College Republicans visit Washington, D.C. for national conference

The conference looked ahead to the 2012 presidential election.

Six members of the Mizzou College Republicans traveled to Washington D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

The conference was held over the weekend at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

College Republicans Chairwoman Sophie Mashburn, Social Chair Amanda Swysgood, Philanthropy Director Justice Green, Vice Chair Malorie Howe and freshmen Phillip Arnzen and Landon Heid all attended.

“It was phenomenal,” Mashburn said. “It was quite the experience.”

Mashburn said the group arrived a day before the conference started to do some sightseeing. They traveled to different monuments and tourist spots such as the Hard Rock Café. They also went to the U.S. Capitol building where they got to stand on House Speaker John Boehner’s balcony and also watched the House in session debate green jobs.

She and Swysgood were asked by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute lecture director to say the Pledge of Allegiance and the group prayer respectively at a luncheon with Michelle Duggar. Mashburn also got to sit next to Duggar during the luncheon.

“It was a luncheon about being a female conservative on a liberal campus,” Mashburn said. “It was a bunch of just different women. The whole room was full.”

Traditionally during CPAC, conservative politicians announce their bids as presidential candidates, but there was minimal occurrence of such declarations this year.

Mashburn said she thinks this could be contributed to tension within the Republican Party. She said she felt CPAC had a more “libertarian twist” to it this year.

“This is a huge event for all conservatives and I intend to do it again next year hopefully with more people if I can get funding from the university,” Mashburn said.

Arnzen said it was his first time attending CPAC and he thought it was largely focused on the federal budget.

“I would recommend it to anybody who is even slightly conservative,” Arnzen said. “This year was mainly focused on the budget and our deficit.”

Arnzen said it was great to see some of the world’s political icons as well as up and coming politicians getting their start.

“It’s exciting,” Heid said. “There was a lot of discussion about 2012.”

Mashburn said the Mizzou College Republicans came away more invigorated about the 2012 presidential elections.

“We really bonded, the six of us did, on a personal level,” Mashburn said. “We’re getting ready and pumped up for 2012. This CPAC was more about getting excited for the upcoming presidential election.”

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