We asked Travis to answer a few questions about his activism and his experiences on campus this year.
YAF: Why are you a conservative?
TK: Conservatism for me, has always been a practical thing. Growing up in the liberal Northeast is not a climate that fosters these ideals and I was never surrounded by individuals who tote the Conservative line. I believe Conservatism is about a common sense approach to the issues facing average Americans. To me, freedom just makes plain sense.
YAF: How has your decision to become a conservative activist affected your life?
TK: When I came to GW, I never imagined I would become as big a conservative activist as I have. I soon found myself frustrated by the blatant liberal bias in the classroom and university administration and knew something had to be done. After visiting a student organization fair, I met the e-board of the GW Chapter of Young America’s Foundation, and soon got involved with the organization, taking a leadership position.
Becoming an active conservative has definitely made a significant impact on my campus life. I find myself many times receiving dirty looks or angry comments from liberal students or professors. I have been attacked as being a bigot or a fascist by several different campus publications, for merely expressing my conservative views.
But it is also a lot of fun being a conservative activist. Nothing is better than exposing a liberal and proving their ideas are wrong to the public. Sparring with them at activism events is also fun. It’s most fun when you win converts. I have also met leading conservatives (YAF speakers we have hosted) and been places (the Reagan Ranch) that I never could have been without being active.
YAF: Why did you decide to host a conservative speaker?
TK: While activism events are important (and we have done a lot of them this year), they are only part of what should be robust conservative programming on campus. Speakers are the other part.
Not only do speakers provide a great range of expertise on issues, they excite both liberals and conservatives to come and hear what we have to say. They are also a great way to highlight the issues your organization feels affect their campus or the country the greatest.
We hosted Mr. Stossel to speak about what I believe is one of the most important issues facing the country today and young conservatives once they graduate: the economy and Obama’s mishandling of it. Between the healthcare bill and Obama’s renewed effort to now pass cap and trade, there is in my opinion, a concentrated assault being launched against free markets.
YAF: How have bringing conservative speakers to GWU changed the atmosphere on campus?
TK: Bringing conservative speakers to campus always increases the level of discussion on campus, be it free markets with John Stossel, Obama’s first-year policy failures with our teach in, or Islamo-Fascism with Tom Tancredo. By bringing out students to hear these speakers and starting a dialogue we often find that we win converts to our viewpoint or at the very least force liberal students to question their ideas.
Overall, hosting speakers has garnered much more respect and forced the conservative position to be discussed in the hallways and classrooms of our university.
YAF: What activities did you organize on campus this year and how have they made a difference?
TK: We had a very busy year of activism this year at GW. Here is a few of the things we implemented this year:
YAF: What’s your favorite movie and why?
TK: Charlie Wilson’s War: It totally vindicates President Reagan’s strong foreign policy approach and shows that with persistence, capitalism and liberty, will defeat communism and tyranny.
YAF: If you had to urge your peers to become involved in Young America’s Foundation, what would you tell them and why?
TK: If you are frustrated by liberal bias on campus and want to learn about the other side of an issue or stand up for your conservative viewpoints, Young America’s Foundation is a great group to get involved with. They provide countless resources to help advance the conservative message on campus from materials to assistance booking a speaker and everything in between.
While it is not easy being a conservative on a college campus, especially at GW, the Foundation has made it much easier for me. I can’t imagine trying to promote the message at GW without the assistance of Young America’s Foundation.
YAF: If you could call President Obama up on the phone to tell him one thing to redo, what would you tell him?
TK: I would ask him to remove his support for the stimulus bill. Our country is deep in debt and still running high deficits. The bill has done very little to “stimulate” the economy, failing to meet all of Obama’s unemployment and economic targets. If he truly wanted to stimulate the economy, he should have cut taxes and reduced the size of government.
YAF: What are your top 3 songs of all time?
According to iTunes, my top 3 played are Travis Tritt’s “It’s a great day to be alive,” Tim McGraw’s “Something like that” and Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the red, white, and blue.” Yeah, I’m a big country fan.