STEUBENVILE - A late afternoon downpour couldn't derail the Values Voters bus tour, in Steubenville Monday to rally support locally for "the cause of fiscal and moral responsibility."
Dozens of residents took turns boarding the bus, parked in front of Historic Fort Steuben, where they watched videos and listened to presentations by the Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation.
FRC Senior Vice President Thomas McCluskey said the two conservative groups are working together to not only encourage Americans to vote, but also to "advance the cause of fiscal and moral responsibility."
RALLY FOR SUPPORT — Dozens of area residents waited their turn to tour the Values Voters bus that stopped Monday afternoon at Historic Fort Steuben. Officials with the tour said the bus rallies support for “the cause of fiscal and moral responsibility,” and the residents on hand watched videos and listened to presentations by the Family Research council and Heritage Foundation. -- Linda Harris
"We're both D.C.-based organizations," he said. "We're talking with the grass roots, a number of whom have see us as their (voice) in D.C."
FRC is trying to get Americans registered to vote - specifically, the roughly 30 million Americans of faith who could vote but, for whatever reason, aren't even in the voting books.
"Of an estimated 60 million Christians in the U.S., only about half are registered to vote," McCluskey said. "And only about 15 million of them (Christians who are registered) actually voted in 2008."
McCluskey said elections are won and lost by voter turnout, "who can inspire the most passion." He said there's a growing frustration among Americans, as evidenced by the Tea Party and Occupy movements - while they may be polar opposites politically, "I think both groups are frustrated with what they consider the status quo in Washington."
"We have a 10-year plan to get Christians registered to vote," he said.
"This is just one step. We need to get people more involved in the election process, whether that's by volunteering on a campaign for a candidate they believe in or inspiring someone to run for office."
Heritage, meanwhile, is stumping for support for its 10-year plan to balance the budget and "fix" the national debt, an aggressive plan panned by congressional leaders as "too bold, too big." That's why both groups see 2013, "when a new Congress is in place," as a vehicle for change.
"This is just one step," said McCluskey, who noted the rain and the timing of Monday's stop - as students at Franciscan University of Steubenville were still returning from their Easter break - likely impacted turnout. "It's the first time we've come close to being rained out, but, as I said, we'll be back."
Area residents who braved the driving rain said they weren't disappointed.
"I'm here because I believe in what they're doing," said Karen Cunningham, a New Cumberland resident who was in the first wave of supporters to board the bus. "I think more people need to vote. It's below 40 percent most of the time. People need to stand up."
And Shirley Schalk of Steubenville said she wanted to be "a small part of spreading the word."
"I believe in the USA and I believe in the American dream, I believe for my grandchildren and the future," she said.