College Republicans attend CPAC conference
Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011
Updated: Sunday, February 20, 2011 23:02
The UConn College Republicans went to Washington D.C. to attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from Feb. 8 to 12.
"The purpose of CPAC is for conservative and libertarian Americans from all over the country to meet and hear directly from their favorite elected officials and candidates, as well as prominent authors, media hosts and figures from prominent policy organizations," said Joseph Gasser, president of UConn College Republicans.
CPAC has been held every February in Washington D.C. since 1974, when Ronald Reagan was the first speaker.
The American Conservative Union sponsors CPAC. The conference brings together the largest number of conservative-minded individuals, according to Brianna Jordon, a 4th-semester political science major and the College Republicans' chief financial officer.
"CPAC is a haven for college students who want to spend some time surrounded by people who see the world in a similar way. College campuses across the nation are an uphill battle for students with conservative values, so CPAC is a breath of fresh air," Jordon said.
Seventee College Republicans attended the conference this year, out of the 11,000 attendees total. This is up from 9,000 last year, despite it being an off-year for elections, according to Gasser.
Speakers at CPAC included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former Governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Allen West, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and author Ann Coulter.
In addition to the individual speakers, panel discussions and book signings, the College Republicans also visited the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Archives and were given a tour of the U.S. Capital by members of Sen. Joe Lieberman's staff, according to Gasser.
"CPAC is a chance for people from all over the world, from all walks of life, to come together and celebrate a shared set of core values, namely limited government and fiscal restraint," said Michael Roberts, an 8th-semester Spanish major.
"I am delighted that so many members were able to attend this year. CPAC is always an invigorating experience for our group and others, because it gives us a chance to socialize with fellow conservatives and meet some of the candidates and elected officials that we spend the rest of the year supporting," said Gasser.
In addition to CPAC, the College Republicans attend many other conferences and hold events throughout the year.
Their mission is to "expose students to the Republican Party and conservative philosophy via discussion and debate. The organization encourages and fosters participation in support of the nominees of the Republican Party on the local, state and national levels," according to Gasser.
More importantly, the College Republicans seek to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is adequately and fairly expressed on campus.
For the spring semester, the College Republicans have fund-raising events, such as bowling event, and guest speakers planned. They hope to host Kate Obenshain and Dale Peterson, who they met at CPAC. The College Republicans also have a trip planned for the near future to a shooting range.
The College Republicans have grown each year and currently have between 30 and 40 regular members.