Libertas 37.3 - Fall 2016

Page 1

FALL 2016

In This Issue: Ed & Ursula Meese The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

VOL. 37


NO. 3

December 9, 2016 Dear Friends,


arack Obama leaves office after eight years of working on his goal of “fundamentally transforming America.”

Indeed, much has been transformed. The West is again in retreat. Radical Islam threatens freedom in more places and with increasingly destructive weapons. College students and administrators are focused on getting free tuition and stifling free speech of anyone with a conservative point of view. Superficially, “socialism” is the ideology of choice on our campuses. The appointments of federal judges tilted most appeals courts to the Left, and even “conservative” justices were compromised to assist in imposing Obamacare and redefining “marriage” at the Supreme Court. The IRS tax-exempt division discriminated and harassed Tea Party and conservative organizations without assigning any responsibility to the offending parties. President Trump and Vice President Pence face substantial challenges to blunt international and domestic threats, revive the economy, return to a “Rule of Law,” and protect wage earners whose incomes declined or were confiscated by the IRS and local governments. Much is to be done. However, there would be no Trump Administration, or anything like it in the future, if today’s college and university establishment has its way. To these educators of the next generation, Barack Obama didn’t go far enough in restricting the free exercise of religion, free speech, or in promoting income redistribution. Conservatives must be active in passing on our ideas to young Americans. If we do not, freedom and America as we have known it, will yet be lost.


Ron Robinson President

L IB E RTAS Fall 2016

Volume 37

Number 3


Gingrich, North, D’Souza, and DeMint Headline 38th Annual National Conservative Student Conference

By Clare McKinney, William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar


Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

By Nicole Hoplin, Vice President


Pearce, Yoho, Williams, and Folsom Inspire Students at National High School Leadership Conference

By Madeleine Lucas, William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar


Top College Activist Named National Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom

By Patrick X. Coyle, Vice President


Longtime National Journalism Center Leader Is a Conservative Stalwart on Capitol Hill

By Colin Monaghan, Development Officer


Duffy, D’Souza, and O’Donnell Reach High School Students at the Reagan Ranch Center

By Amy Lutz, Program Officer


Quiet Philanthropy Has Historic Impact: The Story of Dr. Robert Ruhe By Jason Barbour, Director of Development

On the Cover:

Also in This Issue:

Young America’s Foundation has been honored to partner with Ed & Ursula Meese for more than two decades. Their accomplishments, integrity, and dedication to the cause of freedom make them among the Conservative Movement’s—and our country’s—finest leaders. We are honored to profile them in this issue of Libertas.

4 Governor Brownback Headlines ’81 Tax Cut Anniversary Celebration at the Reagan Ranch 5 Rep. Blackburn, Miller, and Donatelli Address Capacity Audience of Capitol Hill Interns 6 Williams, Moore, Tamny, and Thiessen Discuss the “Scam of Socialism” at Road to Freedom Seminar 7 More Than 200 Campuses Participate in the 9/11: Never Forget Project

VOL. 37

FALL 2016


In This Issue: 37

Attorney General Edwin


NO. 3

Libertas, the Latin word for liberty, is a publication of Young America’s Foundation which highlights the programs, events, students, staff, and supporters of the Foundation. You may contact Libertas and Young America’s Foundation by writing to: Young America’s Foundation, National Headquarters, 11480 Commerce Park Drive, Sixth Floor, Reston, Virginia 20191; calling 800-USA-1776; or visiting Editor: Jessica Jensen; Publisher: Ron Robinson; Publication Design: Jonathan Briggs; Assistant Editors: Jolie Ballantyne, Jason Barbour, Amy Brooker, Spencer Brown, Cheri Cerame, Caroline Corazza, Patrick X. Coyle, Nick Frase, Clare Hinshaw, Nicole Hoplin, Emily Jashinsky, Chris Miranda, Colin Monaghan; Washington, D.C. event photographers: David Keith and Bob Updegrove; California event photographer: Jacqueline Pilar. This document and all herein contents, images, stories, graphics, and design, fall unto copyright © 2005 to 2016 Young America’s Foundation, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Any use of Libertas’ content without the written permission of Young America’s Foundation is prohibited.

Young America’s Foundation Board Of Directors Ron Robinson President of the Board Ronald Pearson Vice President of the Board Frank Donatelli Secretary and Treasurer of the Board T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. Wynton C. Hall Peter Schweizer James B. Taylor Thomas L. Phillips Director Emeritus Reagan Ranch Board Of Governors Frank Donatelli Chairman Edwin Meese Co-Chairman Robert F. Agostinelli Governor George Allen Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar John Barletta Dr. Suzanne Becker Lisa M. Buestrin Robert Cummins George & Becky Norton Dunlop Richard Gaby & Barbara Van Andel-Gaby Robert Giuffra, Jr. Timothy S. Goeglein Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold Eric & Nicole Hoplin Marty Irving Harold Knapheide Mark Larson Rebekah Mercer Al Moore Doug & Pat Perry Thomas L. Phillips Rear Admiral JJ Quinn Fred & Ruth Sacher Richard & Jane Schwartz Lee Shannon Craig Shirley Owen & Bernadette Casey Smith Barbara S. Waddell Jay Webber National Journalism Center Board Of Governors T. Kenneth Cribb Jr. Chairman Kellyanne Conway Terry Eastland Rich Lowry Alex Marlow The Honorable Alex Mooney Katie Pavlich Ronald Pearson Matt Robinson Tom Winter Thomas L. Phillips Chairman Emeritus



Governor Brownback Headlines 35th Anniversary Celebration of 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act at Rancho del Cielo On August 13, more than 275 students and supporters gathered on the lawn of Rancho del Cielo for Young America’s Foundation’s special program commemorating the 35th anniversary of the signing of the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act. The annual event, held in conjunction with the Foundation’s High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch, featured Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas. Governor Brownback delivered an impassioned speech, declaring, “We know the way to greatness, we know the path…it’s well-known and Ronald Reagan spoke about it often…faith and family and freedom.” He explained how the 1981 tax cuts—signed into law at the Ranch—led to a “92-month economic boom without recession, the longest period of sustained peacetime economic growth in U.S. history.” The governor also discussed some of the economic reforms he has enacted in his home state of Kansas. Facing a declining economy coupled with a continually declining population, Governor Brownback employed the renowned economist Art Laffer, who played a vital role in the crafting of Reagan’s 1981 legislation. Governor Brownback and his team reduced the state’s top income tax rate of 6.45% to 4.7%. They also decreased the pass-through income tax rate of small businesses from 6.45% to 0%. These reductions have led to

Governor Sam Brownback visits the Reagan Ranch during Young America’s Foundation’s celebration of President Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act.

lower unemployment, the creation of more small businesses, and population growth. Governor Brownback emphasized that Ronald Reagan’s policies and values are not outdated or antiquated. Rather, they can be replicated in this era and lead to the same prosperity and growth we witnessed during the Reagan Revolution. Before the luncheon, Governor Brownback’s deputy communications director, Melika Willoughby, delivered the invocation. Willoughby is an alumna of the Foundation’s High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch, which she told the audience was her “entry point to the intellectual side of conservatism.” At the conclusion of the program, Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson presented Governor Brownback with the Foundation’s “Tax Ax” in recognition of his fiscal leadership in Kansas.

High school students from around the country gather at Rancho del Cielo with Governor Brownback during the 1981 tax cut celebrations.


Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016

Governor Brownback’s deputy communications director, Melika Willoughby—a Foundation alumna—delivers the invocation prior to the governor’s remarks at Rancho del Cielo.



