Scott Walker spoke to the Young America’s Foundation’s supporters and students in Santa Barbara Friday at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara for their Reagan Ranch Roundtable, the first time since being named YAF’s President-Elect back in July.
After leading Wisconsin as its Governor for the last eight years, Young America’s Foundation announced that Mr. Walker will take over as the organization’s president, elected by the YAF’s board of directors. Mr. Walker will officially take the reins on Feb. 1, 2021.
“YAF is an outstanding organization,” Mr. Walker told the News-Press. “I want to build off of that success with a goal of YAF chapters on every campus, expand to include 2-year campuses, start sooner by reaching out to pre-teens, encourage more speakers on campus and fight for free speech rights.”
In his speech Friday, Mr. Walker praised the foundation YAF has built with decades of positive work from staff at the Reagan Ranch and Center and hundreds of conservative speakers and activists.
“I’m excited about the foundation this organization is built on,” Mr. Walker told the crowd, “but I know going forward that we’re going to be counting on all of you who support this organization and many, many others across the country to make sure that these young leaders here from their high schools and homeschool opportunities here have the tools that they need to go home and build, not only their own case, but to go spread that message to others.”
Mr. Walker will take over for Ron Robinson, who has spent the past four decades helping build the YAF, and helping the organization build the modern Conservative Movement.
“He is one of the key leaders in the conservative movement in America, and so I’m not even going to try to fill his shoes. It’s why I wore boots today because I figured I wouldn’t even try to fill the shoes of Ron Robinson,” said Mr. Walker as he thanked Mr. Robinson for his work.
Mr. Walker will not only be taking up the legacy of Mr. Robinson, he will be carrying on the work of his personal hero, Ronald Reagan.
“More than anything else, more than any other human beings, other than my two parents, Ronald Reagan is who I am today,” said Mr. Walker.
The reason for this was Mr. Reagan’s optimism, Mr. Walker told the crowd.
“He had an eternal belief in the American people. That defined who he was. It’s why he was such a servant, because of that optimism, that belief in the individual and the opportunity that each and every one of us have deep within our hearts and our souls to do things the Government shouldn’t have any role in,” said Mr. Walker.
Mr. Walker and others who came of age while Reagan made his mark on politics came away with a fundamental message; stay positive and get the word out. Mr. Walker encouraged the young conservatives in the audience to learn how to effectively communicate their ideas and values to people in their lives.
“We’re so focused on thinking and talking from our head, and the left thinks and talks with their heart. We’ve got to remember, we should keep thinking with our head, but we’ve got to talk from our hearts!” said Mr. Walker.
The right’s ideas are better, but they need to find ways to articulate them, said Mr. Walker. The main idea that Mr. Walker hopes to spread as head of YAF is that the American Dream is one of equality and hard work.
“People come from around the world gravitating to this one place where they knew it doesn’t matter what your parents did for a living, it doesn’t matter what class you were born into, it doesn’t matter what you look like or where you live. In America everyone is equal. We’re equal! That’s what it says in our founding documents. But if the opportunity is equal, it doesn’t say the outcome is. The outcome is still up to us. That’s what’s great! That’s why people come here,” said Mr. Walker.
As he prepares to take on the role of YAF president over the next year, Mr. Walker told the News-Press he will be speaking with high school and college students and supporters around the country and working with staff in Virginia and California.
“We got to keep talking. We’ve got to keep preaching. My dad once said- he was a minister- he said, ‘why do you preach to the choir?’, like I’m preaching to the choir right now,” said Mr. Walker.
“‘You preach to the choir because you want the choir to sing’. So go out and sing. Share the message. Pass it on to classmates, teammates, neighbors, folks you go to church or synagogue with. Whoever it might be, spread that message. We need it now more than ever.”