Special Edition of The Ripon Forum Looks Back on “A Decade of Ripon Profiles”

WASHINGTON, DC — For just over a decade now, the one recurring feature in every edition of The Ripon Forum has been a profile of a prominent Republican on the back page.  That feature is now the focus of a special edition of the Forum which looks back on, “A Decade of Ripon Profiles: 2007-2017.”

 “To the extent that the Ripon Profile has been one of our most popular and consistent features over the past 10 years,” writes Forum editor Lou Zickar in a note to introduce this special edition, “we thought it would be a good time to publish a compilation of every profile that has appeared in our pages during that time. Between 2007 and 2017, we profiled a total of 21 members of the U.S. House, 12 members of the U.S. Senate, and 15 Governors from around the country. We also profiled the Chairman of the Republican National Committee (Michael Steele), and a business executive who was running for governor of California at the time (Meg Whitman). Some of these individuals, such as former Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell, are no longer in public office, while others, such as former Indiana Governor Mike Pence, have gone on to bigger and presumably better things.

“The goal of these profiles has been to mix policy with personality – to be a sort of Dewar’s Profile for the political set. Most of the time, we succeeded; other times, we may have come up a bit short. The profile of Congressman Pat Meehan from this past April is an example of what this feature is intended to be. It is a mixture of humorous life lessons from Meehan’s first job as a caddy (‘Stay clear of the golfers that throw clubs’) and sober observations about one of the great challenges facing America at this time (‘The opioid crisis nationwide and in Pennsylvania in particular is staggering.’) Our profile of Congressman Kevin McCarthy from April 2007 is similarly notable because it captured the future Majority Leader at the beginning of his House career. When asked who inspired him as a child, the then-freshman lawmaker said: his mother (‘because she is a strong Italian woman with an infectious laugh’); Satchel Paige (‘because he not only was a pioneer for ending segregation in Major League Baseball, but was also one of the greatest pitchers in history’); and, Teddy Roosevelt (‘because he was not afraid to lead.’) As for the issue facing America that no one was talking about at the time, the California Republican and one-time small businessman sounded many of the same themes he is sounding today. ‘Our innovators need less Washington regulations,’ he declared, ‘and a tax code that keeps us competitive in a free market economy.’”

“If there has been one other goal of the Ripon Profile over the past decade,” Zickar continued, “it has been to show that the Republican Party is, for the lack of a better term, not just a bunch of white guys in suits. That clearly has been an ever-increasing challenge in recent years. But at a time when men make up 91 percent of the House GOP Conference, it is worth noting that 44 percent of our Ripon Profiles — or 22 out of 50 — were dedicated to women.  

“The start of a new year is always a time for resolutions. So as we close out 2017 and look toward 2018, let all Republicans resolve to do more to reverse this trend and increase the number of women serving in the GOP. Politically, it will strengthen the party and make it more diverse. More parochially, it will provide this journal with a new generation of leaders to shine a light on in the years ahead.”

Those featured in “A Decade of Ripon Profiles” include:  Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (PR); Governor Doug Ducey (AZ); Senator Bill Cassidy (LA); Congressman Pat Meehan (PA); Senator Todd Young (IN); Congresswoman Mimi Walters (CA); Senator Jeff Flake (AZ); Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (IN); Senator Orrin G. Hatch (UT); Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik (NY); Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL); Governor Larry Hogan (MD); Senator Cory Gardner (CO); then-Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC); Congresswoman Mia Love (UT); then-Governor Mike Pence (IN); then-Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH); Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL); Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS); then-Governor Pat McCrory (NC); Senator Deb Fischer (NE); Governor Brian Sandoval (NV); Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA); then-Governor Luis G. Fortuño (PR); Senator Dean Heller (NV); Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD); Governor Bill Haslam (TN); then-Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (NY); Senator Ron Johnson (WI); Governor Susana Martinez (NM); Senator Tim Scott (SC); Congressman Charlie Dent (PA); then-Governor John Hoeven (ND); then-Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (MS); then-Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT); then-Governor Jan Brewer (AZ); Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK); Senator Richard Burr (NC); business executive Meg Whitman (CA); then-Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN); then-Governor Jon Huntsman (UT); then-RNC Chairman Michael Steele (MD); then-Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV); then-Governor Charlie Crist (FL); then-Congresswoman Judy Biggert (IL); Senator Chuck Grassley (IA); then-Governor Jodi Rell (CT); Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA); then-Governor Linda Lingle (HI); Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX).

The Ripon Forum is published six times a year by The Ripon Society, 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.