About Act 2
The following sections will provide information about the Act 2 movement:
Act 2 – Why That Name?
We can think of U.S. history, from colonial times to the modern era, as the first act of our political drama. Once we have implemented needed reforms, we will embark on Act 2 and enjoy another 200+ years as the world’s beacon of freedom. Experience teaches us that we must continually monitor our government, applying corrections when warranted to protect personal freedom and enhance the general welfare. Over the years, we have done this repeatedly, amending the Constitution 27 times.
Neal Schuerer, Executive Director. Neal joined Act 2 in February 2019 as Executive Director. He has a strong background in state-level politics and the private business sector:
Served two terms in the Iowa State Senate; elected assistant majority leader; chaired a number of committees and sub-committees; implemented performance budgeting best practices in all appropriation sub-committees; appointed by governor to several state task forces.
Served 4 years as District Director for US Congressman, managing his local office.
Served as Executive Director of campaign seeking major party nomination for president.
Enjoyed successful 20-year career in business included real estate sales and sales management; founded and managed a restaurant and convention center for the Amana Colonies of Iowa, which he sold; and was director of operations for a chain of franchised restaurants.
In recent years, Neal has focused on government reform programs, and serves as:
Chair, Colorado Committee of Correspondence
Steering committee member, State Legislators Article V Caucus
Policy expert, The Heartland Institute Center for Constitutional Reform
Commissioner, Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention
Marcus Costantino, Media Manager joined Act 2 in June 2020. From a 20-year business career, brings a wealth of sales, marketing, and management skills to the group, including social media and website management responsibility. Other career highlights:
Owner of CENTURYpress, a publishing company
Contributing writer to Got Questions Ministries
Ghostwriting of whitepapers for Business Leaders
Marketing, Retail, and Publishing Consulting
Author of What's Next? A book written for young professionals on a career trajectory
Wendy Reeves, Director of Administration and Assistant to Neal Schuerer joined Act 2 Reforms in March of 2019. Wendy has held responsible positions in small to mid-size businesses and enjoys volunteer work in community organizations.
Business Experience: Marketing and Sales – trade shows, advertising, power point presentations, proposals for national accounts, marketing flyers and brochures, ReadyOp database system
Financial – accounting, payroll, tax liaison
Administration – Day to day office work and management
Volunteer Work: Church Director of Women’s Ministry, Assistant Manager of community retail thrift store
Carol and Frank Keeney were the founders of Act 2 and serve on the board of directors of Act 2 Inc, a Colorado non-profit corporation that sponsors the Act 2 Reform movement.
Frank, a retired business man, is the author of the Act 2 literature. His 52-year business career included three years on active duty with the US Navy Supply Corps during the Korean War; 22 years working in large companies (Deloitte Touche, IBM, and Smith Barney) where his assignments included auditing, consulting, sales, financial planning, CFO and Executive Committee roles; and 26 years in small business startups and turnaround situations (as Founder, CEO and CFO).
After his retirement in 2002, Frank developed a keen interest in government and read extensively on the subject. This led him in 2010, with the support of his wife Carol, to begin work on the Act 2 program for reorganization and fundamental reform of our federal government. His broad business background uniquely prepared him to analyze the structural problems of our government and recommend common sense solutions for them.
Throughout his career, Frank sought professional consulting help as needed to supplement his own experience. In developing the Act 2 reform recommendations he continued this practice, benefiting from the advice of a highly respected constitutional scholar and other knowledgeable parties. The Keeneys also relied on strategic marketing companies for help in starting the Act 2 movement, developing its websites, and market testing a number of public outreach programs.
Frank and Carol have been married for 69 years. They live in Colorado, where they enjoy reading, writing, volunteer work, and access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They cherish family time with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Their concern for the state of the nation they are bequeathing to their children motivated them to create Act 2, and they are passionate about it.
For Frank's CV, click here.