Rep. Blackburn, Miller, and Donatelli Address Capacity Audience of Capitol Hill Interns Young America’s Foundation hosted our annual forum on Capitol Hill to commemorate the life and lasting

accomplishments of President Ronald Reagan. Hundreds of young conservatives—including Capitol Hill interns—gathered in the House of Representatives’ Science and Technology Committee Room to hear from top conservative leaders. The event featured Reagan administration officials James Miller—who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1985 to 1988—and Reagan Ranch Board of Governors Chairman Frank Donatelli, who also served as a top assistant to President Reagan. They were joined by Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who encouraged the students to take up the fight for freedom. Congressman Blackburn agreed with President Reagan’s famous belief that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” She told the audience, “You are all foot soldiers in the fight for freedom.” Congressman Blackburn also reminded students of their duty to fight for their freedoms, noting, “Now, some people put on the uniform, and they go to the battlefield. They fight to preserve that freedom and to preserve freedom’s ability to grow. And then there are others of us, you and I included, who...

Congressman Marsha Blackburn speaks to a capacity audience of Capitol Hill and Conservative Movement interns during the Foundation’s annual Reagan Forum on Capitol Hill.

educate the next generation. We fight to preserve freedom.” She continued, “It is our job to protect freedom, because if we don’t, if a generation gives up on the fight—because it’s too hard, because it’s inconvenient, because you’re busy— then freedom will cease to be. And you know what is such an important thing to realize? The world looks at us. We are the benchmark of freedom. It is us. Totally, completely, entirely us.” Donatelli and Miller shared important stories about their experiences working for President Reagan, shedding light on his character and sense of humor. Attendees enjoyed a lively question and answer session with the panelists, eliciting enlightening answers on a wide variety of topics. Congressman Blackburn had the perfect advice for a University of Missouri student who asked about how to fight for free speech on his campus, telling the young conservative to be bold, unafraid, and to “charge on!”

Reagan Ranch Board of Governors Chairman Frank Donatelli moderates the panel featuring Congressman Blackburn and President Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, James Miller. Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016




Williams, Moore, Tamny, and Thiessen Discuss the “Scam of Socialism” at Road to Freedom Seminar Young America’s Foundation hosted 80 participants at our national headquarters for a special Road to Freedom Seminar: The Scam of Socialism and the Morality of Markets. The first day of the seminar featured Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley of the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics; Foundation alumnus, Washington Post columnist, and former White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen; and economist and professor Dr. Walter Williams who spoke to the students about the importance of personal liberty and economic freedom. “If the Founders were to come back today, they’d be very disappointed,” noted Dr. Williams. “But it’s not too late to wake up.” In addition to the enlightening remarks, the young audience members also enjoyed question and answer sessions with each speaker. The next day, the students heard from Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior counsel, Jordan Lorence; author and columnist Humberto Fontova; and professor and author Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo. Mr. Fontova, a Cuban-American and author of The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro, spoke on the many atrocities committed by Fidel Castro. “Castro committed the biggest scam in modern history…About 50,000 people have died trying to escape Cuba,” Fontova explained to the students. Later in the day, the young leaders learned how to bring

Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova discusses the consequences of socialism and the innocent lives destroyed and lost under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba.

freedom to their campuses during a panel moderated by Young America’s Foundation’s Program Officer for Digital Media Spencer Brown and featuring Foundation Spokeswoman Emily Jashinsky and YAF Chapter Services Program Officer Lauren McCue. Author and Manhattan Institute Fellow Jared Meyer and Forbes Political Economy Editor John Tamny headlined the afternoon sessions. Tamny, who is also a Foundation alumnus, spoke on emerging markets and the incredible growth made possible by the free market. Economist, author, and longtime Foundation speaker Stephen Moore spoke to students about economic growth and the dangers of big government. “Let’s just shut down the Department of Energy,” Moore suggested. “Why don’t we just have a free market in energy?” Each student left the seminar armed with increased knowledge and confidence to promote free enterprise and share the truth about socialism with their peers. “I had the opportunity to hear from prominent conservative economists,” noted Sharan Kumar from Penn State, “and now know how to effectively communicate the fiscally conservative message on my campus.” Students from around the country gather in Dale Phelon Hall at the Foundation’s national headquarters to learn from top economists, authors, and activists at the Road to Freedom seminar.


Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016



More Than 200 Campuses Participate in 9/11: Never Forget Project For 14 years, Young America’s Foundation has worked with college and high school campuses across the country to host the 9/11: Never Forget Project and properly remember the 2,977 innocents murdered by radical Islamists on September 11, 2001. This year, as the nation marked the 15th anniversary of the attacks, young conservatives on more than 200 campuses created fields of American flags to represent each person lost that day. If not for the work of these students, most campuses would ignore the anniversary altogether. Each Never Forget Project display often has a profound impact on those who witness it, and it continues to be the largest campus activism initiative in the country. The 2016 9/11: Never Forget Project earned more than 100 hits from local and national media outlets, including prime time coverage on Fox News and reports in leading national publications such as Yahoo, Townhall, the Drudge Report, and the Daily Caller. Many outlets, including the Detroit News and Red Alert Politics, focused on local Never Forget flag displays, highlighting Young America’s Foundation and the students’ hard work in constructing the memorials. Unfortunately, much coverage stemmed from despicable actions by leftists across the country. Most notably, a professor at Saddleback College destroyed the YAF chapter’s memorial posters. Brit Hume played the video from Saddleback College live on Fox News’s On the Record, bringing national exposure to the professor’s behavior and the YAF chapter’s bold stance for free speech. Students at Occidental College also threw flags from the memorial in the trash. After YAF broke that story, it went viral, earning coverage from a variety of national outlets.

Local high school students gather with community members and Foundation team members to set up a moving 9/11: Never Forget Project flag display on the beach in Santa Barbara, not far from the Reagan Ranch Center.

The Foundation’s 9/11: Never Forget Project at Wingate University helps students reflect on the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

A cadet at The Citadel helps create his school’s Never Forget Project flag memorial.

Students at Choctaw High School in Oklahoma set up this flag display featuring nearly 3,000 flags—one for each innocent life lost on September 11, 2001. Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Gingrich, North, D’Souza, and DeMint Headline 38th Annual National Conservative Student Conference

Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses a capacity audience at Young America’s Foundation’s 2016 National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C.

By Clare McKinney, William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar


n late July, Young America’s Foundation hosted the 38th annual National Conservative Student Conference—the nation’s largest and longest running program of its kind. More than 370 participants enjoyed this inspiring event where they heard from key conservative leaders including Dinesh D’Souza, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ben Shapiro, Bay Buchanan, Senator Jim DeMint, and many others. The young people at this program—the majority of whom were attending their first Foundation event— learned about the principles of free enterprise, a strong national defense, limited government, and traditional values. The conference, held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., also reached beyond the venue, as speeches were streamed live online. A variety of news outlets, including NBC and C-SPAN, also recorded several sessions. The conference began on an energizing note, with a center stage performance from one of country music’s rising stars, Craig Campbell. Students enjoyed an exclusive, private concert by Campbell as well as a meet-and-greet following his show. The first full day of programming offered a multitude of speakers. Activist and television personality Rachel Campos Duffy discussed her role as the national spokesperson for the LIBRE Initiative, an organization that advances the principles and values of economic freedom to empower the Hispanic community in the United States. “Freedom is written on the human heart,” Duffy told the student audience. (Continued on page 10)


Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016

Former CIA operations officer and Foundation alumna Leah Campos offers insights on foreign affairs and threats facing the United States today.

Students Benjamin Bolton from Spring Hill College and Alex Lowman from Virginia Tech join country music artist Craig Campbell on stage during the opening night of the weeklong program.

Lt. Col. Oliver North discusses national security and the United States military during an evening banquet at the National Conservative Student Conference.

Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


(Continued from page 8) The day continued with Dr. Paul Teller, chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, who addressed the importance of standing firm on conservative principles and instructed the young leaders to never be complacent in their beliefs. “You can rock the boat. You can be the agitator and have success,” Teller stated. The speaker line-up continued with Congressman Andy Harris, Princeton University professor of jurisprudence Dr. Robert George, author and Foundation alumna Kate Obenshain, and Lt. Col. Allen West. Lt. Col. West, a conference favorite who previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, left the students with a call to action: “When you go back onto these college campuses, you fight this cultural and philosophical battle.” The day ended with a dinner banquet featuring Senator Rick Santorum, who offered insightful remarks on the importance of the U.S. Constitution. “The Constitution is not who we are. It is how we function. It’s the operation manual,” explained the Senator. “There is no other country in the world where it is stated specifically…that rights come from God.” Students were up early on day two of the conference to hear from Newt Gingrich, 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who opened with remarks about his longtime involvement with Young America’s Foundation: “You are part of a group across the country that changes things…I have talked to this group for years. You are the leadership of the future.” Talk radio host Dennis Prager then addressed the young audience and later aired his radio program live from The George Washington University. During his on-air broadcast, Prager shared his enthusiasm for the Foundation: Welcome to the Dennis Prager Show coming to you from Washington, D.C., where I just spoke to the Young America’s Foundation…students were there from all over the country, at campuses all over the country, and this is a great Foundation, committed to ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas that make America tick. They give you hope! The day continued with equally inspiring remarks from 67th Governor of Virginia George Allen, Townhall editor and Foundation alumna Katie Pavlich, Manhattan Institute Fellow Jared Meyer, and British Member of Parliament Conor Burns. The line-up also included Regnery Publishing President Marji Ross, Conservative Book Club Editor-in-Chief Chris Malagisi, and author Tevi Troy, who participated in a panel discussion on great conservative books. Senator Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, headlined the evening’s dinner banquet, addressing the dangers of the next generation embracing socialism. He explained that the free market—not (Continued on page 12) 10

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(From left) Trevor Wiegert from the University of Nebraska – Kearney, Daniel Shively from Oklahoma Christian University, and John Clayton from Texas A&M make like-minded friends and hear from top conservative leaders during the conference in our nation’s capital.

Senator Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, speaks on the dangers of socialism and what conservative students can do to share the importance of freedom with their peers.

National Review Editor Rich Lowry meets with conference attendees following his remarks at the closing dinner banquet. (From left: Elissa Manalo from The King’s College, Emily Hensler from Liberty University, Rich Lowry, Diego Rebollar from The George Washington University, and Joseph Ballard from the University of Alabama.)

Dr. Burt Folsom—the Foundation’s longest-serving faculty member—engages the student audience in a discussion on the importance of the free market.

Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


(Continued from page 10) collectivism—leads to economic growth and prosperity, and history has proven so. “We are sliding towards socialism, and it is competing with freedom,” the Senator warned the young audience. “We are for decentralized control of our lives and economy. This allows us to be truly free, to have a dignity of serving or striving to be self-reliant—to use our God-given abilities to try, to fail, and to keep on trying until we succeed.” The third day of the annual conference featured bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza, Congressman Alex Mooney—who previously served as executive director of the Foundation’s National Journalism Center—and Bay Buchanan, 37th treasurer of the United States. Buchanan spoke candidly to students about standing up for their beliefs. “Being American is a great privilege, but this privilege does not come without great responsibilities,” she said. “So start doing everything you can to preserve the sacred fire of liberty in this nation.” The day wrapped up with remarks from National Review writer and attorney David French, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute Program Director Laurel Conrad, and commentator and talk show host Ben Shapiro. One of the most highly anticipated speakers, Shapiro has become a favorite amongst students for boldly stating facts and speaking openly on the issues. The lively speaker discussed “Black Lives Matter” and the increasing anti-police sentiment, stating, “I don’t believe in White America. I don’t believe in Black America. I believe in good and bad people and that’s of every race.” That evening concluded with a moving dinner banquet address from Lt. Col. Oliver North, who shared his firsthand accounts of his experience in the U.S. Marine Corps. North captivated the students with his stories of military service, his thoughts on the foreign threats facing our nation, and his hope for the future of America. “The purpose of a military is just this: it is there to deter war and to win one if you have to have it,” North told the audience. The weeklong conference wrapped up with a slate of dynamic speakers. Author and history professor Dr. Burt Folsom, who has addressed this conference for more than three decades, delivered two energizing sessions on how American entrepreneurs and limited government helped bring about much economic and industrial growth for our nation in the the late 1800s. Students also learned from Family Research Council’s Cathy Ruse, former CIA operations officer and Foundation alumna Leah Campos, Director of Jihad Watch Robert Spencer, Young America’s Foundation Vice President Patrick X. Coyle, and writer and blogger Matt Walsh. The closing dinner featured National Review Editor Rich Lowry, who shared his views on the current state of conservatism in our country. Referencing Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” Lowry told the future leaders, “When (Continued on page 14) 12

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Rachel Wood from the University of California, San Diego enjoys meeting popular Foundation speaker Ben Shapiro following his speech at the National Conservative Student Conference.

Lt. Col. Allen West delivers a passionate address, encouraging the young audience to fight the “cultural and philosophical battle” on their campuses.

Students gather around longtime Foundation speaker and activist Bay Buchanan following her energizing speech on the importance of strong leadership.

Cecilia Sui from Lipscomb University listens to one of more than 30 speakers addressing the 2016 National Conservative Student Conference.

Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


(Continued from page 12) you’re on that hill, be bold, be fearless, and be righteous.” As the conference concluded, the students left empowered by the information they learned and excited to make a difference on their campuses. They also made like-minded friends from around the country, ensuring they know they are not alone as they advance freedom at their schools and beyond. “I’ve heard from so many incredible speakers this week and have been able to connect with young people who will restore

“The 2016 NCSC was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The quantity and quality of all the speakers this week outweighed all of the public policy thinkers I have heard over my academic experience...” Foundation alumna and bestselling author Katie Pavlich, who got her start in the Conservative Movement at a Foundation conference, encourages the young audience to stand strong for their beliefs on campus.

Talk radio host Dennis Prager addresses the young audience before hosting his radio program live from the National Conservative Student Conference.


Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016

America’s former glory. I truly believe America’s best days are still ahead,” noted student Elisa Seegmiller from Idaho. Lynn Sementilli from New York echoed these sentiments: “The 2016 NCSC was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The quantity and quality of all the speakers this week outweighed all of the public policy thinkers I have heard over my academic experience...”

Marlena Haddad from Naugatuck Valley Community College participates in one of the many question and answer sessions following a speaker’s remarks at the 2016 National Conservative Student Conference.

Princeton University Professor Dr. Robert George speaks on the importance of preserving and protecting traditional marriage.

Dates Just Announced: 2017 REAGAN RANCH GETAWAY WEEKENDS When

You are cordially invited to an exclusive

weekend getaway at Ronald Reagan’s mountaintop home, Rancho del Cielo, in Santa Barbara, California. You will be joined by an intimate group of six other couples from around the country for a weekend experience hosted by Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson and his wife, Michelle Easton.

2017 retreat dates March 17 to 19 June 23 to 25 September 22 to 24

you arrive in Santa Barbara, your every need will be met based on an all-inclusive price, including: • Complimentary transportation to the Biltmore Four Seasons Resort (from Santa Barbara airport) • Reagan Ranch Roundtable luncheon featuring a notable conservative leader • Two-night, five-star accommodations at the historic, oceanfront Biltmore Four Seasons Resort • VIP visit experience at Ronald Reagan’s “Western White House,” Rancho del Cielo • Behind-the-scenes tour of the Reagan Ranch Center and Exhibit Gallery • All meals including two luncheons, two receptions, two dinners, and a full breakfast • Trolley tour of historic downtown Santa Barbara, including the 19th century Santa Barbara Mission

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at (336)286-1701.

