The Western Conservative Summit of 2017 began with a video fittingly synced to the pop song “My House” by Flo Rida. This is such a great example of one wonderful aspect of coming together each year at the Summit—connecting and building relationships with like-minded individuals. As the lyrics of the song say, we are welcomed into the ‘house’ of conservatism, able to be inspired by current leaders and encouraged by the strong turnout of future Republican leaders.
Friday night’s opening speakers shared in that sense of community. Beginning with our own Centennial Institute Director Jeff Hunt who went on to introduce Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as a “true western conservative.” A Montana native, he served in the Montana State Senate and later in the US House of Representatives, but conservatives at the summit clapped the loudest at reminder of his highest form of service, serving as a U.S. Navy Seal for more than fifteen years.
Early on in his speech, Zinke reassured conservatives, stating: “I work for you.” He said the amount of distrust in the government disturbs him, but he has faith in his colleagues in the Presidential Cabinet and seeks to rebuild the relationship between people and their government.
Even as some hecklers began to shout over Senator Cory Gardner’s speech later in the evening, the Senator reminded the audience that what makes our nation great, what makes our nation strong, is that very freedom to share our opinions today. He went on to thank our veterans and for defending our freedom of speech. Such positivity lightened the mood but Sen. Gardner did continue to say: “The conversations we have tonight in this room, tomorrow and the next day, that can’t be it. We can’t stop the conversation….We’re here tonight to fight for the promises of this generation.”
Many of the following speakers, from Townhall writer Katie Pavlich, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, and syndicated columnists Cal Thomas, touched on the key issues that conservatives will be discussing throughout the weekend. Together at the 2017 Western Conservative Summit, we will tackle responding to bias in the mainstream media, reaching young people on left-dominated college campuses, and re-enshrining America’s traditional values.