ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA. | Members of the American Enterprise Institute are as discreet as possible for their annual meetings on Sea Island.


But their collection of big business jets at the McKinnon St. Simons Airport always draws attention, and they were greeted Sunday morning by about 100 picketers, mostly women, opposing their political philosophy as they left the island.

Most of the women were dressed in white and many of them were members of the fairly new Women’s Voices of Glynn County. They stood in groups along Airport Road holding signs.

Jennifer Kohlhoff said there likely would have been more, but “We’re just trying to get organized here.”

They were scattered along the roadway to ensure they covered all the gates the members of the American Enterprise Institute would use to get onto the runway to board their jets, she said.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization is composed mainly of conservative elected officials and leaders of business and industry.

Leigh Kirkland said that an airport businessman “told us we were upsetting the guests,” and that the protest signs were embarrassing.

“We’re embarrassed by the fact they’re here,” she said.

Patricia Jordan, one of six organizers of Women’s Voices, had a different view saying the American Enterprise Institute has every right to meet on Sea Island.

“It has nothing to do with Sea Island or the Cloister,” she said of the private island’s exclusive hotel. “It’s fine. We’re are saying these are our issues.”

There were signs saying, among other things, “Immigrants make America great,” and urging the retention of the Affordable Care Act, continued funding for planned parenthood and other causes of progressives. There were also some that said, “Impeach Trump.”

Jordan said the gathering is not a protest but an effort to get out a message.

“We want health care. We don’t want immigrants to be afraid to be here and [have to] run to Canada,” she said.

Women’s Voices is an effort to build on the recent women’s march in Washington, D.C. and in other cities, Jordan said.

“We have started a huddle. There were six who came together to carry on the spirit of the women’s march,” she said.

They put out a flyer and had 60 at their first public meeting, Jordan said.

Participants were urged to dress in white as women’s suffragettes while demonstrating for the right to vote, Jordan said.

Although some motorists blew their horns and waved, others drove by shouting “Trump” and some made some disagreeable gestures.

Those who attend the conservative American Enterprise Institute meetings typically leave Saturday night and Sunday morning. George W. Bush was said to have attended, although that could not be verified, and left Saturday night. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was on St. Simons through noon Sunday and attended church services.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405