Be Cautiously Optimistic About the 114th Congress

2014 election map

Last night was spectacular on the electoral front. For those of you insufferable political junkies like myself, it was a good night for freedom, individual rights, religious liberty, and limited government.

We clinched the U.S. Senate with eight new additions — Cory Gardner (CO), Tom Cotton (AR), Joni Ernst (IA), Thom Tillis (NC), Mike Rounds (SD), Shelley Capito (WV), Dan Sullivan (AK), and Steve Daines (MT). Louisiana is expected to go into a runoff where the Republican will win. (Wish Rob Maness stood a chance.) Republicans retained the House of Representatives and grew the majority in that respective chamber.

Here are some of my election tweets:

Here are some tweets about key Senate races:

And some tweets of mine about Republican seats picked up in blue states like Maryland and Illinois:

How do you win? By not feigning conservatism:

Now for my comments about the Virginia U.S. Senate race:

…and some comments about Virginia’s political future:

Townhall.com’s Katie Pavlich wrote in her Hill column yesterday that Republicans can’t be complacent:

Republicans will no longer have the excuse that their party holds only a third of the power in government. Will Republicans take action to stop Obama’s executive abuse when they have the ability, power and options to do so? Will they have the courage to rein him in? To restore balance? Or will they instead sit around for the next two years and complain about an out-of-control president, or cave in the name of “bipartisanship” to Obama’s harsh words and criticism?

A Republican takeover of the Senate would be a rejection of Obama’s abuse of power, a rejection of his agenda and a strong signal that executive overreach must be stopped.

New senators, you have a big job to do. The balance of power must be restored. Don’t let the voters down.

What’s the takeaway from last night? Be cautiously optimistic about the incoming 114th Congressional class. Just because Republicans won, don’t give them a pass and don’t let them off the hook. If they flirt with the idea of amnesty, more spending, or fail to stop Obama’s thirst for executive power, they will lose handily in 2016. (Remember what happened in 2006 when we lost the Senate? Don’t screw this up, Republicans.) Crony capitalism and big government have plagued this country for too long–and both sides have engaged in it. Democrats can pass for American Bolsheviks, while some Republicans can pass for statists. Americans have had enough of the status quo. Want to make a real impact? Clean up house and stay true to your constituents. Our country is in disarray, so don’t even think you can get away with lining your pockets anymore.

To newly elected Republicans: Welcome to the Potomac! Now do your best not to lose your soul here.

CPAC 2014: #MakeDCListen Style

Yesterday concluded the 41st annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

The lavish  Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor played host for a second year in a row. Unlike most D.C. area residents, I took immense joy in the 10-minute drive across the Potomac. This year marked my third CPAC conference, and the second time I attended on behalf of the company I work for.

The rush and heyday of these political conferences certainly give us seasoned political junkies a natural high. High-profile speakers, cool swag, a nice location, and plenty of events/parties leave attendees satisfied. It’s interesting how much CPAC has changed in the last few years…

Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on this year’s conference:

The Good

Big reunion – CPAC is a great event for reunions with activist friends. I certainly enjoyed seeing hundreds of people I know from  D.C. and outside the D.C. area. Given how busy life is, people rarely get the chance to be around so many like-minded people. CPAC is perfect for reuniting with new and old friends.

Unparalleled networking - If you come to CPAC, expect to network with big wigs and get your name out there. This is a great opportunity to land an internship or job in the D.C. area. Don’t take it for granted.

Blog Bash – Hands down, Blog Bash is the best party at CPAC every year. I’ve had the pleasure of attending it since 2012. One can’t go wrong with a piano bar! Definitely attend one if you haven’t already.

The Bad

Recycled, uninspiring speakers –  Apart from Senators Cruz, Lee, Paul, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and a few others, I–along with countless others–found much of the speakers lineup to be  unexciting. This led many of us to jokingly (and seriously) classify the conference as “Squishfest.” Establishment Republicans aren’t going to lure in new people to the cause. Fresh conservative faces will.

Media everywhere - It’s an election year, and the general election is roughly two years away. The horse race is about to commence–brace yourselves.

Hypersexualizing CPAC - Apparently, the hook-up scene is the most newsworthy topic from CPAC to write about. Really?! Media outlets – especially one in particular – need to stop sensationalizing this. (What happened to maintaining personal responsibility?) DC is a morally bankrupt place — ask those of us who live here and abstain from such. Stop reporting on this crap and focus on important issues, like, saving the country from impending financial collapse.

