Our Emerging Leaders Advisory Council has been an awesome addition to the Steamboat Institute vision. Our Emerging Leaders provide valuable input for the next generation and are writing a series of blogs and op-eds on topics that have a direct impact on individual liberty. Each month, we’ll introduce to a new member of our ELAC team. This month, Charlotte Whelan, who works for Independent Women’s Forum, joins us for a Q&A. You can read her latest post here.
1. What policy issues are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate about issues that affect the family such as school choice and educational freedom. I think that they are so important because parents should be able to protect their children, particularly regarding things such as sex ed and gender issues now taught in schools. Similarly, I’m passionate about the freedom of religion and free speech, particularly because they’re so important to the foundation of our nation and the freedom that it was founded upon.
2. Why are you a conservative? What drew you to it?
I am conservative because I believe deeply in the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. While I grew up in a conservative household, it was mostly socially conservative, with the strongest influence coming from our Catholic faith, and my family never talked about politics except when they were explicitly affecting our faith and beliefs.
That was my main exposure until I went to college and became friends with many individuals who were deeply involved with and informed about different policies and how we needed to fight to protect our freedom. Since then, through courses and conversations, participation in different programs, such as the James Madison Program, and groups, I have realized the importance of working to protect the values that the founding fathers instilled in our country, particularly through the Constitution.
More broadly, I have also seen how conservative principles such as free markets and privatization have helped to better the lives of so many people, encouraging them to work for their dreams and rewarding them for their dedication and hard work.
3. What role models, thinkers, writers, leaders do you like and why? (You can choose just one if you like!)
Mary Hasson is a role model of mine. Another is Robert George, who was my professor for several classes at Princeton. It was because of his classes, Civil Liberties and Constitutional Interpretation that I even became interested in policy work and the importance of the freedoms that our Constitution protects. Both Mrs. Hasson and Professor George are also deeply devout Catholics, something which influences and inspires their work, as does my own Catholic faith.
4. What made you want to join ELAC?
I wanted to join ELAC because I realized the great work that the Steamboat Institute is doing after I attended the Freedom Conference this past August. I hope to support the Steamboat Institute and broaden their reach so that they can spread their important message to as many people as possible. With ELAC, I saw an opportunity to work with other young professionals who are passionate about similar issues and who will be my allies as we work to protect the founding principles and our Constitution from the many attacks they face.
5. What are 1-2 goals you have in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years, I hope to concentrate my knowledge and efforts on a specific policy focus. At the moment, I’m working to figure out what I hope for that to be. I would like to publish opeds regularly and perhaps even do some TV hits as I become an expert on my chosen topic.