100 Coloradans posing for a group photo in front of the Capitol
Last week 100 Coloradans spent three days in Washington D.C. for the 2017 Colorado Capital Conference.


Coloradans head to the Capitol

Seven Colorado Mesa University students and 93 Colorado residents traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Colorado Capital Conference, June 21-23. Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado Mesa University and University of Colorado host the annual event, which gives 100 Coloradans an opportunity to interact with our nation’s leaders and learn more about our government.  

The conference yielded an impressive lineup of speakers including elected officials, journalists, thought leaders, former secretaries, a historian and a Supreme Court justice. Each speaker brought a different perspective to the current political environment, but they each had a common underlying message of optimism and bipartisanship.  

The three days were packed with tours, speakers, seminars and a parade. A few of the highlights included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressing participants immediately after the American Health Care Act draft was released.  

After he addressed the conference, students met with former Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement Yohannes Abraham who provided valuable advice to students on how to make a difference in public policy at such a young age. 

Ahn Ho-young, ambassador of the Republic of Korea (South), reiterated the importance of the relationship that South Korea shares with the United States and reassured listeners that he feels positively about how the alliance stands today.  

Madeleine Albright, once the highest-ranking woman in U.S. government and the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, spoke at the evening banquet. Her advice to female students in the room was to “interrupt during meetings” to ensure that their voices are being heard.

Students were also able to shake hands with fellow Coloradoan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neal Gorsuch, after he humbly reflected on his career. 

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, advised the group to “say yes more” and to “use weaknesses as a source of strength” as first steps in achieving the life they desire. Other speakers included The Atlantic magazine journalist Molly Ball, Political Director of CBS News John Dickerson, Assistant Senate Historian Dan Holt and many more.  

In addition to the numerous speakers, participants were able to stand on the senate floor, sit in the Supreme Court room and reflect on the history that has taken place within the U.S. Capitol walls.  

The Capital Conference members had the opportunity to interact with these speakers, but maybe more importantly, they were able to interact with each other. Students were able to connect with industry leaders throughout the state to gain employment opportunities, mentorship and inspiration.

As the conference concluded, it was evident that all conference participants will be more engaged and motivated to shape public policy.

By Shania Belden
She is a senior at Colorado Mesa pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree concentrating in finance and marketing.

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David Ludlam, Director of Public Relations


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