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Sunnyside GOP women's club learns about new national Republican caucus

State chapter to convene later this month in Yakima

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Autumn Torres of the Yakima County chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus shares how she became involved in politics.

Repealing the 16th Amendment (dealing with federal income tax), phasing out the Department of Commerce and Agriculture and privatizing all government assets are just some of the nationwide changes sought by the Republican Liberty Caucus.

During the Sunnyview Republican Women's Club luncheon yesterday, Tuesday, Yakima County Republican Liberty Caucus Chair Autumn Torres presented information about local efforts on behalf of the grassroots movement focusing on individual rights and limited government.

Torres, who was Rep. David Taylor's campaign manager last year, said she was moved to get involved in politics following the election of President Barack Obama in November 2008.

"It was a hard night for a lot of people, but now I look at it as a great blessing," Torres says. "It woke up a lot of people."

The final straw for the Yakima resident - besides what she felt was the nationalization of health care, the banking system and the automobile industry - was one night when she looked in on her children asleep in their beds.

"I thought, how can I look my kids in the eye in the future if I never stand up or never take action," Torres said. "I decided I'm not going to sit on the sidelines any more."

That all culminated with her getting involved in the Republican Liberty Caucus, which formed a chapter in Yakima County last August.

Torres notes the Republican Liberty Caucus is committed to working within the Republican party, while advocating for "constitutionally conservative" candidates. "Less government means more liberty," says Torres.

She notes almost half of Washington's counties now have or soon will have chapters, and this state is experiencing the fastest growth in the nation for Republican Liberty Caucus membership.

She says there are some differences between the statement of principles for the state Liberty Caucus and the nationwide platform at www.rlc.org

Sandi Belzer Brendale is the Republican Liberty Caucus chair for Washington state, and she confirmed the biggest difference between the state and national platforms comes down to the view on abortion.

As it reads now, the caucus' national statement on abortion does not take a stance for or against abortion, while opposing allocation of federal funds for abortions.

"Whoever wrote that was so focused on not alienating anyone that they alienated everyone," Belzer Brendale says. "I look at it and see it as pro-death."

In response, she says Washington state's chapter will present an amendment to the national platform during the Republican Liberty Caucus' national convention in Austin, Texas.

"The national chair thinks it has a great chance of passing," Belzer Brendale says of the amendment that would clarify the caucus' stance on abortion.

"With any organization you fix things along the way," says Belzer Brendale, who also lives in Yakima.

Washington state will have the largest number of delegates at the national convention. "What we've done in this state over the past six months is great," she says. The state caucus also has information on-line at rlcwa.org.

The Washington state chapter will hold its convention at the Howard Johnson's in Yakima on Saturday, April 27, starting at 10 a.m.

Aside from the abortion statement, Belzer Brendale says this state's chapter is pretty much in line with that of the national Republican Liberty Caucus principle statements that also include phasing out the federal departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Transportation Security Administration.

The most important thing, Torres told local Republicans yesterday, is that everyone can make a difference.

"Your voice does matter," she says. "It only takes a small irate minority."

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