Act 2 History
Early Footsteps, 2002-2013
After retiring in 2002 Frank Keeney developed a keen interest in government and read avidly, collecting a library of more than 100 books on the subject. The more he learned, however, the more discouraged he became with the way our federal government worked. But he found he was not alone in his despair: surveys showed the public trust in the government was sinking to levels unthinkable in earlier times.
To vent his frustrations, he began writing short essays on the need for governmental reform, which evolved in three stages: at first, the writing was random and unfocused; by 2010 it had grown into a small book and website that broadly covered policy issues that he felt needed to be changed; then in 2013 it occurred to him that the only way we could achieve reform in our highly politicized federal government would be to concentrate first on the processes of the federal government, leaving policy issues to be dealt with after we had repaired the structure of the government. He was convinced that well-crafted reforms could encourage good government. With a properly functioning government, we could expect to see better results on policy coming out of Washington.
From his studies, he had concluded that a successful democracy needed both an effective government and an informed electorate, so reforms should be directed to these two objectives. But since he felt that efforts to better inform the electorate could encounter conflicts with our right to free speech, he decided to focus his initial reforms on creating an effective government. That in itself would be a sizable undertaking. You will note that this does not require touching any partisan policy issues; it only considers the effectiveness of the government (or in simple terms, how the government works). And to increase the chances for success, he maintained a strict policy of embracing only non-partisan solutions.
The Launch in 2014
He started with a wide canvas of reform ideas, which would have been too complex to embrace immediately. So he narrowed the field to the five reforms that he felt could transform the federal government into an effective and more efficient organization. They are: (1) enforce the rule of law against federal employees, (2) impose election finance reform, (3) restrain overreach by the executive branch, (4) force Congress to consider all claims on the federal purse in the annual budget, and (5) invoke term limits on the federal judiciary and Congress..
In June of 2014, two highly regarded political observers published articles in the Wall Street Journal that supported his assessment. The articles were by William A. Galston, senior fellow of the Brookings Institution and former domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, and the late Francis Fukuyama, an author, senior fellow at the Freeman Spongli Institute for International Studies, and member of numerous boards for influential international groups. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“Amid this welter of statistics, one thing is clear: The U.S. government has become dysfunctional and there is shared responsibility to fix it. Leaders must behave differently, which will not happen unless the people insist on a different kind of governance.” (Emphasis added) – Galston
“Proponents of democracy focus . . . on limiting the power of tyrannical or predatory states. But they don’t spend as much time thinking about how to govern effectively . . . . Americans, more than other people, often fail to understand the need for effective government, focusing instead on the constraint of authority.” (Emphasis added) – Fukuyama
Keeney’s goal may have seemed impossibly bold and ambitious, but as he went to work it appeared achievable. Constitutional amendments appeared that were simple in concept yet profound in impact, and he began molding a message for delivery to the public.
He and his wife Carol then began the effort to start a movement with these short term goals:
Analyze governmental problems and identify the underlying causes of the dysfunction.
Develop proposed solutions for these underlying causes.
Write descriptions of the causes and solutions (a message) that would inspire and motivate the public and elected officials to take action on the reforms.
Develop an attractive website to reach the public, Congress, and state legislators with the message.
Consider various avenues of communicating the message to the public and elected officials; conduct market tests of selected avenues.
When the message has been refined and finalized and communicating avenues have been evaluated, implement broad outreach programs to publicize the reform program.
Obtain endorsements from authority figures that are known to and respected by the public.
Establish a presence in the Washington DC area to work effectively with Congress on the reforms.
Find other sources of funding to supplement the seed money the Keeneys were committing.
Establish and maintain good business practices in the management of Act 2 Inc, a Colorado non-profit corporation that is the sponsor of the Act 2 website and movement.
Progress in 2015
In 2015, they made substantial progress on their short-term goals:
Goal #1 – Analyze Problems: The study of the problems was completed and documented in a booklet.
Goal #2 – Find solutions: Proposed amendments were drafted and reviewed with Robert G. Natelson, a consultant and nationally recognized constitutional scholar. The drafts were edited and the final versions printed in booklets.
Goal #3 – Write Literature: Additional marketing literature was written for use in the outreach program tests.
