Among conservatives, CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside the nation’s capital, is the biggest annual event with thousands of conservative leaders and activists attending. Smashed somewhere among them was a young Dixonite, Devon Minnema.
The 18-year-old Dixon High Class of 2012 grad – who is a sophomore at Woodland Community College – completed his class assignments early and worked extra hours to stay extra days at a Washington hostel before being part of the Young Americans for Liberty group that books a major hotel.
“It was my third CPAC. I couldn’t go last year because of my classes but it is always great getting to hear all the Presidential hopefuls — it’s like getting a sneak peek to what’s coming in 2016,” said the politically astute Minnema who works at Tom Nishimura Farming and owns BestofCluck.com, an international website for backyard chicken farmers.
Over the 3-day conference, he had the privilege of hearing potential 2016 Republican White House contenders including Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee along with Governors Rick Perry of Texas, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2012, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Chris Christie of New Jersey.
“What is awesome about CPAC and especially about this year–because it was the 50th anniversary–it helps you know that you are not the only one, not the only generation that thinks this way. In fact, this has been a conviction that has been held for generations, all the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Williams F. Buckley, Jr., and even further,” Devon said with enthusiasm.
“I think it’s cool that the current president of this CPAC is Carly Fiorina from California who ran for senate against Barbara Boxer in 2010,” he added. “What is awesome about going with YAL is its great to hang out with other young people who have the same ideology as me and better, that the ideology is just as big a deal to them as it is to me.”
Devon made Sacramento headlines after organizing Dixon’s first Tea Party at age 13. He was pictured at the downtown corner of First and A Streets with a 3 x 5 foot sign saying he was “13-years old and trillions in debt” that he had made with color crayons.
Since then he was featured on several national television and radio talk shows and continues to get requests for public speaking. He chartered the YAL Chapter at Dixon High School and adult friends often call him during elections for advice.
“YAL organizers set up the hotel because they are really wanting to get young people there,” said Devon, “Because of the sheer gravity of CPAC, it makes you want to go out and be politically active. It makes you want to work on campaigns, and to work on non-profits who stand for these ideals and help make decisions for more responsible government that positively impact our citizens.”
The CPAC is hosted by the ACU American Conservative Union and the CPAC Straw Poll is one of the earliest indicators of the Conservatives’ are leaning. This year one of Devon’s favorites won: Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky.
“Thousands of people trek to snow and ice covered Washington for three days to listen to Republican leaders preach the gospel to the faithful. I’d call that relevant. It’s a good platform to keep the Republican base, and many young people, energized and charged up,” said Republican strategist Ana Navarro in a CNN article about the CPAC.
Devon was so inspired by the event that he has already filed an “Intent to Seek Office” form for Dixon City Council so he can explore that possibility and collect funds if he chooses to seek that position in the November 2014 elections