37th Annual Convention Recap and New Website
This past weekend, one hundred students and alumni from across the state gathered in Austin for the 37th Annual YCT State Convention. We were joined by former member of The University of Texas System Board of Regents Wallace Hall, Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, Congressman Louie Gohmert, and several other elected officials and professionals who discussed the important issues that grassroots conservatives are faced with today. Students left with greater knowledge on effectively bringing conservatism to their college campuses.
The weekend featured panels including legislators, alumni and activists who offered insight into the different ways to get involved in politics, whether it be a career or a hobby. Among those in attendance were State Senator Bryan Hughes and State Senator Van Taylor, who gave advice on being conservative Senators. They told of their experiences in the Texas Legislature and discussed their plans to ensure that conservative values progress in the Legislature.
On Friday, we were proud to recognize several exceptional individuals for their accomplishments. Senator Van Taylor received the Torch of Freedom Award for his commitment to furthering conservative principles in the Texas Legislature. The State Board named David White Alumnus of the Year for his devotion to the organization since he joined in 2003 and served as State Chairman from 2006-2009. He proves to be a shining example of what can be accomplished for the conservative cause beyond YCT. William Dominguez earned the Chairman’s Award. William has shown excellent leadership over the past few years as a State Board member. Lastly, Travis McCormick and Jeramy Kitchen were honored for their countless hours of support and contribution on the State Board with the Recognition of Service Award. The work they have done will leave a lasting impact on YCT.
This year’s convention proved to be a huge success! It provided a wonderful opportunity for fellow conservatives to get to know one another, learn about their beliefs and engage in activism. Although it may seem early, it is already time to start planning the next convention. You can contribute here donate.yct.org to ensure that our next convention is an even bigger success!
Check out the full newsletter below to learn more and see photos from the event!
Young Conservatives of Texas
YCT-UT Wins Chapter of the Year
The State Board presented Vidal Castaneda, UT Chapter Chairman, with the Chapter of the Year Award for the outstanding work their chapter has produced this year! Visit UT’s Facebook page to see all they have done!
Panels & Speakers
Students heard from several panels that addressed the challenges we face as conservatives in the current political climate. Students obtained a greater understanding of our role as conservatives in state politics, as well as ways they can transform the political climate on their college campuses.
State Representative Ron Simmons and State Representative Bill Zedler recounted the items they have been working on, most recently the state budget. Representative Zedler explained how after sixteen hours of debate on the House Floor he voted against the state budget because it takes funds from the Rainy Day Fund. Additionally, Representative Simmons gave insight on the future of transportation with the population growth happening in Texas.
Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Director of Higher Education, Thomas Lindsay, addressed an issue that college students are all too familiar with; college tuition. He stated that although as conservatives we believe in free markets with as little regulation as possible, we should place caps on college tuition. College campuses are becoming increasingly bureaucratic, which drives
up the cost of tuition. Not only does the bureaucracy increase tuition fees, but the additional money does not go to educating the students.
Steve Sheldon, from Judicial Watch, described how the organization used open records requests under the public information act to find the emails Hillary Clinton sent to her daughter the night before the attack in Benghazi. He explained that the same tactics can be used to fight liberalism on college campuses. Students can make open records requests under the Public Information Act to create more transparency between them and the administration.
Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick joined us for lunch to give a brief overview of the energy industry in Texas. As the nation’s leader in oil and gas production, Texas’ energy industry has and continues to play a vital role in the economy, even during the recent downturn. As chairwoman of the Commission, she explained how the downturn has affected her agency first hand with budget and personnel shortages. Despite the low gas prices, Chairwoman Craddick seems hopeful for the next few years with the big discoveries in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale and the recent increase in drilling permits she and her fellow Commissioners have issued since January.
Ellen Troxclair, Austin City Council Member, explained what it is like to fight for conservative principles locally while being the minority. She first became inspired to run for City Council after she was displeased with all of the other candidates, proving that anyone can become involved when they see a problem that needs a solution. Although she is drastically outnumbered by her Democratic colleagues, she works tirelessly to be a voice of reason for the City of Austin and is helping shift the political spectrum in Austin further right.
Congressman Louie Gohmert gave an incredible speech where he relayed tales from his time in Congress. He offered an important piece of advice to conservatives as we continue to engage in a culture war, “Do not accept no for an answer.. Marines are successful not because they are more more athletic or smarter than everyone else, while they are smart and athletic, they are successful because they are determined and will not take no for an answer. As conservatives, it is up to us to not take no as an answer and continue to fight until we get a yes.”
New Website and New State Chairman
Big changes have happened for the Young Conservatives of Texas recently! At the end of our extremely successful convention, Jeff Morris stepped down as State Chairman and appointed Caroline Chadwick as his successor. His 5 years of service were recognized and commended. Being a gifted tech guru, his last major project was a new website which can be seen at www.yct.org!