Ed & Ursula Meese:

The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement By Nicole Hoplin, Vice President


hile sitting in a bustling restaurant in Sofia, Bulgaria, Edwin Meese III leaned over and responded with the words we have heard him say so many times before, “Sure,” he said. “If you think it would make a difference, I’m happy to do it.” When it comes to Young America’s Foundation and the Reagan Ranch, we would be hard pressed to remember a time when Attorney General Ed Meese and his wife of 57 years, Ursula, turned down an opportunity to strengthen our efforts. From co-chairing the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, to speaking on our annual cruises to addressing students at our conferences and lectures across the country and representing Young America’s Foundation in important meetings and events, the Meeses’ commitment, counsel, and friendship are truly unmatched. Mr. Meese says he is busier now that he is “retired” than he has ever been. It’s easy to see when you realize why he was in Sofia, Bulgaria, representing the Reagan Ranch. Mr. Meese boarded a plane bound for Bulgaria’s capital in order to review a newly created monument of Ronald Reagan. In 2005, two 16

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young Bulgarians had come to the Reagan Ranch for a retreat with other conservatives from around the world. Ronald Reagan was their hero because of all he did to expand freedom and end totalitarianism in their country. When they got back to Bulgaria, they initiated the process

When asked who he would first turn to in a crisis, Ronald Reagan answered quickly, “Ed Meese.” to build this important memorial in Sofia. Mr. Meese represented Young America’s Foundation along with Vice President Andrew Coffin on the jury of individuals who ultimately selected an artist with the significant responsibility of recreating Reagan’s likeness. It was one trip of many Mr. Meese has made around the world to support and advocate for those who suffered on the opposite side of freedom. Mr.

Meese had been personally involved in waging the Cold War alongside the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Ed Meese grew up in California. In 1850, Mr. Meese’s great grandfather came to the U.S. from Germany and arrived in California by covered wagon to work as a carpenter and helped establish the first Lutheran Church in the state. He speaks highly of his upbringing and his parents’ commitment to faith, service, and hard work—traditions that impacted him and influenced his own work habits. As a young boy, he and his brothers wrote and published a newsletter, putting the earnings toward the purchase of war bonds. He met his wife, Ursula, in a forensics club in high school— though the two didn’t marry until eleven years later in 1959, when they would become a team who helped lead the Conservative Movement for more than 50 years. As a child, Ursula lived in New York with her mother and father, a West Point graduate. Her father spent part of his early career in finance but also stayed active as the head of the Army Reserve in the Niagara Falls area. It was (Continued on page 18)

Ed and Ursula Meese visit the Reagan Ranch with their daughter, Dana Mlikotin, son-in-law, Marko, and grandchildren Olivia and Alec.

Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

Attorney General Meese addresses students at Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C.

(Continued from page 16) at this post when news of Pearl Harbor erupted. Her father was immediately called to Washington, D.C., to serve on Brigadier General Eisenhower’s staff. Eisenhower had just been appointed by Army Chief of Staff Marshall to the War Plans Division in charge of preparing the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe. The two men had known one another from their days at West Point. Ursula recalls being involved in the Girl Scouts when she lived in Washington, D.C. The girls took turns 18

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hosting the meeting at their homes. Ursula remembers the anticipation building up to the time when fellow Girl Scout Mary Hopkins would host. Mary’s father, Harry, was a close advisor to President Roosevelt, and they lived in a small apartment over the garage at the White House. Mary’s turn to host meant a Girl Scouts’ meeting at the White House! But Ursula was not so sure about going. Ursula’s mother spent a lot of time and effort trying to defeat President Roosevelt and elect Wendell

Wilkie in 1940. When Ursula announced to her mother that she would be staying home from the meeting to avoid the Roosevelts, her mother replied, “No dear, you must go. You’ll never get close to the White House again!” Little did Ursula’s mother know how much time the Meeses would spend at the White House years later. In 1945, after the war, Ursula’s family moved to California where General Omar Bradley assigned her father to manage a veterans hospital. A few years

Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson speaks with Attorney General Meese at the Foundation’s 1991 National Conservative Student Conference.

later, President Eisenhower appointed him postmaster in Oakland, California, the place she would eventually meet her future husband, Ed Meese. Ursula graduated from the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in 1954 with a degree in psychology, having earned the “outstanding woman” award. She was one of a few young women at Radcliffe-Harvard’s Business School, earning a certificate of business administration—the only level allowed at the time for a woman at Harvard.

Ed Meese describes his fortune in attending Yale University on scholarship. While there, he was the president of the Yale Political Union and chairman of the conservative group at Yale and the Yale Debating Association. He also joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Meese served his country well in the Army, retiring from the Army Reserve as a colonel in 1984. It was in the Army that he got experience as an attorney, trying cases after just one year of law school at Berkeley.

Upon finishing active duty in the Army, Meese returned to Oakland to finish law school. It was then that the two married. Ursula served as a deputy probation officer in Oakland and remained so for ten years, specializing in child neglect and custody issues, while her husband worked in the district attorney’s office. Ed Meese came to the attention of Governor Reagan in 1966, when campus leftists wreaked havoc with political disruptions at UC Berkeley. As a deputy district attorney, just Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

Ed Meese enjoys a day at the Reagan Ranch with friends John Barletta, President Reagan’s longest-serving Secret Service agent, and Judge Bill Clark, who also served as co-chair of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors.

35 years old, Mr. Meese worked tirelessly to solve the unrest at the school—an effort garnering significant involvement from Governor Reagan. Shortly after, Mr. Meese landed the job of Governor Reagan’s legal secretary. It was a position that led to a lifetime of friendship and service. In 1968, he became Governor Reagan’s chief of staff because Reagan admired Meese’s “sheer ability and brainpower.” After Ronald Reagan’s second term as governor ended, Mr. Meese became a law professor at 20

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the University of San Diego where he directed the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management. When Ronald Reagan began his journey to become the leader of the Free World, Ed Meese stood by his side during the campaign and led the transition team to build the administration. In January 1981, the Meeses moved with their children to Washington, D.C., where he became the counsellor to President Reagan, having an office in the West Wing and sitting as part of the Cabinet and the

National Security Council. In this capacity, Meese served as President Reagan’s chief policy advisor. When asked who he would first turn to in a crisis, Ronald Reagan answered quickly, “Ed Meese.” Having gained the reputation of an effective and reliable advisor, President Reagan turned to Mr. Meese once again in 1985 when he appointed him to become the 75th Attorney General of the United States, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. In his position leading the Justice

Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

Ed and Ursula Meese meet with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during Young America’s Foundation’s 2011 Rawhide Circle retreat in Santa Barbara, California.

Department, Mr. Meese received the Government Executive magazine’s annual award for excellence in management. After his service in the Reagan administration, Mr. Meese began service to the Heritage Foundation as its first Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in 1988. He later directed the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies from its founding in 2001 until 2013. Today, he is the think tank’s Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus, where

he continues to serve as Heritage Foundation’s ambassador within the Conservative Movement and on special projects. He is also the author or co-author of three books including Leadership, Ethics and Policing; Making America Safer; and With Reagan: The Inside Story. While Mr. Meese’s career in public service had him working long hours, so too, did Ursula Meese serve her family and country in various capacities. Mrs. Meese chaired the

Ambassador’s Ball in 1982 and raised more than $250,000 (more than $600,000 today) for Multiple Sclerosis—the largest sum in its history up to that date. Mrs. Meese also became the executive director of the William Moss Institute, a philanthropic organization dedicated to studying the problems of life in the future and attitudes and concerns of people. She has served on the boards of several organizations, including American University, Marymount Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement

Attorney General Meese speaks at Calvin College in 1992 as part of a Young America’s Foundation lecture organized by student leader Bill Huizenga, who now serves as a member of Congress, representing Michigan’s second district.