What are some personal highlights from this year’s CPAC?

Hanging out with the lovely Dana Loesch:

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Meeting Senator Rand Paul (R-KY):

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And ensuring that all conservatives #MakeDCListen:

Having fun at the Jobs Growth booth. #MakeDCListen

Until next year, CPAC? We shall see.

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!

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Goodbye 2013, hello 2014!

Hope everyone had a great New Year.

What a great year of personal and professional growth 2013 was. I never thought my 22nd year on Earth would be so eventful. From being featured in a headlining news story to being mentioned on Rush Limbaugh’s show to getting published in a book, I was blessed with many opportunities as a young conservative activist last year. I’m truly grateful for all that has happened to me. Thank you for the continual support!

While I’m proud to gloat in my accomplishments, they wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support from family and friends. 2013 reminded me to stay true to my roots, be diligent, and remain optimistic. I can’t thank my activist friends and friends from back home enough for making 2013 enjoyable and worthwhile.

A lot happened in 2013. I trained and met lots of right-minded students in the Northeast and started writing for notable publications like Townhall.com. (I’ll resume article writing shortly – stay tuned!) Moreover, I traveled to several states for work and fun including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and most of the Northeast. Through networking and hobnobbing, I was able to meet more conservative activists and strengthen existing friendships. And most importantly, my family and I were back together again after splitting residence between the West and East Coasts. I’m happy we’re together in the same state again!

Where do I begin with New Year’s resolutions? I, like so many of you, want to start 2014 off on a clean slate. I write down the things I want to improve upon but never follow through with them. Maybe it’s lack of effort or maybe it’s sheer laziness that prevents most of us from fulfilling our goals. It’s time for a change.

Why not be bold in 2014?

Here’s what I plan to improve upon this year:

1) Read more books: I toil with this every single year. I love reading books but never find the time to tune out from social media or my busy work schedule to dig into a good book. With the help of Goodreads, which has become my go-to organizer for books, I plan to set a goal for myself and read at least 2-4 books every month. Put down the remote and iPhones – indulge yourselves and read some good books!

2) Less technology, more reality: My friend Ashley Crouch of Verily Magazine wrote about the excessive use of social media and how it’s stifling our interpersonal interactions:

“It’s no secret that we’re spending more and more time plugged into digital outlets. But all is not rosy according to researchers from the University of Gothenberg; out of the 4,100 young adults they studied for a year, those who used computers four or more hours per day reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.”

Like so many of you who are young and career-minded, I’m guilty of wasting time on social media. I’ve realized I could put my free time to better use. I want to relish the remainder of my youth by using social media more effectively and in smaller doses. Over the last three months, I’ve toned down the amount of Facebook posts and tweets by unplugging most evenings and weekends. It’s allowed me to be less distracted overall and more attentive to friends, family, and coworkers. Don’t be that person who spends every social gathering hooked on your phone. It’s really rude and off-putting. (Some people I know are guilty of this. Guys and gals: We want our friends back!) Tune out from social media and tune into reality!

3) Travel more: I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to make frequent trips to the Northeast. I love sight-seeing in NYC and Boston whenever I get downtime from student meetings or trainings. Sometimes I travel to blogger conferences and go on family vacations. I’d love to make a return to Europe; I haven’t been since I was 8! Whether near or far, explore your surroundings. Explore historical sites around you, visit a major city, or find your nearest beach. Get outside and breath some fresh air!

4) Spend more time outdoors: Last year, I spent many weekends at the gun range and our local lake to clear my head. (It’s a curse and a blessing to live in the D.C. area, so I use every chance I get to escape Washington and go to the Virginia countryside.) I’ve become more adept at shooting guns and am working on getting my CCW license soon. Also, I discovered how unique East Coast fishing is with freshwater fishing in Northern Virginia and saltwater fishing in Ponce Inlet, FL. My goal this year is to explore more freshwater fishing spots in Virginia and to go deep sea fishing in Virginia Beach, VA. Also, I hope to go hunting for the first time this year. (We’ll see if that materializes!) If you are craving excitement and time away from technology, I highly suggest you try the aforementioned outdoor sports.