Goals #4, 5 and 6 – Test Communication Channels: A large Denver strategic marketing company was engaged to design and implement a website intended to attract interest and support from the public, including management of social media programs. One of their senior staff had extensive experience in local government, Chamber of Commerce leadership, and in building grassroots movements, and he was assigned to act as their consultant. The consultant:
recruited a group of volunteers to assist at the events described below.
assembled a focus group to discuss the Act 2 reforms.
made two trips to Washington DC to visit a number of organizations interested in governmental reforms to make them aware of our plans and to look for possible synergies.
attended the annual meeting of the Leadership Program of the Rockies; 500 booklets were included in attendee literature packets.
gave a talk and distributed literature to a Rotary Club luncheon.
managed a booth at the three-day annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver (attendance of approximately 4,000), and the consultant and volunteers distributed more than 500 packets of literature there.
managed a booth on the Parade Day of the annual Western Welcome Week in Littleton CO (attendance estimated at nearly 100,000), and the consultant and volunteers again distributed more than 500 packets of literature.
The Keeneys also took these steps:
joined a group in Denver that was working to promote an Article V convention of states to propose constitutional amendments.
established a relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council to facilitate communications with state legislators, and joined the ALEC task force on Federalism.
sponsored a reception in Washington at which ALEC announced the formation of a liaison with Congressmen that were formerly ALEC members when they were state legislators; distributed literature at this and other ALEC meetings of legislators.
Their constitutional scholar gave a talk on Act 2 to a national meeting of about 100 state legislators, distributing literature to them.
After each public event, they watched the metrics of the website. The results were disappointing; the events appeared to have no lasting effect on public awareness.
In December 2015 their first direct mail outreach of the Act 2 Reform Blueprint was launched (1) to the public in a mailing to 130 family, friends, and acquaintances; (2) to more than 150 executives in organizations that were considered to be candidates for collaboration with the Act 2 movement; these executives could be instrumental in spreading the word through their national membership networks, and it was hoped some would advocate for the Act 2 reforms with Congress; and (3) to 50 leaders in Congress, in the Senate and House.
Goal #7 – Obtain Endorsements: They were reluctant to approach potential endorsers until they had confirmation that the message was ready for prime time, but before that happened they were dissuaded from this step on the advice of other experienced reformers to avoid endorsements. Their experience had shown that endorsements could create adverse reactions if the endorser was partisan or otherwise was seen as carrying political baggage. Consequently, the Keeneys decided against seeking endorsements at that time.
Goal #8 – Establish a Washington Base: In December 2015 they decided it was time to explore setting up a presence in the Washington DC area to begin working to educate Congress on the benefits of the Act 2 reforms. They were introduced to two experienced lobbying firms in DC that advised them on the merits and projected cost of mounting a lobbying effort. The estimated cost of $1.5 to $2 million (with no assurances of success!) was beyond their capability, and they did not pursue it.
Goal #9 – New Funding: With the message defined and the new website in place, they felt they were ready for a significant expansion of outreach, which would require new sources of funding. In September 2015 they submitted an application to the IRS for recognition as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which would facilitate this fundraising. On December 10th the IRS gave them a favorable ruling, so future donors to Act 2 Inc could be assured that their donations are tax-deductible.
Goal #10 – Good Management: All corporate legal filings were kept current; a robust accounting system was installed with financial statements issued on a regular basis; and work commenced to expand the Board of Directors, to give majority control to outside (unaffiliated) directors.
Activity in 2016-2017
Based on what they had learned in their work of 2014-2015, they evaluated their results and planned the next steps:
When Act 2 is presented to the public, the typical reaction is uncertainty: the reforms seem to make sense, but the individual’s limited knowledge of how our government works make them feel they are not qualified to pass judgment on the proposals. They need someone they know and trust to recommend the program to them. This will give them permission to take a stand and support the movement. This suggested that Act 2 should turn to Congress and/or state legislatures rather than pursue a grassroots strategy.