University, and the World USO. She also serves on the Board of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute to encourage and inspire young conservative women, having been a friend of the accomplished writer, playwright, diplomat, and leader. There are so many stories of service to share but their work to reach young people, especially, is particularly meaningful. Appearing in front of a student audience was a priority for Ronald Reagan who often spoke to young people worldwide at Moscow 22

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State University, Notre Dame, Fudan University, and elsewhere. What better way to engage with the nation’s most impressionable minds than to dress up like the Easter Bunny for the annual Easter Egg Roll during the Reagan administration! “The Meester Bunny” as Ursula Meese was affectionately called, giggles as she fondly recollects dressing in costume and rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn for seven seasons. Just as Ronald Reagan recognized, “There is no better way to establish

hope for the future than to enlighten young minds,” so too does Mr. Meese look past the often hostile campus environment to share our ideas with future leaders. Mr. Meese routinely appears at Young America’s Foundation’s national conferences and on campuses, conveying topics such as the leadership lessons of Ronald Reagan, Original Intent, or the U.S. Constitution. For years, Mr. Meese crisscrossed the country to speak to young people at colleges and universities. He

Ed & Ursula Meese: The Indispensable Couple of the Conservative Movement addressed several thousand students High School Leadership Conference in to be held at the Reagan Ranch for at Pepperdine University, University of Washington, D.C., a few years ago. college students; and more. Virginia, and the University of Illinois Additionally, as the co-chairman of Our team was also humbled to host Champaign. He spoke at Boston the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, the Meeses’ impressive son, West Point College, Michigan State, and St. Olaf Mr. Meese regularly speaks at Young graduate and former head of its social College. He traveled to the University America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch sciences department, Brigadier General of Mississippi, Swarthmore, Babson, Center, continuing to promote the Michael Meese, along with his wife and Canisius, Colgate, and Concordia. All accomplishments, values, and ideas two children, as well as their daughter, told, Mr. Meese has visited Dana, and her family at the more than 50 campuses for Reagan Ranch. Young America’s Foundation. The Meeses have five In 1992, Young America’s grandchildren and two greatFoundation President Ron grandchildren—with a third Robinson accompanied on the way—living in states Attorney General Meese to from California to Virginia… Calvin College, a small liberal just a few more reasons for arts school in Grand Rapids, the Meeses to hop on yet Michigan, and remembers the another plane to do what they unfolding drama, which was can to help. and still is all too common. Mr. Meese certainly has A budding young done more in his career organizer had worked for than many men have done weeks to promote Mr. Meese’s combined. Still today, his appearance among his peers. involvement continues on The evening before the the Trump transition, leading Ursula Meese loyally serves as the Easter Bunny at the White House Easter event, professors organized a the management and budget Egg Roll—a role she gladly held for seven seasons, earning her the name the “teach in” to protest Meese’s team. Someone once said “Meester Bunny.” speech—before they heard of Ed Meese: “If there is an it—to suppress attendance. of Ronald Reagan. As a leader within indispensable man in the Conservative Mr. Meese gave a riveting the Reagan Ranch, Mr. Meese’s wise Movement, [he] is Ed Meese. He is presentation to the student audience of counsel guides important decisions the glue that holds us together, just as 200 on law and the Constitution and related to the preservation of this he held the Reagan Revolutionaries then sat down with that young club priceless historic treasure. together in the 1980s. He has earned organizer over dinner to encourage Under his tenure and that of the moral stature to ask us all…to him. The club’s leader, Bill Huizenga, Chairman Frank Donatelli and the work for the greater good of the cause.” went on to host another YAF lecture late Co-Chairman Bill Clark, the And today that greater good featuring the late great journalist Board authorized the creation of includes sharing Reagan’s vision for the Robert Novak. Today, Mr. Huizenga Freedom Wall and Freedom Sanctuary world with young people, including is a Member of Congress representing to recognize the patriots who have those here in our own country and in Michigan’s second district. He also contributed to this effort; acquired and places like Bulgaria. speaks to YAF audiences just as Mr. built the state-of-the-art Reagan Ranch Just as Ronald Reagan chose to work Meese spoke to him and even sends his Center in downtown Santa Barbara; with YAF to reach young people, so too own children to our programs. identified key leaders and stakeholders did Ronald Reagan select Ed Meese as We’d like to think that the Meeses whose involvement was critical; secured a proven partner to achieve his policy value our work with young people, too, the property from fire and other threats; goals for America. And in carrying on enough to entrust family members to made critical policy decisions including Ronald Reagan’s work, we are privileged our care. We were honored to have their the rejection of all coerced taxpayer to work alongside Ed and Ursula Meese granddaughter, Rebecca, at our National dollars; created important conferences in continuing these important efforts. Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Pearce, Yoho, Williams, and Folsom Inspire Students at National High School Leadership Conference By Madeleine Lucas, William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar


ore than 115 eager participants made their way to Chevy Chase, Maryland, for Young America’s Foundation’s 19th Gratia Houghton Rinehart National High School Leadership Conference. Sixty-five percent of the students were attending their first Foundation program, and the returning students also arrived with great enthusiasm. Representing 25 different states and 82 unique high schools, the students enjoyed three days filled with incredible speakers, encouragement, and inspiration for bold campus activism. Well-known Hollywood actress and Fox News contributor Stacey Dash opened the conference at the first evening banquet. Dash shared her difficult life journey, emotionally describing her struggles—from growing up with drugaddicted parents to receiving incredible backlash for coming out as a conservative in Hollywood. Sean McGarrity, a rising junior at the Episcopal Academy, remarked, “I really enjoyed Stacey Dash’s speech because she talked about fighting battles and remaining true to your beliefs.” The first full day of the conference featured popular Foundation speaker Bay Buchanan, the 37th treasurer of the United States. “Being conservative means we believe in principles, and these principles are permanent,” she told the students. “They don’t change with the times.”

Dr. Walter Williams, a longtime faculty member at the Foundation’s programs, delivers an insightful speech on the economic policies which have made America prosperous.


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Buchanan encouraged the students to become passionate about an issue and change hearts and minds through perseverance, principle, and heartfelt debate. Ally Parmele, a student at Westlake High School, shared her enthusiasm for this message: “Bay Buchanan was amazing because she reminded me to always stick up for my values and spread what I believe in.” Esteemed economist Dr. Walter Williams spoke about the economic freedom that allowed America to become the most prosperous nation in history, providing an eloquent condemnation of the expansion of the federal government and excessive taxation. Laurel Conrad, YAF alumna and program director for the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, followed, providing a compelling platform for getting more conservative women active and engaged in the Movement. Foundation staff members Emily Jashinsky, Lauren McCue, and Spencer Brown, all of whom ran successful Young Americans for Freedom chapters at their universities, offered advice to the students on choosing the right college. Following the panel, YAF alumnus Mike Waller spoke on foreign policy issues, specifically referring to the closing line of YAF’s founding document, The Sharon Statement: “American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?” (Continued on page 26)

Caroline Lindsey from Saint Joseph High School engages with a speaker during one of the question and answer sessions held during the conference.

Congressman Ted Yoho of Florida discusses the importance of American exceptionalism.

Actress Stacey Dash shares her personal story of struggle and success as a conservative in the film industry.

