2018 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Awards Presented to Cole, Denham, Dent, Walorski & Royce

WASHINGTON, DC – At a dinner this past Thursday evening at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, The Ripon Society honored five members of Congress with the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award, an honor that is given in the spirit of America’s 26th President and one that is intended to recognize leaders who today embody some of the same qualities that Theodore Roosevelt displayed throughout his life.

“The award was established with one premise in mind,” stated former Ambassador and Congresswoman Connie Morella, who delivered opening remarks to help kick-off the evening and is a 2016 TR Leadership Award winner herself. “Namely, there is a lot of good, thoughtful work being done on Capitol Hill and in Washington that people do not regularly hear about.

“With trust in government at an all-time low, The Ripon Society believes it is important that Americans not only learn about this work, but learn more about the individuals who are responsible for getting it done.”

To that end, Morella noted, the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award honors those leaders:

  • Who have a sense of duty and service driven by a love of country.
  • Who possess a desire to do what is in the best interests of the American people – regardless of party, and regardless of who gets the credit; and,
  • Who embody the qualities that Theodore Roosevelt spoke of when he said: “The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

“The five leaders we honor tonight embody these qualities and more.” Morella declared. “Between them, they have over 100 years of service at every level of government, both here at home and abroad. Individually, they have made their mark in many important ways. On behalf of The Ripon Society, it is an honor to recognize them for their leadership, their service, and their commitment to bold thinking and new ideas over the course of their careers.”

This year’s Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award honorees include: Congressman Tom Cole, who represents the 4th District of Oklahoma in the House of Representatives; Congressman Jeff Denham, who represents the 10th District of California; Congressman Charlie Dent, who represents the 15th District of Pennsylvania; Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, who represents the 2nd District of Indiana; and Congressman Ed Royce, who represents the 39th District of California.

According to Ripon Society President & CEO Jim Conzelman, this is the fourth year that the Society has visited a presidential library to present the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award.

“Three years ago,” he stated, “we presented the Awards at the Ronald Reagan Library just up the road from here in Simi Valley. In 2016, we traveled to Texas to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. And last October, we went to New York, where we not only visited Theodore Roosevelt’s historic home at Sagamore Hill, but toured Franklin Roosevelt’s estate and museum in Hyde Park.

“We are pleased to be here at the Nixon Library to not only present the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Awards, but to have the opportunity to learn more about the life and legacy of our 37th President. It is a complicated legacy to say the least. It is also a legacy that has a special resonance in the history of The Ripon Society. Several founding members of The Ripon Society went on to work for President Nixon. And a number of ideas that Ripon proposed and developed in the 1960s were later embraced by his Administration. These ideas including pushing for trade with China, and calling for an end to the military draft.

“President Nixon paid tribute to these contributions in a 1970 letter to mark the anniversary of Ripon’s founding. He wrote: ‘At a time when many young people fear that their ideas cannot have an impact on American politics, the members of the Ripon Society have effectively proven otherwise. By thinking long and hard about public problems and by arguing its positions in a vigorous and reasonable manner, the Ripon Society has notably enriched our political dialogue.’

“The President concluded by writing this: ‘Neither the Republican Party nor the American government can be effective unless they are vital and venturesome institutions, always receptive to new ways of looking at public problems. That is why the party and the government welcome Ripon’s impatience with the tired approaches of the past and its readiness to explore ideas ‘whose time is coming.’

“Clearly, a lot has changed since President Nixon wrote this letter 48 years ago. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for us to be impatient and bold – impatient with old approaches that no longer work, and bold in our thinking and pursuit of new ideas to meet the challenges we face. It is in that spirit that we meet here tonight, and it is in that spirit that we present the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Awards.”

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.

To view photos from the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Awards Dinner, please click here.