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Linda Brickman and the Battle for Arizona

It’s five o’ clock on a weekday morning, and Linda Brickman is up before the Arizona sun. Not one to waste time, she gets to work answering phone calls and emails from the East Coast. Soon the sun is up, reminding her today is another day to work for what she believes in. She leaves to spend the day at the Arizona Legislature, where she spent yesterday, and where she’ll spend tomorrow.

“I’m being told on a regular basis that I’m too passionate for what I do,” she said. “But I won’t do something I don’t believe in.”

Brickman became the official Legislative Liaison for Citizens for Self-Governance’s (CSG) Convention of States Project in October of last year. No stranger to politics, Brickman has worked with numerous political organizations and campaigns since the eighties. After speaking with CSG President Mark Meckler about why he broke away from the Tea Party Patriots to focus on CSG and the Convention of States Project, Brickman decided to join the effort.

“I truly believe our Founding Fathers would not have written Article V knowingly if they knew it was going to destroy the Constitution,” Brickman said. “They knew that there would be a time when tyranny was going to take over, when there was too much control by the Supreme Court, and not enough power given back to the states. It’s there for a reason. It’s time for us to use it.”

The position was a natural fit, as Brickman was accustomed to spending her days at the Arizona Legislature and knew the legislators from both parties. Each day is unpredictable, but Brickman arrives ready to nurture connections, promote Article V and other important bills, and relay information to and from CSG’s grassroots volunteers. And the compensation? Only the satisfaction that comes from making a difference. Like all of Brickman’s previous involvement with political projects, her work with CSG is completely volunteered – she will never get paid to do what she believes in. And she’s adamant about that.

“Politics is my life, and I love every minute of it,” she says. Only her family, whom she puts first of all, could make her stop. However, they appreciate her passion, just as the people who work with her do.

“Her experiences and skills in working at the Legislature are obvious,” Yale Wishnick, State Director for Convention of States in Arizona, said. “She knows the players. She knows the people. She knows how it works…She’s also very honest, creative, and tenacious about what she does.”

Despite these advantages, Brickman’s primary challenge quickly became apparent. Few legislators truly understood what Article V was, and teaching them proved – and is still proving – a formidable task.

“So many of the state legislators have a poor understanding of our Constitution,” Wishnick said. “[Our work] is really educating them on what Article V is.”

The current legislative session in Arizona has held both challenges and rewards for Brickman and the Convention of States Project. Through strategic efforts on Brickman’s part, the Article V bill passed the House after two tries. During the first floor vote, the fight was nearly lost as representatives who had previously been in favor of the bill suddenly switched their “yeas” to “nays.” With only moments left to act, Brickman convinced her legislative sponsor to vote “nay.” Brickman was aware of an obscure Arizona legislative rule; if a representative votes against the bill they’ve sponsored, there is a chance the vote will be rescheduled. Thanks to Brickman’s extensive knowledge and quick thinking, the vote was rescheduled and passed the second time.

The Article V resolution was once again in danger, however, when Senate President Andy Biggs, a staunch opponent of Article V initiatives, assigned the legislation to committees he knew would vote against it. That didn’t deter Brickman; she worked with another senator to reassigned the Article V bill to a new title, allowing it to pass quickly through the House before bypassing the Senate committees and, theoretically, going straight to the Senate floor.

Unfortunately, Senator Biggs once again blocked the resolution—this time with a simple pocket veto. He refused to allow the Senate to vote on the Convention of States application, and the session ran out of time. Even so, Brickman isn’t daunted, and she won’t stop until the battle has been won.

“I want to stay involved until I see a difference,” she said. “Do I get down, do I get depressed, do I get unmotivated? Of course I do. Until we become the states united once again, our job is not done. Not just mine, but all of our jobs.”

Looking forward to next year, she had this to say to the team in the Grand Canyon State: "Thank you all for the great support we had in Arizona! It will not go unnoticed and not in vain. This is only the stepping stone to future successes. Thank you for letting me be a part of this awesome team. God Bless you all."