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Cruz, Bachmann, Carson, Santorum, Lee, George and Others Headline 35thNational Conservative Student Conference

Young America’s Foundation’s 35th annual National Conservative Student Conference (NCSC) proved to be one of our most exciting programs to date. With all-star speakers, a brilliant stage, and more than 400 participants from across the country, there was no better time to be part of one of the premier events for college students. Throughout the conference, Conservative Movement leaders shared inspiring messages for the young participants to take back to their schools.

Senator Ted Cruz headlined the conference’s annual Ronald Reagan Banquet. The new senator from Texas has been leading the conservative charge against Obamacare on Capitol Hill, and he explained to the student audience how Obamacare was the number one killer of job opportunity in America. He also had some strong words about the national debt, stating, “The national debt and level of spending is fundamentally immoral.”

In addition to Senator Cruz, the young audience enjoyed hearing from some of the top conservatives on Capitol Hill including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Jim Jordan, and Congressman Sean Duffy.

Speaker Newt Gingrich, who regularly addresses this annual conference, described liberal policies and their banner-carrying elites as “prison guards of the past.” He underscored how the tenets of liberalism inhibit innovation and stifle progress. He told the conference attendees that they had a responsibility to be “pioneers of the future” in order for prosperity to flourish. Speaker Gingrich also had some extremely strong words regarding Obamacare, explaining how its implementation will create a nation of part-time employees. He urged current lawmakers to have the courage to do whatever is necessary to repeal the legislation.

Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned neurosurgeon who spoke out against Obamacare during the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year, also gave a rousing address during the conference’s opening dinner banquet.

Another highlight of the conference featured a friendly debate between legendary businessman T. Boone Pickens and Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal. The discussion focused on America’s energy future and the policies that would best usher in an era of American energy independence. Pickens encouraged the students to get “acquainted with the oil and gas industry,” noting, “It is unbelievable what it can do for us.” Pickens also defended the safety of the fracking process and insisted that natural gas would be the key to putting America on top. Moore echoed this sentiment with the classic line, “Drill, Baby Drill.”

The conference attendees also heard from a wide variety of leading academics and authors including Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, Dr. Burt Folsom of Hillsdale College, and Dr. Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton.

In his address to the students, Senator Rick Santorum said Obama’s America is one without hope for the future. He added that the current administration is to blame for a “trickle-down cynicism.” Highlighting economic policy, Senator Santorum denounced the targeting of conservatives by the IRS. Senator Santorum challenged the students to have the passion and sacrifice to bring America back to its founding principles.

Rachel Campos-Duffy was among several new speakers at the summer conference. The wife of Congressman Sean Duffy showed entertaining clips featuring the two of them on The Real World and Road Rules on MTV. Not only did she insist conservative students stand up for their values, she explained how important it is for young people to get involved in the popular culture.

National Review Online Editor Jonah Goldberg and economist Dr. Walter Williams, who are both featured in YAF’s film, The Conservatives, provided interesting and informative commentary. Goldberg explained some of the Left’s most frustrating clichés that conservative students might hear while defending freedom at their school and how to combat them. Williams highlighted some of the institutional barriers to conservative principles, including racial preferences.

For the tenth year, a delegation from the Young Briton’s Foundation (YBF) joined their YAF counterparts at this conference. YBF also helped secure conference speaker Conor Burns, a British Member of Parliament and friend of the late Margaret Thatcher. Burns shared details about the special relationship between Ronald Reagan and the Prime Minister.

These speakers joined a host of others throughout the week who offered a balanced education on conservative ideas and principles. Additional leaders addressing the 2013 National Conservative Student Conference included activist and author Bay Buchanan, pollster Kellyanne Conway, Young America’s Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle, comedian and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder, Weekly Standard columnist Steven Hayes, American University professor Chris Malagisi, author and Fox News contributor Kate Obenshain, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, bestselling author and YAF alumna Katie Pavlich, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute Lecture Director Catherine Rodriguez, Regnery Publishing President Marji Ross, and New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber, among others. In addition to hearing from more than 40 speakers, the conference participants made like-minded friends from around the country. They returned to their campuses eager to share the ideas they learned. “This week has been a life-changing experience because I have been exposed to conservative arguments and ideas that are not taught on my college campus,” noted Texas Christian University student Kathleen D’Urso.

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