We are proud to announce Nola Wood as this week's Conservative Champion. Learn more about Nola's unique and inspiring story below.
Tell us about how you became a conservative. What experiences led to your now-held beliefs?
When I was 23 someone invited me to give my life to the Lord. When I did, and then began reading the Bible because I then understood it was true, I realized over time that beliefs I'd held about government were wrong. Friends in the church I attended at the time in Wichita, Ks. started a grassroots group called Christians in Action (CIA!) and they began to teach us about conservative issues in very engaging ways. Over time I fully replaced wrong ideas I'd been taught growing up in the '60's in St. Louis, and became a strong pro-life conservative Republican! When a friend at church pointed out the travesty of abortion taking place right there in Wichita where I was then living, we made pro-life signs to picket, and took brochures to offer information to the women entering the building. We even came face to face with the infamous Dr. Tiller before his notoriety was widely known. He saw the two of us outside his facility and came out to confront us, even grabbing me by the shoulder to make his point as we legally stood there peacefully making our stand on the public sidewalk. I didn't know then that he had no right to touch me, but I hoped he might take to heart our appeals to him that what he was doing was so wrong.
In recent years I've heard that during that time he actually did deliver some babies alive, encouraging those women to give their babies up for adoption. At a Right to Life convention we heard from a man who had been adopted, whose birth certificate had been signed by Tiller.
Tell us about the groups that you are involved with and the efforts that you have been a part of within those groups?
I've appreciated taking part in the Jackson County Republican Committee, Susan B. Anthony List, Americans for Prosperity, the Federated Republican Women, the Pachyderm Clubs, First Thursday Club, Teenpact, and Jackson County Republican Club over the last several years. When the Committeewoman position became open a few years ago I was glad to get elected and serve in our 20th Ward in south KC. Last year I was elected Vice Chair of the Jackson County Republican Committee.
I'm grateful to have met and formed wonderful friendships over the years with many amazing people through each of these groups! In 2011 my friend Bev Worth and I started the Republican Women of Greater KC, and Stephanie Williams and I also began KC Conservatives, which has now met monthly for 10 years! It's been a treat to get acquainted with rising stars like our now Sen. Josh Hawley at various meetings with the MoGOP and FRW!
In 2013 my Kansas friend and colleague, now Kansas Sen. Beverly Gossage invited me to serve in our professional association, the Greater Kansas City Association of Health Underwriters, of which I was elected President in 2015-16. That position provided opportunity to oppose the onerous impact of Obamacare, by advocating for restoration of healthcare freedom with our Missouri and Kansas members of Congress on several trips to DC. I was glad to also meet hardworking Republican friends on the national scene like former health insurance agent Sen. Tim Scott there at our national meetings.
You are clearly someone who is engaged in the community and has helped advance the conservative cause. What led you to join those groups?
It became clear to me that there was a great need here in Kansas City to stand up for our conservative issues and candidates. One day at a business networking meeting an acquaintance who was a former Republican member of Congress, Wendell Bailey invited me to First Thursday Club. I had been unaware of the group, though it had been meeting for years not far from my home. In 2006 I was invited by a leader in the Jackson County Republican Committee, Jim Fitts, to bring my children and help make phone calls to elect a Republican senator. My friend Laurel Morton, a leader in Teenpact, invited us to help distribute literature. I was shocked to see Claire McCaskill get elected despite our efforts, and to hear then county party leaders state it was inevitable; it couldn't be helped. I wondered at the time how hard they had tried. In 2008 many of us worked hard, but were extremely dismayed when Obama was elected. In 2010 I was appalled to learn that no Republican was even planning to run for the legislature from our district in south KC against the 2 term incumbent pro-abortion, radical environmentalist Democrat who was misrepresenting our district. I knew the conservative constituency in our area was growing, as many pro-lifers had moved to the area to be part of a growing Christian ministry here. When I asked Republican friends who I thought were qualified, "who would run for that seat?" They encouraged me to run. Contacting many voters at their doors, and meeting more new friends around the area, I managed just 39% of the vote that year, but became more committed than ever to get more effective at mobilizing our coalitions.
For those individuals who are interested in advancing the conservative cause, what advice would you give them? Are there any groups they should join? And if already in those groups, what’s the best way for them to be engaged and actually implement change?
I've learned over the years that different people are comfortable with a variety of levels and types of engagement. I always encourage friends to do what they can, considering their season in life and other commitments, yet please, do what you can! It's a matter of being a good steward of the freedoms others have provided to us.
Some people will just attend a local group where they get better informed, and share that information with their sphere of influence. When possible, I highly encourage friends to take opportunities to learn skills to help be more effective communicators of our message. Groups like Leadership Institute offer training, while Americans for Prosperity offer training and facilitate efficient communication using technology. The condition of our community and nation demand that we find the most effective use of our time and resources, which can involve stepping outside our comfort zones as needed. Volunteering with a group or campaign you care about is really crucial at this moment in history. It's also vital to carefully consider the viability and effectiveness of the group or campaign where you put your efforts.
What issue(s) do you think are the most important at this time for the conservative cause? Why?
Protecting innocent life is certainly our core issue, whether the unborn child in the womb, the crime victim in our city, or the physically or mentally disabled. We must support our constitution and the rule of law, in our elections, and all of our governmental systems, to support the sanctity of life. That requires properly funding our police, improving the integrity of our elections, reforming our judicial selection system, and standing up to the cancel culture. It's all connected.
How can we overcome those obstacles that are preventing us from advancing those issues?
We need to rally our friends and neighbors who share our values to our cause. Effective, efficient communication is key, so I've built large email lists and social media connections to share issues, events, and ballot recommendations over the years. One new friend emailed me a few years ago asking me for the ballot recommendations she'd heard I offered. She said she'd voted for the first time that year, in her thirties, knowing only one or two candidates she wanted to support. She hadn't known she didn't need to vote every spot on the ballot, so she said she'd felt like she was throwing darts at the rest of those names. We seriously need to keep stepping up our efforts to reach out to people who will be on our side if we connect with them, and offer the information they need.
How can conservatives better message their ideas to reach a broader audience?
We need to clearly communicate the heart of the issues, building coalitions with those with whom we agree, even if it's only on a few issues. Don't waste time arguing the other points with those friends and allies. Sometimes terminology has been manipulated so badly by the left that we need to reconsider our vocabulary. The left has used their control of public education and media to demean terms like capitalism. So why keep using the term they've turned into a bad word? Why not go back to calling it free enterprise?
The left has turned a blind eye to the systematic abuse of women promoted by the abortion lobby, and ignored the interests of families by hammering their terminology of "women's reproductive rights". They've managed to divert attention from their huge power and money grab, empowering the human traffickers and bad boys, while turning a deaf ear to the cries of dads whose children were aborted with no say in the tragic decision. We need to tell the human story of people like the man who told one of our canvassers that his wife had aborted each of their three babies against his pleas, weeping as he said he would then never be a dad.
We learned about Nola Wood's accomplishments through the grassroots community. We know that there are others out there like her, but we can’t find them by ourselves. We need YOUR help.
Know someone like Nola who’s fighting for a better Missouri? We want to know about them. Want to share their story. Click HERE to nominate a CONSERVATIVE CHAMPION today!