Based on the material they had developed and distributed at various events, Frank decided to write a few new pieces of literature with a strong focus on our most urgent problems and solutions for them. This was done in a booklet titled, and they were satisfied that this message was ready for broad exposure to the public, Congress and state legislators.
They decided that they needed a new website that delivered the message more effectively than the first site; it was to be based on the message in the new literature. A firm located on the East Coast with a successful background in public policy outreach was engaged. They developed this new site (including social media programs) with completion in early 2016
Because of the growing partisanship and dysfunction in Washington, they turned their focus to state legislatures.Article V of the Constitution makes provision for reform through amendments, which may be originated by a super-majority vote in Congress or by application of two-thirds of the state legislatures to convene a convention of states, and a number of other reform groups were pursuing the state path.The Keeneys decided that this was the only viable path today.
A rewrite of the message was completed in late 2016, and a search was begun for an Executive Director. Meanwhile, in late 2016 a personal matter intruded: Carol and Frank decided it was time to downsize and move into the independent living section of a senior community. The search for a suitable facility, downsizing of furnishings and disposal of the excess, and move to the new space took about nine months. That effort left little time available for Act 2, so it lay dormant.
2018 and 2019: A New Strategy
During 2018, reports from other Article V reform movements were not encouraging: no significant progress had been made. This made the Keeneys reluctant to start the multi-year task to seek favorable action from legislatures in 34 states, and they began considering a new and different approach of trying to combine the efforts of all Article V movements into one coordinated group.In December they decided to suspend all Act 2 marketing efforts and take the month of January 2019 to review their options.
In that process, they met Neal Schuerer, who presented them with a proposal that they temporarily suspend promotion of the Act 2 reforms and focus on helping state legislative leaders in mobilizing the states to call for a convention. He pointed out that they could utilize state applications that had been approved in previous years (there are more than 250) and aggregate them with new applications. An analysis of those older applications indicated that about 30 could still be valid for calling an open (plenary) convention, which would dramatically reduce the scope of new actions required by states. They concluded that this approach was a game-changer, and they hired Neal as Executive Director on February 1, 2019 to pursue this strategy. After a convention has been called, they will present the Act 2 proposed reforms to the convention for consideration.
With the support of the Act leadership, a core group of legislative leaders from Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin formed the Assembly of Legislative Leaders (ALL) with a mission to call a convention of states under Article V of the US Constitution.During the summer and fall of 2019, Schuerer attended ten meetings of national state legislator organizations to promote and build the ALL organization. Frank drafted new literature to support this effort, and they looked forward to expansion of the program in 2020.
2020 and the Pandemic
In early 2020 the Keeneys determined it was time to raise public funds to expand outreach and momentum for a convention. To assist and train the staff in successful fund-raising techniques, it engaged AC Fitzgerald & Associates, a firm with a proven track record in this field. But in the midst of this effort, the world-wide coronavirus pandemic struck and the momentum of the Act 2 program hit a wall. Government-mandated lockdowns rippled across the country, preventing outreach programs for any purpose. But the Act 2 leadership continued work on the program so it would be ready when the restrictions were lifted: the literature was updated, AC Fitzgerald completed its work product, and work was begun on the development of two new websites to replace its current site. They had concluded that two sites would make the messaging more clear: one would be focused on the path to the convention of states and the other on the five Act 2 amendment proposals and the results they would achieve.By June 2020 this preparatory work was completed and the fundraising was tentatively started, operating within the social guidelines of the government. But it was prepared for a full launch of travel and direct meetings with candidates as soon as these were permitted. At this writing, Act 2 is poised and anxiously awaiting the relaxation of the mandated lockdowns.
The new websites are:PathToReform.org / Act2Reform.org
Recommended Reading for Understanding our Government
Politics and Society
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Boaz, David. 1997 (2015). The Libertarian Mind. Simon & Schuster, NY.
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Biographies and Memoirs
Berlinski, Claire. 2008. There Is No Alternative. Basic Books, NY.
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Natelson, Robert G. 2017. Article V Handbook for Lawmakers. Ameridcan Legoslative Exchange Council. Arlington, VA.
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