West, R-Fla., served as the event's keynote speaker.
Freeland, a Mercersburg, Pa., resident, started paying attention to the freshman congressman's interviews in the national media months ago. He was excited to learn West would be visiting Franklin County.
"I think he speaks very directly. He speaks from a good, solid background," Freeland said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said he invited West to attend the event at Green Grove Gardens after the Franklin County GOP asked for assistance in finding a speaker. Shuster and West both serve on the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee as well as a newly formed panel that focuses on defense spending and private businesses.
"He says what he thinks," Shuster said of West. "That's his style, and it works very well."
West, who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years, said he was stationed in Kansas and visited President Dwight D. Eisenhower's childhood home there. In an interview before the event, West said he wanted to highlight Eisenhower's accomplishments before talking about the state of the nation today.
West lamented government leaders encouraging policies that have failed across the world in previous attempts, referencing stimulus packages.
In his first year in office, West said he's learned that "something happens to people's brains" when they cross the Potomac River into Washington, D.C.
GOP voters need to "get active, get engaged" for the 2012 presidential race, West said.
"I think anybody could be strong enough to beat President Obama because his policies are failing," he said.