Pete Riehm of Mobile has been named the new head of the citizen activist group, the Common Sense Campaign (CSC).
Riehm, a commercial real estate agent, will replace longtime head Dr. Lou Campomenosi, who has resigned and is moving back to his home state of Louisiana to live close to family.
Riehm was designated as “Interim CSC President” in a meeting of its board Wednesday in Spanish Fort.
Riehm is retired Navy and was there when CSC was conceived in 2009. He met with retired Col. Glenn Frazier of Daphne at the Canteen of Battleship Alabama. It was Frazier’s idea to start a citizen group pushing limited government.
Frazier was a survivor of the Bataan Death March in World War II. He wrote a book about the march and 3 ½ years of captivity by Japanese forces, “Hell’s Guest.” Frazier died in 2018 at age 94.
Riehm and Frazier quickly grew the group to hundreds.
Riehm told the CSC board that he will seek to establish specific plans of action to tackle issues. He also said he would strive to make CSC a coordinating council for other conservative groups.
He had served as chair of the CSC board since about 2010. He has been the emcee at dozens of CSC rallies.
Riehm writes a weekly column titled “Common Sense.” It runs online on RenewAmerica.com. He has authored the column for eight years.
CSC is a Baldwin-Mobile-based group but became a statewide factor as it sponsored the annual “Welcome Back Rally,” when taxpayers descend on Montgomery yearly to start the legislative session. The rally features conservative speakers outside the Alabama Statehouse around the opening day of regular legislative sessions.
The group also organizes an annual tax day rally around the IRS filing date of April 15.
During its 14 years, the CSC has taken the following actions:
Helped defeat ALDOT’s proposed toll on the I-10 Bayway in 2019. Common Sense’s large citizen rally at Five Rivers Center on the Mobile Bay causeway highlighted citizen opposition to the toll.
Helped defeat statewide Amendment One in 2020. It would have taken away the right to vote on members of the State School Board and made them all appointed by the governor.
Successfully pressured the city of Mobile to abolish new taxpayer-funded positions of liaisons for LGTQ activism.
Successfully backed action by the State School Board that banned Critical Race Theory in Alabama public schools.
Fell short in efforts to pass school choice legislation.
Fell short in efforts to repeal the Common Core standards in Alabama schools.
Fell short on opposition to the 2019 gasoline tax increase of ten cents a gallon.
Citizens wishing to get involved in CSC can contact Riehm at [email protected].
The author, Jim Zeigler, is a retired Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].
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