Young people from around the country travel to our nation’s capital for Young America’s Foundation’s 19th Gratia Houghton Rinehart National High School Leadership Conference.

High school students enjoy author and history professor Dr. Burt Folsom’s enlightening speech on the entrepreneurs who helped build and grow our nation’s economy more than a century ago.

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(Continued from page 24) Congressman Ted Yoho of Florida then addressed the conference, speaking about the real privilege that exists in this country: our unprecedented freedom and opportunity. “If you were born in America,” Yoho said, “you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, because you were born in the land of opportunity.” Later that evening, the students enjoyed a bull session with Dr. Paul Teller, Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s chief of staff. The students brought forward the questions and issues that concerned them most, and Teller offered intelligent and personal feedback. The final day of the conference featured Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle who inspired the students to get active on their campuses and boldly use their right of free speech to spread and defend conservative principles. Tim Goeglein, Reagan Ranch Board of Governors member and vice president of Focus on the Family, gave a heartfelt address, stressing that government is not the family, and that we must preserve the family because it is the core of our society. Young America’s Foundation conference veteran Dr. Burt Folsom educated the students on the history of entrepreneurship and free enterprise in this country. Highlighting the incredible stories of inventors and businessmen hidden from mainstream classrooms, Folsom reminded the students, “You have knowledge they don’t have because nobody ever taught it to them.” Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson helped the students explore what the basic principles of conservatism are, engaging in an interactive discussion with the audience. “Your generation has to vigorously defend your free speech rights or you’re going to lose them,” he advised the young audience. The final speaker of the conference, Congressman Steve Pearce, shared personal stories about his work standing up for average citizens and fighting for their freedoms. The congressman challenged the students with the same mission. “Every single one of you will have to be points of light,” he stressed. “Evil will triumph unless you stand up.” On their final night, the students enjoyed a twilight tour of Washington, D.C., where they took in the incredible power of the World War II memorial, stood before the majestic statue of President Lincoln, and watched the American flags waving near the base of the Washington Monument. The students left equipped with knowledge and inspiration to bring change to their schools. Beatrice Hammett from Bowie High School, said, “I cannot wait to bring these new ideas and this energy back to my liberal school. I feel enlightened and filled with hope that I can make a difference and really be an activist for the Conservative Movement.”


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Students enjoy a twilight tour of the National Mall to conclude the 2016 Gratia Houghton Rinehart National High School Leadership Conference.

Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico takes a photo with Conference Director Jolie Ballantyne.

Activist and author Bay Buchanan explains the importance of advancing conservatism through passionate and informed dialogue and debate.

Paul Teller, who recently served as Senator Ted Cruz’s chief of staff, hosts a late night “bull session” with the high school students during which the group discussed a wide array of topics and current events.

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Top College Activist Named National Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom By Patrick X. Coyle, Vice President


rant Strobl, one of the nation’s top conservative student activists, is now the leader of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)—Young America’s Foundation’s chapter affiliate and the iconic youth group founded by 100 young conservatives in 1960 at the home of William F. Buckley Jr. Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson named Strobl, who currently serves as YAF chapter leader at the University of Michigan, national chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors. Strobl assumes this key position just as the number of Young Americans for Freedom chapters is surging across the country. Strobl is especially suited to lead YAF moving forward, as he has been building strong chapters since he was 16 years old. While a student at Grosse Pointe North High School, Strobl launched a YAF chapter in 2011,

In 2014, as a high school student, Grant Strobl hosted Steve Forbes in front of 1,300 students and community members. (Pictured left to right: Forbes, Strobl, and Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle.)

having discovered Young Americans for Freedom by searching for conservative youth groups online. He quickly worked to spread conservatism at his school by participating in various YAF initiatives, including the 9/11: Never Forget Project, Freedom Week, and No More Che Day. Strobl was not shy about standing

Strobl organized the Foundation’s 9/11: Never Forget Project in 2013—an activism initiative he has participated in every year since becoming involved with YAF.


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up for his free speech rights, even as a teenager. When his principal refused to allow him to post flyers highlighting the mainstream media’s hypocrisy in their treatment of conservative women, Strobl worked with Young America’s Foundation to bring the story to the national media. He then successfully lobbied his local school board to change district policy to allow CEO Steve Forbes to speak in front of a full high school assembly of more than 1,300 attendees. Today, as a junior at the University of Michigan, Strobl has built a strong YAF chapter, which has made its presence known on campus and nationwide. During his freshman year, Strobl was victorious in reversing school administrators’ ban of an on-campus screening of American Sniper. Strobl has also organized some of the largest events on campus, including a debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Bill Ayers, which was streamed to a nationwide audience of tens of

thousands. Fox News and other national media outlets have featured Strobl’s stalwart activism and campus victories for free speech. But Grant Strobl’s activism does not end with him alone. The young activist has been the reason many of his classmates and peers—both in high school and in college—have learned more about the enduring principles of the Conservative Movement. Throughout his involvement with the Foundation, Strobl has recruited busloads of students to attend Foundation seminars and conferences at the Reagan Ranch, in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. And with two years left as an undergraduate in Michigan, Strobl has added to his duties by speaking at Foundation seminars—teaching new YAF activists how to effectively build and promote their clubs. As a leader who is on campus every day, he understands the challenges conservative students face. “Student activists need student leaders,” said Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson. “The responsibility that comes with the chairmanship of YAF, including its multi-million dollar budget and network of thousands of activists, makes Grant the most important undergraduate in the country—a role for which he is remarkably well-prepared.” On his appointment, Strobl remarked, “Young Americans for Freedom is the foremost youth outreach organization in the Conservative Movement with a rich history. It is an incredible honor to be named chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors, and I am excited to work with other board members to grow YAF and expand the Movement. As a current college student, I believe that my generation will be the conservative generation, and I am determined that YAF will make it so.” Young America’s Foundation congratulates Grant Strobl on his many accomplishments thus far, and we look forward to reporting on the success and growth of Young Americans for Freedom under his leadership.

Grant Strobl shares stories of his campus activism during a special panel at the Foundation’s 2016 Rawhide Circle retreat in Santa Barbara, California.

Strobl meets with Foundation Program Officer Amy Lutz at the Reagan Ranch Center and receives his 2015 Club 100 certificate, recognizing him as one of the top campus activists in the nation. Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016




Longtime National Journalism Center Leader Is a Conservative Stalwart on Capitol Hill By Colin Monaghan, Development Officer Congressman Alex Mooney served as executive director of Young America’s Foundation’s National Journalism Center for five years before being elected to the United States House of Representatives.

