liberty (C4L) as the result of Leadership Institute training, so I certainly appreciate what you do,” Teri said. “I asked the main instructor from my Legislative Project Management Class, Mike Rothfeld, for advice on finding a job with an organization that would operate ethically and effectively. He interviewed me and recommended me to John Tate, the president of Campaign for Liberty.”

Teri’s husband Jesse accepted a job in 2009 that brought them from Idaho to Manassas, Virginia – just 45 minutes from the nation’s capital.  That’s when Teri began working for Campaign for Liberty.

In October 2009, she started working in the Outreach Department. Three months later, Teri assumed her current position as the donor relations officer in the Development Department.

Some of Teri’s responsibilities include working with donors interested in supporting C4L’s key projects, like its effort to pass legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, its candidate survey program, and its ongoing effort to fight an Internet sales tax.

“At C4L we have an incredibly committed base of nearly 750,000 members willing to lobby their elected officials to limit the federal government to its proper constitutional role,” Teri said. “By partnering with our donors we are able to provide the communication and organizational structure necessary to mobilize that membership base. I am also working with the wonderful sponsors we have lined up for the third annual Liberty Political Action Conference from September 19 to 22 in Chantilly, Virginia. I am excited to have the Leadership Institute join us as a sponsor again this year!”

The Leadership Institute will have a table in the exhibit hall with several staffers, so please stop by! Also, LI President Morton Blackwell will take the stage Friday, September 20 at 2 p.m. LPAC tickets are available here.

“The Liberty Political Action Conference is an opportunity to encourage, energize, and further equip a grassroots army focused on stopping government overreach into our lives,” Teri said. “I absolutely love the camaraderie this event brings out in an extremely diverse crowd. Conservative, libertarian, and constitutional speakers, activists, organizations and businesses all come together to celebrate the principles that made America great—and train for future success,” Teri explained.

Teri’s background working in media and covering local and state politics shaped the work she does now.

“My perspective allowed me to see how often, political decisions are driven by fear, incentives (for those willing to seek power), and a sense of futility. Even elected officials in relatively powerful positions—and whom I respect on a personal level—often seem to be only gears in a powerful system. Feeling frustrated by that and looking for an alternative to politics-as-usual led me to take the Legislative Project Management course at the Leadership Institute. Being introduced to the concept of confrontational politics was an incredible experience,” Teri remembers.

“Much of our current political process—of which the media plays a predictable part—rewards politicians for saying popular things to get elected, but then allows them to benefit key donors who lobby for government favors. Confrontational politics short-circuits that system by holding elected officials accountable for their actions.”

To learn how to put pressure on elected officials and force accountability, register right now for LI’s newest training: Tactical Warfare.

Like many, Teri found out about the Leadership Institute through word of mouth.

“I asked an elder from a church I used to attend for advice on finding a job in politics with an organization that wouldn’t compromise its principles,” Teri remembers. “He suggested that I introduce myself to the Leadership Institute’s President Morton Blackwell and ask him for advice. I wasn’t quite brave enough—so I did the next best thing and signed up for the Legislative Project Management School.”

“I have used most of what I learned during LI’s Legislative Project Management School,” Teri said. “Learning how to lobby effectively and use a grassroots approach has been useful both when I help with special projects and when donors ask for things they can do in addition to supporting C4L financially.”

In addition to the Legislative Project Management School, Teri took LI’s On-Camera Television Workshop.

“The Leadership Institute provides excellent resources to help conservatives become effective in the political arena,” Teri said. “I recommend that others who truly want to make a difference for their cause get educated at LI. There are many traps in the political world that can make us feel effective while accomplishing very little. It’s crucial to ensure that we are really on the right track to have a lasting impact.”

Sign up now for LI’s week-long Comprehensive Fundraising Training. You’ll learn how to make a lasting impact, or at least the funds to program your initiatives. Topics to be discussed include how to solicit major gifts, what makes a direct mail package most effective, and how to move into raising funds online. Contact Carol Wehe at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org for more details.

In 2010, Teri and Jesse’s daughter was born in Manassas, Virginia. Last summer, Jesse’s job took their family back to Boise “just in time for our son David to be born in September.”

“Today I work from home,” Teri said. “We have a one-acre lot inside the Boise city limits where we are allowed to keep goats and a small flock of chickens—so life at our house is always interesting! I occasionally blog about those adventures at thisblessedlibertylife.com.”   

Please congratulate Teri Capshaw on receiving the Leadership Institute’s Conservative Leader-In-Training Award and please spread the word about the upcoming Liberty Political Action Conference.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.