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‘America is supposed to be the place to come to build a new life, a better life’

Oct 28, 2022 by AFP

True Cost of Washington Tour logo that reads, "Pay More, Get Less" - a reference to Washington's failed policies that are driving inflation, gas prices, and the high cost of living in 2022.

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.

To give you an inside look at the tour, we spoke with the team working behind the scenes to make it all happen.

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.

The True Cost of Washington Tour truck enters Tennessee on its way to help Americans suffering from inflation driven by Washington's wasteful spending

The True Cost Tour truck heads to another True Cost of Washington event to help everyday Americans struggling with historic inflation.

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.

Greg Dowell with True Cost road crew and volunteers at a True Cost of Washington event to lower gas prices and discuss what is causing inflation

Greg Dowell (second from right) with the rest of the True Cost road crew and some volunteers just before one of their True Cost of Washington events where they lowered gas prices and discussed historic inflation.

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.

The True Cost of Washington Truck knew exactly where inflation and high gas prices were hurting everyday Americans: at the gas pump.

Many of the people Greg and his teammates talked to knew where inflation – caused by Washington’s wasteful spending – was hurting them: in their wallets and at the gas pump.

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.

Greg Dowell grabs some snacks on the long and winding road of AFP's True Cost of Washington tour

Snacks were an important part of the True Cost of Washington Tour.

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.

Read our interview with Greg’s True Cost Tour teammate Nathan Sanders to get more behind-the-scenes details about the True Cost of Washington Tour.