Walker Addresses CPAC, Encourages Conservatives to Reach New Communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today gave a speech at the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference where he talked about the opportunities that lie ahead for the Republican Party and our nation. He also challenged the audience to listen to people with opposing views, and to work hard to share the conservative message of economic prosperity and upward mobility with new communities.
"Make time for those who disagree with you. It’s easy to preach to the choir, but we must take our message to new places, to new neighborhoods and new communities. Learn to listen," Walker said. "Hold your leaders accountable, but remember your fellow man is not your enemy. Whether democrat, muslim, minorities, or those who identify with the LGBTQ community, why? Because every American deserves the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even those that are unborn."
"Here is the great thing. We have the truth," Walker added. "Over the last several decades, the progressive movement has failed our society, giving us the opportunity to serve and to lead. Rise above. Lead with class and character. And passionately run to those who have suffered under the over-bearing and abusive arm of the federal government."
Walker also encouraged the attendees to focus on the right tone when engaging in politics.
"The best policy in the world, if no one hears it, if no one sees it, if it never reaches our audience, than it’s worthless and it’s futile," he said. "Effective conservatism starts with the right policy, but to be successful in the long-term, it must have the right approach and the right voice. Tone matters. Love the people."
You can watch Walker's remarks above and read them in full below:
"Well good afternoon, since it’s after 12:00 now. Thank you to CPAC’s Chairman Matt Schlapp, certainly Mercedes, the board of directors, and most of all to all you attendees, now in your third full day. Thank you for coming from all parts of the country.
"It is an honor to be with you today and I am privileged to serve as the Republican Study Committee Chairman.
"I rely simply not on my long history of political pedigrees, but rather on my own real life experiences as a pastor. As well as my time in business and finance. I lead from what I have learned as a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. You see, I have only been serving in Congress a little more than 25 months, but it’s the experience that I encountered in working with people from all walks of life, that drive my work here in Washington or in my home state of North Carolina.
"As a pastor for nearly 17 years, I was blessed to work with students and families. Yet, over that time, I have witnessed the spiraling fiscal and social conditions that have negatively impacted so many people.
"As a minister, I saw first hand leading students and millennials into forsaken neighborhoods. Places like Cleveland, New York, and Baltimore. I still remember asking the leader of a non-profit group from a group we were working with there in Cleveland. And I asked him what is it that our team of 60 or 70 people, what is it that we can bring to you? I remember his answer very distinctly and very specifically. He said ‘please bring hope.’
"You see President Obama talked much about hope and how he wanted to fundamentally change the future of our country. The facts are this, this brand of change didn’t make us stronger, in fact we are weaker because of failed promises with our economy, our education, our healthcare, our military and defense.
"In fact, in North Carolina, homeownership among our minority communities are down for 9 years in a row. But like many of you, I see a different kind of hope in the numbers.
"With a Donald Trump and Mike Pence administration, we are fast-tracking the process to a better America.
"But it wasn’t just what happened this past November in our presidential election. It’s a movement that has been brewing for the last several years.
"Listen to these numbers. We had 3 million more people voting for Republicans than we did Democrats this past Congress. That’s a good thing.
"But think about it from a historical concept. In 1913, the House of Representatives went from 394 to 435. Not since that time, until the last two Congresses have we ever elected 240 Republicans in back-to-back. And you know, I think it is time to give credit where credit is due. People like Nancy Pelosi. Now, I don’t want to make Nancy Pelosi the complete scape goat here, but I do believe that it is fitting to give her a round of applause for her help in this process is it not? Thank you Nancy!
"But her is the truth, this growing hope, didn’t begin in Congress. The winds that have begun to unfurl the sails of this great nation, started in our grassroots level. People like you, in our towns, our factories, our places of worship, our ball fields, with families and hard-working Americans who simply said we’ve had enough.
"Many of you are part of this change. You have worked your butts off to change the course of our future and here is the proof. In 2009, there were 28 Democratic governors, anybody want to take a guess at how many now? 16. In all, Democrats have lost over 1,000 seats across our nation. They now control only 31 of the 98 state legislatures. That’s to your hard work.
"Why is that? I think the answer is pretty simple. Big government policies have not yielded economic opportunity and upward mobility. Instead, they have trapped two generations in a growing dependency on government. I believe that God created every man and woman and boy and girl with special skills, a uniqueness, great abilities. Government has created systems that doesn’t help people flourish, but literally diminishes and alters the very best for their lives.
"The time for good policies for a great America is now. It is with urgency that our unified Republican government deliver on promises. Promised to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered healthcare choices, not additional entitlements. We must deliver on tax reform that creates new life blood into our economy. We must beat back the power-grabbing regulations and we must protect our religious liberties no matter the cost.
"Some of you may remember the tornadoes that did great destructive damage to Moore, Oklahoma some 5 or 6 years ago. I can remember the joint simulcast between NBC and CBS News that evening. And as the news came on, Brian Williams said this, ‘If you are waiting on the federal government you may be waiting a while, but the Baptist men are already here. These religious institutions and non-profits need protection. They are the ones doing the work, they are the ones holding the hand of the addicted. They are the ones rescuing the trafficked. We must continue to fight for the religious liberties.
"Well, we have talked about the what, we have discussed the why, allow me to close today with the how. And this may not be the most red-meat speech that you have heard but it is very important. Listen to me today. The best policy in the world, if no one hears it, if no one sees it, if it never reaches our audience, than it’s worthless and it’s futile.
"Effective conservatism starts with the right policy, but to be successful in the long-term, it must have the right approach and the right voice. Tone matters. Love the people. Let’s be honest, it took a few years for our nation’s words to match our actions – that all men are created equal. But your generation, you see without discrimination and without prejudice.
"Make time for those who disagree with you. It’s easy to preach to the choir, but we must take our message to new places, to new neighborhoods and new communities. Learn to listen. There is real pain and real fear out there. Hold your leaders accountable, but remember your fellow man is not your enemy. Whether democrat, muslim, minorities, or those who identify with the LGBTQ community, why? Because every American deserves the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even those that are unborn.
"Here is the great thing. We have the truth. Over the last several decades, the progressive movement has failed our society, giving us the opportunity to serve and to lead.
"Rise above. Lead with class and character. And passionately run to those who have suffered under the over-bearing and abusive arm of the federal government. Along the way, you will have to preserve, because there will be adversity. There will be sacrifice. It will cost you something. Many of your peers may sit back and sneer and mock that you are even in the political arena. However, you are there heroes because you are serving without fame or fortune.
"Arthur Ashe said it this way, ’True heroism is remarkably sober. Very undramatic, it is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve all others at whatever the cost.’
"My friends, do more than make an argument, make a difference. May God provide the path, and may we have the courage to follow. God bless and thank you very much."