In 2018, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) became the first woman elected to represent the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Senate. Last month, she was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to provide the keynote welcome address for our 2021 Leadership Rereat, which was hosted in her home state’s city of Chattanooga.
She began her remarks by telling the 60 college leaders in attendance that “our country needs conservative women who are going to stand up and fight now more than ever.”
Blackburn is the epitome of a trailblazing conservative leader. Starting out in a male-dominated industry, she learned early on that it takes grit and steadfast values to make your voice known and affect change. Before her election to the Senate, she represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the Tennessee State Senate, where she became a leader in the fight for a small, efficient federal government that is accountable to its citizens.
Today, she is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee, and she serves as the Ranking Member on the Consumer Protection, Product Safety & Data Security Subcommittee.
Part way through her address at the leadership retreat, Blackburn reminded us of the powerful words of President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.”
She encouraged everyone to take time to reflect on what freedom means to them individually and what that looks like on a larger scale for their state and our greater country collectively. She then implored us to stand up and fight for those freedoms.
“Freedom is a precious, precious commodity, and it is women who continue to show up for this fight,” she said. “The mainstream media is not going to step up and glorify conservative women.”
From city council to school board to state legislature, she encouraged all women to raise their hands and volunteer.
When a student leader from American University asked her how she can stay so steadfast in her convictions that guide her in this fight for freedom, Blackburn replied, “We are the great experiment in self-rule. Every time I have to make a decision, I stop and think, ‘How will this affect my children, my grandchildren? What is this going to do for our freedoms?’”
It is because of the courage and perseverance of conservative female leaders like Blackburn that our members feel empowered to voice their own opinions and forge their own leadership paths. Especially during the Year of the Conservative Woman, we are proud to put a spotlight on the countless strong leaders and role models across our community.
This blog was written by Marisa Brand, NeW Professional Network Coordinator.
Interested in learning more about how you can attend events with leaders like Senator Blackburn? Want to get involved with a community of like-minded women on your campus? Get in touch with a member of our college team today at [email protected].