“The President does not make the law. Congress makes the law!” These words—spoken by Congressman Alex Mooney of

the voices of millions of Americans desperate for their pubic officials to return to the constitutional, limited-government principles of America’s Founders. West Virginia’s second congressional district at Young America’s First elected to Congress in 2014, Representative Mooney Foundation’s 38th annual National Conservative Student has heard this call and, in his first term in the U.S. House Conference—may sound obvious to anyone with a passing of Representatives, has been unfailing in his defense of familiarity with the United States Constitution. But, in an era conservative values. He has never leaned on the crutch of of out-of-control spending and lawless government, they echo “divided government” as an excuse to compromise on matters of principle— defending the unborn, protecting the Second Amendment, or fighting to expand the free market. With the largest Congressional majority in generations, he says, “Congress needs to be more assertive. It is crucial that we use the power of the purse.” Though just a freshman member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Mooney’s career spans more than two decades in the Conservative Movement. As a student at Dartmouth College, he joined a pro-life group and stood boldly on campus to advocate for the unborn. “While most of my classmates may have disagreed with my pro-life views, at least they saw that there was someone out there fighting for innocent babies.” At the young age of 26, Mooney canvassed neighborhoods, knocked on doors, and met with voters face-to-face in a successful campaign for a state senate seat. He served as a Maryland state senator for 12 years, where he fought for lower taxes for his Congressman Mooney addresses students at the Foundation’s 2015 National Conservative Student constituents and never backed down from a Conference in Washington, D.C. 30

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fight, even when in the minority. Mooney’s all-too-rare commitment to both public service and principle comes from his parents, Lala and Vincent, who he says “had the most profound impact on my life and gave me the strong conservative values I champion today.” His family’s heritage and history have proven to be invaluable in the development of his conservative philosophy. Mooney explains, “My mother is an immigrant from Cuba, and my father served in Vietnam. My parents always taught me to fight for our freedoms. I felt the way that I could best defend conservative values and our freedoms was by serving in public office. I feel compelled to continue to serve because I fear that our freedoms are being eroded, and I fear what type of country we are going to leave for our children and grandchildren.” Congressman Mooney also recognizes the urgency of sharing the conservative message with young people today. In addition to speaking to student groups at Young America’s Foundation events, including the National Conservative Student Conference, Mooney served as the executive director of YAF’s National Journalism Center (NJC) for more than five years, and he currently serves on the NJC Board Congressman Mooney meets with the National Journalism Center’s 2016 summer interns before addressing the young journalists during a special luncheon on Capitol Hill. of Governors. Since 1977, thousands of alumni in many of the top print, radio, and television media aspiring journalists have graduated from NJC’s prestigious outlets across the country, and NJC graduates have published 12-week internship program, which is unlike any journalism more than 100 books. training program in the country. NJC interns are trained Outside of his Congressional duties, Mooney remains very in the skills of responsible, truth-seeking journalism and committed to his family and spends most of his time with his are placed at premier media outlets where they work and wife and three young children. Even during these moments, publish stories four days per week. They also learn from top he never loses sight of the country he wants to leave for his journalists and conservative leaders in weekly classroom kids and knows that young people have an indispensible role sessions. to play in preserving our precious freedoms. As a previous leader of NJC and now U.S. Congressman, To them, he urges, “Never relent in your principles even Mooney knows better than most the importance of ensuring a in the face of adversity. Sometimes you will face pushback for conservative voice in a media environment dominated by the being such a steadfast conservative but never back down in Left. “The National Journalism Center is a difference-maker in standing for what you believe.” the media world. It has helped advance not only conservative Congressman Alex Mooney can speak these words with journalism but also brought more balance to mainstream credibility because he has lived them throughout his life-long reporting.” fight for conservative ideas. Thanks in part to Mooney’s leadership, there are now NJC Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Duffy, D’Souza, and O’Donnell Reach High School Students at the Reagan Ranch Center By Amy Lutz, Program Officer

Rachel Campos Duffy addresses the principles of conservatism.


his summer, students from sixteen different states and the District of Columbia met in Santa Barbara for an exciting weekend at the High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch. The popular program did not disappoint the young participants. “I have grown so much in these short three days,” remarked Meagan Rasmussen from Concordia High School in Nebraska. “Thank you for believing in the future of our country and vowing to preserve America through us!” The conference opened with an evening banquet featuring New York Times bestselling author and filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza spoke to students about the importance of fighting for and preserving the principles of the American founding. “In America, you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life,” said D’Souza as he encouraged the students to advance conservative principles. Homeschooled student Michael Noriega remarked that D’Souza “shared information that will allow us to hold the torch of freedom higher than before.” The next morning, students participated in breakout sessions on the tenets of conservatism. Foundation Spokeswoman Emily Jashinsky then led a discussion on the same topic. “Nobody is fighting harder for free speech than you,” Jashinsky told the high school activists. The attendees also enjoyed a panel on campus activism featuring students and recent graduates, including Foundation Program Officer Lauren McCue, high school activist Hannah Payne, and Young America’s Foundation intern Isabella Foxen. Following the panel, students joined Foundation supporters for the Wendy P. McCaw Reagan Ranch (Continued on page 35) 32

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Author and historian Patrick O’Donnell signs copies of his book following his luncheon address at the Reagan Ranch Center.

Students enjoy a special luncheon during the high school program at the Reagan Ranch Center.

Young people from around the country gather at Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center for a summer high school conference featuring key conservative leaders.

Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza explains the importance of defending and promoting American exceptionalism. Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016


Students from around the country make like-minded friends at the Foundation’s high school conference in California.

High school conference attendees enjoy a special trolley tour of historic Santa Barbara during the weekend-long program.


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Author Robert Spencer discusses radical Islam and the dangers of not recognizing the threats it poses to our nation.

Student Margo Weller from Pennsylvania participates in a group discussion on the tenets of conservatism.

Foundation alumnus and entrepreneur Chris Garcia meets with the high school students and explains why the free market is an essential tool for economic success.

(Continued from page 32) Roundtable luncheon featuring author and military historian Patrick O’Donnell. O’Donnell regaled the audience with fascinating stories from our country’s rich history. He shared many stories of our country’s brave military, stating, “The American public doesn’t have a clue in most cases of the sacrifices [our soldiers] have made.” O’Donnell encouraged the audience to “look at the veterans in your own family and capture their history.” Students then heard from retired Secret Service agent and President Reagan’s protector and friend John Barletta. He told stories of his time with the President, comparing Ronald Reagan’s character with that of many office-holders today. “When things went right, President Reagan gave all the credit to his staff. When things went wrong, he took all the blame.” Later, when a student asked Barletta about his favorite memory from his days protecting Ronald Reagan, he replied, “Every single day.” The students enjoyed a trolley tour through beautiful Santa Barbara before returning to the Reagan Ranch Center for a dinner banquet with Dr. Dave Newton. Dr. Newton spoke on the recent “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom before discussing the history of American taxes. The next morning, students heard from former LIBRE Initiative Spokeswoman Rachel Campos Duffy, who addressed the principles of conservatism and how they contrast with leftist ideas. “Conservatives think the word ‘fairness’ is associated with equality of opportunity,” she told the young audience. Following the conference, Campos Duffy posted on Facebook that the high school students made her “so hopeful for the future.” Students then heard from professors Dr. Jake Jacobs and Dr. Larry Schweikart who both spoke on American history and the triumph of conservative principles throughout time. The professors also impressed upon students the important example of leadership set by President Ronald Reagan. After lunch, author Robert Spencer warned the audience about the dangers of radical Islam and the importance of recognizing it. “If you can’t call things by their right names, then you’re never going to get anywhere,” he explained. Later, Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle educated students about the Reagan model of activism and how to enact it at their schools. Foundation alumnus and entrepreneur Chris Garcia rounded out the day telling students his story of success. “The United States is the ultimate startup,” said Garcia. The students returned home, excited to become more active at their own schools. More than half of the students said they were interested in starting their own Young Americans for Freedom chapters. Arik Schneider from Parkhurst Academy in California stated, “This particular conference has enabled me to meet movers and shakers in the Conservative Movement and get ideas for growing my YAF chapter.” Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016




Quiet Philanthropy Has Historic Impact: The Story of Dr. Robert Ruhe By Jason Barbour, Director of Development

“He wouldn’t want his name on anything, but he would take satisfaction in knowing that he helped make it happen.”

Dr. Robert Ruhe and his wife, Lee, enjoy a Young America’s Foundation program in Santa Barbara, California.

