In Speech to The Ripon Society, Cantor Touts Conservative Principles and the Importance of Making Those Principles Relevant to People’s Lives


WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering a speech about common sense conservative principles and why it is critical for Republicans to apply those principles in a way that not only inspires people, but is also relevant to their lives. 

“We as conservative Republicans don’t stand for a big government,” Cantor stated. “But we do stand for a big America. I shudder to think what this world is going to be without a big America. It is that optimism — it is that inspiration – which I believe our party is about. We’re having a challenge in conveying that kind of optimistic, inspirational message of who we are as conservatives and Republicans. 

“The media has done a great job of sort of shoving us in the corner, because all they say we are concerned with is somehow balancing the budget and cutting spending and taking things away from people. What we’re trying to say is that we need to do those things in order to reenergize the opportunity machine of America. We’re about giving people opportunity. And that’s really what our agenda this year is about.”

Cantor, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, represents the 7th Congressional District of Virginia. Re-elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Leader for the second consecutive Congress, he also spoke about the legislative agenda Republicans are pursuing and the message he hoped the American people would hear. 

“We’ve committed ourselves over the last couple months to try to set in place a plan to get this economy back on track,” the Majority Leader stated. “We have taken the steps necessary. We have stood by the sequester. And we’ve said we’re going to maintain our commitment to fiscal discipline. No one can convince us that that’s not vital to economic growth. 

“But we also want to speak to the people who, frankly, have begun to turn us off because they don’t feel we have an agenda that speaks to them … What are we doing for that assistant manager of a fast food restaurant? What are we doing for single moms who are waking up in the District of Columbia this morning and facing the fact that their kids are going to schools that can’t even provide a safe place for these mothers to leave their kids, let alone get an education?” 


“It has to do with applying conservative philosophies to the challenges that every day people are facing. This week on the floor, we have a bill that Martha Roby has put in. It’s a bill that came out of the Education and Workforce Committee on a party line vote. It’s a bill that says if you work overtime — more than 40 hours per week — you ought to be given the choice of whether you get time and a half or get comp time. 

“Why? First of all, all government employees have this flexibility. Secondly, if you’re a working parent — and believe me I know with three kids of my own — one of the things all working parents want is more time. How do you juggle getting to the pediatrician’s office, going to a parent-teacher conference, going to a soccer game after school if you’re an hourly wage earner and you’ve got to be able to go to work to get your paycheck? Who wants that kind of choice?” 

“We’ve also got some education issues that we are taking a look at. Educational reform is something we conservatives have always believed in. If we’re going to be about advancement, we need to allow parents the opportunity to get younger kids out of these really bad schools and put them into a life were they actually have a shot at a successful future. It’s about dollars following the kids, because if you let the dollars follow the bureaucratic maze, you get what you’ve got now. And that’s not good enough for us.” 

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.