This summer, with inflation at historic highs, Americans for Prosperity staff and volunteers hosted more than 130 True Cost of Washington events at gas stations and grocery stores in more than 30 states to lower prices and connect Americans to Washington’s role in causing inflation and the solutions for our current economic woes.
This week’s interview features AFP Operations Contractor Greg Dowell, who shared his most moving encounter with one family in Wisconsin and left us with an important reminder:
“America is NOT supposed to be a country of hopelessness or begrudging acceptance. It is supposed to be the place people can come to or already be here and build a new life, a better life, with hard work and determination.”
How do you feel now that the True Cost truck is retired?
GD: It is a bit sad, but making a difference requires change. There is more work to be done and leaving the truck behind will give us more flexibility to reach the people in need.
You went to a lot of cities. Was there anything in common from stop to stop?
GD: This was my first time to experience America’s northwest and southwest, so each place seemed very new and foreign to me.
However, in running events and talking with people, I felt a common theme of acceptance, daresay hopelessness, to the nation’s situation. A lot of people don’t know or even believe they can make a difference with what is happening in our nation’s capital.
What did you hear most from the customers you spoke with during the tour?
GD: Gratitude. Some people knew what was going on when they arrived at an event. Others came with skepticism. All left us with heartfelt thanks for myself and the team. Little things do make a difference.
How did you see inflation and high prices affecting people? Was there anything that stood out?
GD: The “click” challenge, where we captured people filling up their tanks all the way, was the most consistent reality check.
People had genuinely been going from $10 fill ups to the next. The anxiety and worry that choice gave them was immense. People just trying to get to work to do their jobs weren’t sure if or how they were going to get there.
Then, there were all the stories of trips canceled and summer leagues missed. People are trying to survive, not thrive, and that’s not how it should be.
What was your most memorable experience on the tour?
GD: In Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to talk to a woman with her kid at a gas station. As I explained that we were helping with the price of gas, she fought back tears.
She explained that she lived in low income housing, and her building supervisor had given notices to everyone in the building to fix this or that or face consequences, even possible evictions.
She didn’t know how she was going to afford the repairs, but saving this money was certainly going to help offset that cost.
How many miles did you drive?
GD: I don’t really know. 5,000-7,000 miles?? Will drove the most, and I probably drove second most. I primarily drove the van while Will manned the truck.
What is one thing you’d like people who can make a difference to know about what you saw or heard from folks along the tour?
GD: That they can, and they should, do something to fix this.
America is NOT supposed to be a country of hopelessness or begrudging acceptance. It is supposed to be the place people can come to or already be here and build a new life, a better life, with hard work and determination.
Set us up for success. Don’t weigh us down with more and more failed policies.