He made the big move from Indiana to California, where he started school at Long Beach City College before receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. He completed his training in orthodontia at the University of California at Berkeley, and this led — Lee Shannon Ruhe, wife of Dr. Robert Ruhe to a successful orthodontic practice based in Fullerton, California, for the next 30 years. His professional endeavors didn’t stop at his orthodontic And that is exactly how Dr. Robert Ruhe preferred practice. Dr. Ruhe’s interests included owning a skilled things, even as he recently became the single largest nursing facility, managing commercial real estate, financing supporter in the history of Young America’s Foundation. a tortilla factory, and farming in California and in his home This extraordinary commitment to the mission of Young state of Indiana. Aided by his highly talented business America’s Foundation and the Reagan Ranch was most partner and wife, Lee Shannon Ruhe, they became very evidently demonstrated with Dr. Ruhe’s legacy gift, upon his successful in their businesses and investments, allowing passing, of more than $16 million. them to dedicate a portion of the fruits of their labor to Born in Chesterton, Indiana, in 1929, Dr. Ruhe grew causes dear to their hearts. up during a time when the American dream was in Dr. Ruhe’s wealth, however, was unknown to most, and doubt and the time-honored traits of frugality and a strong his philanthropy was quiet—as was underscored by his work ethic ruled. At age decisions when he retired nine, he began his first job from his orthodontic cleaning spittoons at the practice. Instead of selling local saloons, doing his the practice to the highest part to help his family in bidder, he passed it on those difficult years of the to his young apprentice Great Depression. After on the condition that graduating from high the young man give school, he enlisted in the ten percent of his gross United States Air Force and earnings each year for five served his country for the years to the University of next five years. Following an California at Berkeley—the unfortunate incident with a school where Dr. Ruhe was dentist at a VA hospital, Dr. educated three decades Ruhe decided he wanted to earlier. When the university Dr. Ruhe attends one of many Foundation programs at Rancho del Cielo. become an orthodontist. started treating the young 36

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dentist like a major benefactor, he told the school the story of this “anonymous donor,” revealing just one of Dr. Ruhe’s many quiet acts of philanthropy. This giving pattern continued as Dr. Ruhe became involved with Young America’s Foundation and the Reagan Ranch in 2000, culminating with his historic estate gift of more than $16 million received in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Ruhe was first introduced to the Foundation when he and Lee attended a Young America’s Foundation dinner at the home of the late Reagan Ranch Board of Governors member Virginia Knott Bender in Newport Beach, California. In the 1960s, Dr. Ruhe drove Virginia’s father, the legendary conservative Walter Knott, to various civic functions where notable leaders, including Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, would speak. As someone who had great respect for Walter Knott’s conservative activism over the years, Dr. Ruhe gladly accepted Virginia Knott’s invitation that night for him and Lee to visit the Reagan Ranch. The next week, they were on their way up Highway 101 to visit the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara. That day at Rancho del Cielo, we learned Dr. Ruhe was an early backer of Ronald Reagan in the 1970s—supporting the rising conservative leader with a gift of $10,000. Dr. Ruhe explained that he measured someone’s conservative credentials by whether or not they were a staunch Barry Goldwater supporter. Dr. Ruhe also had a very high regard, admiration, and respect for two of Reagan’s most loyal advisors: 75th U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese—who currently serves as co-chairman of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors—and Judge William Clark— who also served as co-chairman of the Board of Governors until his passing in 2013.

The tour of the Reagan Ranch had a major impact on Dr. Ruhe as he realized there was a cause, affiliated and led by so many people he trusted, to preserve Ronald Reagan’s beloved ranch home and pass on his conservative principles to students for generations to come. Just a few months after his initial Reagan Ranch visit, Dr. Ruhe made his first gift of $200,000 to Young America’s Foundation to support the effort to save the Reagan Ranch

“Dr. Ruhe was involved with me from the early days of this project. He was one of the first Americans to support our historic effort. We are grateful to Dr. Ruhe for his leadership in helping to establish the Reagan Ranch as the country’s leading site to educate young people about President Reagan’s character, values, and ideas. We are especially grateful that Dr. Ruhe designated Young America’s Foundation and the Reagan Ranch as the top charity in his trust. This gift is consistent with the urgency he gave this project.” — 75th U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese

Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016




“Dr. Ruhe loyally gave additional gifts almost every year for the next 13 years and served honorably on the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, helping to shape the future of the project with his unique expertise in land preservation, maintenance, and commercial real estate.” Dr. Ruhe and Lee Shannon began supporting the Foundation in 2000 following their first visit to the Reagan Ranch.

and retire the mortgage note. Thanks to this gift and those Based on Dr. Ruhe’s preference during his life, many of so many others, the Reagan Ranch note was retired four Young America’s Foundation supporters never knew Dr. months later in April 2001 at a special dinner in Santa Ruhe’s significant philanthropy and tireless efforts on behalf Barbara. (There, Dr. Ruhe and Lee Shannon enjoyed the of our shared mission. memorable ending of the dinner when Virginia Knott Those of us on Young America’s Foundation’s team, Bender, Attorney General Meese, and Judge Clark joined who had the honor of working with him and observing his others on stage to actually burn the note!) dedication in action for more than a decade, are thrilled to Dr. Ruhe loyally gave additional gifts almost every year for finally share his story. It is not only a story about Dr. Ruhe; it the next 13 years and served honorably on the Reagan Ranch is also about you. Board of Governors, helping to shape the future of the project Many of you reading this article will see yourselves in his with his unique expertise in land story because of the similar preservation, maintenance, and way you have lived your lives commercial real estate. and because of the values you His wife, Lee, would say hold dear. This is an American that he was in his element at dream story of a self-made, the Ranch, as it brought back patriotic American, who served memories of his mom and their his country; spent his whole life family farm in Indiana (which adhering to a value system that Dr. Ruhe purchased and saved honored hard work, self reliance, from development in 2000). and conservative principles; and Whether it was useful advice who wanted to leave a lasting on how to clean the President’s legacy to pass those values on Lake Lucky, what kind of tractor to the next generation of young to buy (no Bobcats, it had to Americans. have big wheels!), what type of Our students and our water cistern to install, or what country are so fortunate to have repairs were needed for the roof amazing supporters like you on the Reagan Ranch Center, Dr. and Dr. Ruhe. May God bless Ruhe was actively involved and Dr. Ruhe and all who support loved getting his hands dirty our shared cause. You will during his regular visits to the always be remembered at Young Dr. Ruhe’s estate gift of $16 million makes him the largest single Reagan Ranch. America’s Foundation. supporter in Young America’s Foundation’s history. 38

Young America’s Foundation | Libertas | Fall 2016

FREEDOM... never more than one generation away from extinction. —President Ronald Reagan

The Left controls our schools, but the future belongs to young people. Young America’s Foundation is the largest, most effective youth outreach organization in the Conservative Movement. We recruit and inspire America’s most promising young leaders to spread a love for freedom on their campuses. By reaching increasing numbers of impressionable young people, we will eliminate the Left’s advantage at our schools. You can make a gift through your estate that will change lives, control what young people learn about America and freedom, and define your legacy on your terms. Please contact Kimberly Begg, Esq., vice president and general counsel, at 800-USA-1776 or to request a free, noobligation copy of Young America’s Foundation’s popular Investing in the Future estate planning guide and workbook. Supplies are limited and will be sent on a first-come, first-served basis. BO WorEstate NU kb Plan S: ook ni Incl ng ud ed

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Guide Estate Planning ent Conservative Movem

Campus lectures, activism initiatives, Young Americans for Freedom chapters © Copyright 2016 Young America’s Foundation

National conferences, Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise programs, National Journalism Center internships 800-USA-1776

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Young America’s Foundation | Libertas magazine |


Fall 2016 Volume 37 • Number 3

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tudents from around the country spend an afternoon at Rancho del Cielo during a special Young America’s Foundation training seminar focused on hosting conservative speakers on their campuses.