There is not likely anyone in the United States who deserves such tributes as much as Phyllis Schlafly does.
My mother and Phyllis’s mother were sisters and although Phyllis is about nine years older than me, we shared the same family experiences for many years as children. Our families were very close and we often held family dinners together among other activities. I always admired Phyllis’s progress in school and watched with great interest in her early years in politics. Phyllis had been trying to get me involved in politics for over 50 years but I was always too busy with my business endeavors to become really involved. However, her influence on my political thinking was strong and undeniable. I have always been a “conservative” and Phyllis’ books and the few conversations we did have from the time of that first book have, more or less, consolidated by thinking about being a conservative
We often listened to the campaigns of the Republican candidates such as Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon on radio and later, on television in the 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s, so politics was a significant part of our growing up. I believe my political mind was greatly influenced in the middle 1960’s by Phyllis’s first book, “A Choice Not an Echo” and I closely followed Ronald Reagan’s progress from the time of that book. I actually believe that Phyllis’ book played a significant part in Ronald Reagan’s rise to the Presidency in 1980.
Alcoa asked us to move to Australia in 1966 and we did not return to Pittsburgh until 1975 so we watched the political events from afar. Nevertheless, I was appalled at the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and then very pleased with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
I was elected Treasurer of Alcoa in 1978, a position I held until the early 1980’s when I took advantage of favorable early retirement provisions and founded my own successful securities company which I ran for about 25 years.
I sold my securities company in 2009 and told Phyllis that I might now have enough time to become more involved in politics. She invited me to become President of Eagle Forum in Pennsylvania and I worked very hard in my “third” career.
With Phyllis’s strong help and encouragement, Eagle Forum was able to play a significant role in electing five Republican Congressmen in 2010. These five Congressmen replaced five entrenched Democrats and Pennsylvania led the nation in the takeover of the House of Representatives in that year. Eagle Forum also assisted in the election of Republican Senator Pat Toomey in 2010. With the continued help from Phyllis, Pennsylvania elected one more Republican Congressman in 2012 so that Republicans now hold 13 of the 18 U.S. Congressional seats representing the State of Pennsylvania.
In order to help with these accomplishments, Phyllis traveled to Pennsylvania each year for four years beginning in 2010 to host Eagle Forum fund-raising dinners (in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) in order to raise funds for campaign contributions to these Republican candidates. These contributions as well as Phyllis’s messages were major factors in Pennsylvania’s success.
There are many individuals in Pennsylvania who also deserve much of the credit for these successes but there is no doubt that without Phyllis’s example and encouragement and hands-on support, the achievements in Pennsylvania would not have been possible, especially in light of her involvement with similar successes in many other states at the same time.
The Eagle Forum members in Pennsylvania appreciate all the things Phyllis Schlafly does for Pennsylvania and we sincerely thank her for this.
by Ned Pfeifer