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 28th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

Today marks 28 years since my parents came to the U. S. from then Soviet-occupied Lithuania. Grateful to them for instilling a love of freedom in me. They are the best Americans I know. Happy Freedomversary, mama and daddy!

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Read more about this anniversary at Storify.

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!

ICYMI: My 22Q Profile

Today I was featured in Leadership Institute’s The 22Q series about my activism and my work with the conservative nonprofit.

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Here’s more about the new series:

The 22Q is an informal interview series with young conservatives, connected to LI, who are working in the public policy process. The 22 questions ask them to explain what they do, and how they see politics and the next generation of the conservative movement. Their opinions are their own, and are not endorsed by the Leadership Institute.

An excerpt from my interview:

Part 1: What I do

How I describe my job in 10 words
Working with students to advance conservatism on campus is rewarding

My day-to-day at work…in three sentences
Checking my email; updating our database with student contacts; reaching out to students via phone call, Facebook, or email; eating; talking with co-workers; researching and finding liberal bias.

I couldn’t do my job without
Sunny optimism. I try to be positive and happy all the time. Challenging the left can be daunting, so I try to make the best of things handed my way.

Most important moment in my career (so far)
Being mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh Show for an interview I did for FoxNews.com on January 11, 2013. He mentioned my thoughts about payroll tax expiration. I was in disbelief! My dad, a huge Rush fan, called me the moment he heard my name on the air. It was amazing.

Unexpected skill that has helped me the most
I would say that multitasking has helped me the most. Juggling many things can be difficult at times, but it has proven to be beneficial in the work I do.

The best advice I have received
My dad once said, “In order to be equal, you have to be three times better than the rest.” My parents taught me to work hard, to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and to be the best individual I could possibly be.

Continue reading at Leadership Institute.

 

‘There’s Some Good in This World…And It’s Worth Fighting For’

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Tomorrow I embark on a nine-day journey to the Northeast. I will traverse the region and visit students in Boston, New Haven, NYC, and Newark. Sadly, this territory isn’t kind to travelers of the conservative persuasion.  But in the name of freedom and liberty, we must do our best to reclaim it – especially universities there.

To quote Lord of the Rings: “…there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

Not all young people are goose-stepping Obamanites. The countless students I meet and work with are frustrated by this administration. Nevertheless their enthusiasm, their energy, and their indomitable spirit to advance conservative principles on campus will propel our movement in the right direction.

I couldn’t ask for a better or more rewarding job than this. My students in the Northeast give me hope. I empathize with them because I too was a conservative student in a heavily blue state. I know how difficult it is to advance a conservative message on campus.

That being said, we can and we must take back our campuses. Conservatism is still worth fighting for there. Don’t give up!

If I come across anything interesting or newsworthy, I’ll be sure to blog about it here. Be sure to follow my musings on Facebook or on Twitter at @Gabby_Hoffman!

Jim DeMint is Right: Principled, Sound Conservatism is the Way to Go

We often hear a lot of talk about how “divisive” social issues are or how “extreme” conservatism is. Some individuals-either out of fear or sheer disdain for conservatism-feel inclined to tell us to abandon traditional values despite them being in line with limited government.

Pro-freedom, pro-life, and pro-family? Goodness gracious – you must be a fascist! (Thank you, revisionist history.)

Many conservatives like incoming Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint have made the case for constitutional, sound conservatism.

What is sound conservatism, and how does it ensure our movement’s success?

Princeton University professor and renowned scholar Robert P. George observed that economic and social conservatism are synonymous. I discussed this topic in a November 2011 blog post:

Renowned conservative thinker Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton University expounds on this by presenting the case for sound conservatism in “No Mere Marriage of Convenience: Uniting Social and Economic Conservatives.”

He writes, “Sound conservatism, as a matter of principle and not mere pragmatism, will honor limited government, restrain spending, and provide honest money and low taxes — while at the same time upholding the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions; the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and the innocence of children.”

During a speech at CPAC 2013, incoming Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint had this to say about sound conservatism:

Economic and social conservatism go hand-in-hand. They’re natural allies. Strong families, churches and voluntary institutions build strong character and economic independence. And government must always remember we are endowed by our creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is true for you and me, and it is true for the unborn. When government understands its limited role, it can be smaller, people can be freer and our economy can create prosperity for everyone. And when government grows larger with programs like Obamacare that consume so much of our lives, it tramples on both economic freedom and religious liberty. This has united conservatives of all stripes to fight to end Obamacare so we can all be free to live our own lives.

When people call for the removal of social issues from the conservative movement, they are essentially telling the majority of constitutional conservatives-including fiscal conservatives-to shut up and give into so-called pragmatism. This should cause you great distress…

Those of us who believe in sound conservatism cannot allow the dilution of values to take place. It is our duty to champion limited government, the sanctity of life, marriage,  fiscal sanity, strong national defense, American sovereignty, personal responsibility, reverence for the Constitution, and individual rights.

My fellow conservative Hobbits and wacko-birds: Principles, not pragmatism, always win.

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Covet the Youth: 14 Young Conservatives, Including Yours Truly, to Be Published in E-Book

I have excellent news: I’m going to be a published author! Well, sort of.

Don’t expect any full-length books from me anytime soon. I’m only 21 and still need more life experience before chronicling events, activism, and thoughts.  I still need to grow, adequately educate myself on history better, and become more well-read. But I digress…

Yesterday it was revealed that an e-book I co-authored with 13 other young conservatives entitled “Young, Conservative, and Why It’s Smart to Be Like Us” will be published this April 9, 2013.

The e-book features yours truly, RJ Moeller, Liz Thatcher, Liberty Betts, Kevin Eder, Allen Ginzburg, Mary Chastain, Daniel Webb, Brady Cremeens, Brandon Morse, Katelynd Shaw, Erin Brown, and Dina Fraioli.

Be sure to look out for it!

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