5) Always exercise: Politics can be draining and all-consuming causing us to sit for 8+ hours each day. Thankfully I rediscovered how essential exercise is with gym membership and after running my first 5K in September. (I used to play tennis in high school, so I’ve always been one to value exercise.) A dear friend of mine even convinced me to join her in running longer distances. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Practice greater personal responsibility and get in shape this year!

6) Have fun in the kitchen: Contrary to popular belief, baking and cooking aren’t oppressive. They’re actually quite enjoyable. I plan to find more time to bake desserts and cook up some of my favorite food items. After reading several food blogs last year, I want to experiment with more recipes for food, desserts, and drinks. My family generally frowned upon junk food in the house, so this shouldn’t be difficult to pull off. Ladies, channel your inner domestic goddess this year! And fellas – don’t be afraid to cook up a storm.

7) Donate to private charity: I like to support causes I believe in without coercion from the government. Last year, I made a contribution to a local pregnancy crisis center in Leesburg, VA. (I hope to contribute to more charities this year.) I wholeheartedly frown upon benefits and welfare that foster cradle to grave paternalistic government. Private charity best uplifts people. Find a charity you believe in and give back to your community!

And last but not least, this is a goal we on the Right must fulfill this year:

8) Promote and help elect constitutional conservatives in the 2014 election cycle: Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined:

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

Democrats are very vulnerable this year. The president and his administration boast high unavailability ratings, especially with the failed Obamacare roll out. We must use this to our advantage and provide a contrast to the Left’s failed policies. Alas, this won’t be easy with GOP elites and cronies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce undermining constitutional conservative candidates in primaries. I’ll do my part as a blogger and activist – column writing, tweeting, and grassroots organizing – to help elect sound conservatives to office this year. Please do yours!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to improve upon? Craft a list and follow through with your goals.

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Gabriella

I’m *Officially* Published!

Yesterday, the paperback edition of “Young, Conservative and Why It’s Smart to Be Like Us” became available on Amazon.

1505564_10152086116287668_1287118706_nI was one of 14 young conservatives to author chapters on why we identify with conservatism. Back in April, our stories were made available in e-book format. I chose to write about my family history and how it inspires me to advance conservative policies.

My thoughts on being *officially* published? It feels great to see my work and that of my friends/fellow activists published in book form. (For those of you wondering: Yes, I want to write a few books in the future that center around conservative politics and history. It’ll require vast amounts of reading and gaining more wisdom. Until then, I’ll stick with grassroots activism and blogging.)

Over these last four years, I’ve honed my conservative beliefs and grown disenchanted by both major parties. Even as a registered Republican, I’m inclined to criticize Republican politicians whenever they fall out of line with conservatism. (Criticism is healthy, and our guys should be held accountable too.) In my view, conservatism – not establishment Republican ideals – is the only way forward.

I hope my story inspires other young conservatives to speak out and encourage our peers to get involved. We can’t discount our generation, especially with countless disaffected former Obamanites looking for guidance following the disastrous Obamacare roll out. We can win over members of our generation with conservative ideas and policies.

At 22, I’m quite proud of my many accomplishments at such a young age. I hope my story and my actions motivate others to find their voice and get involved.

Looking for the perfect Christmas present? Get your family members “Young, Conservative and Why It’s Smart to Be Like Us”!

 

Pre-Order Your Paperback Copy of “Young, Conservative and Why It’s Smart to Be Like Us”!

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Friends and fellow activists: It gives me immense joy to announce that a chapter I wrote for the highly-successful e-book “Young, Conservative, and Why It’s Smart to Be Like Us” will be available in paperback on December 10th, 2013.

In this e-book, I wrote about my family history and how it inspires me to promote conservatism. I’m confident you’ll enjoy reading every story.

You can pre-order your copy on Amazon before December 10th. It’ll make the perfect gift for your children and millennials who are greatly disaffected by Obama’s policies.

Happy reading!

Happy Birthday, Counter Cultured!

Today marks a year since my sister Anna Maria launched the popular culturally conservative blog Counter Cultured. She enlisted me to help her manage the blog, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we and our contributors have accomplished this past year.

Below is our anniversary video featuring yours truly, Caleb Parke, Claire Chretien, and Anna Maria Hoffman.

From interviews with Ryan T. Anderson and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum to viral vlogs to grassroots video projects, we’ve succeeded in adding the young conservative perspective to the culture war.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed, participated in our videos, and supported our blog along the way. Here’s to many more years. Stay counter cultured!