Event Location Skyline

Annual Meeting Speakers


Keynote Speakers:

Governor Rick Perry

Tuesday, July 29, Leadership Dinner

Perry-DallasA fifth generation Texan, Governor Rick Perry has taken an extraordinary Texas journey, from a tenant farm on the rolling plains of West Texas to the governor’s office of our nation’s second largest state.

As the state’s 47th and longest-serving governor, he is the first Texas A&M graduate to occupy the Governor’s Mansion. Starting in the United States Air Force and continuing over two decades in elected office, Rick Perry has led a life of public service.

Governor Perry’s administration has focused on creating a Texas of unlimited opportunity and prosperity by improving education, securing the border and increasing economic development.

Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, Texas has consistently been ranked as one of America’s best places for economic development and expansion due to low taxes, a predictable regulatory structure and sensible legal system. Since 2001, Gov. Perry has presided over $17 billion in tax cuts and the largest lawsuit reforms in the nation.

Gov. Perry has also led the effort to greatly improve the quality of a Texas education by increasing standards and accountability, raising teacher pay and overhauling the state’s school finance structure.

Perry is an Eagle Scout and a lifetime member of American Legion Post #75. Perry and his wife, Anita, have two children.


Former Senator Jim DeMint

Tuesday, July 29, Leadership Dinner

Jim-DeMint-DallasBecoming president of The Heritage Foundation is “like coming home,” says Jim DeMint, who rose from modest South Carolina roots and a career in marketing to build and lead a resurgent conservative caucus in the U.S. Senate.

On April 4, 2013, DeMint succeeded Edwin J. Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. After stepping down from the Senate seat to which South Carolinians twice elected him, DeMint functioned as president-elect of Heritage in a three-month transition. Feulner, president since 1977, was a founding trustee in 1974.

DeMint was born James Warren DeMint on Sept. 2, 1951, in Greenville, S.C. “Jim” and his three siblings were raised by a single mother who taught him the value of hard work and perseverance. He attended public schools in Greenville, graduating from Wade Hampton High School.

He married his high school sweetheart, Debbie Henderson, in 1973. That same year, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Clemson University.

DeMint and his wife, Debbie, have four children who now are grown and married. They’ve taken a shine to being grandparents.



Speaker Joe Straus

Wednesday, July 30, Opening Luncheon

Straus-DallasJoe Straus was elected to his third term as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives by a unanimous vote in January of last year.  Under Straus’ leadership, the Texas House has passed three balanced budgets, extended historic tax cuts to small businesses, increased budget transparency, improved public education and approved legislation to fund a state water plan.

Speaker Straus is a lifelong Republican who has represented Bexar County’s House District 121 since 2005.  He is a fifth-generation Texan and San Antonio native, and he and his wife Julie have two daughters.








Stephen Moore

Wednesday, July 30, Opening Luncheon

Stephen-Moore-DallasStephen Moore, who formerly wrote on economics and public policy for The Wall Street Journal, is chief economist at The Heritage Foundation. Moore, who also was a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, came to Heritage in January 2014.

As chief economist at Heritage, Moore focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower. He also works on budget, fiscal and monetary policy and showcases states that get fiscal houses in order.

Moore’s early career was shaped by three people who had a profound influence on him: Julian Simon, the late Cato Institute scholar; Edwin J. Feulner, a co-founder of Heritage; and Art Laffer, the economist best known for the Laffer curve.

“What makes them so great is they were willing to take on the conventional wisdom. They were subject to a lot of criticism for doing that,” said Moore. “Those are the real change-makers.”

Moore is the founder and former president of the Club for Growth, which raises money for political candidates who favor free-market economic policies. He left that position in 2004, but calls it the defining moment of his career.

Moore, who grew up in New Trier Township, Ill., holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Arts in economics from George Mason University.

Governor Pat McCrory

Wednesday, July 30, Opening Luncheon

McCrory-DallasPat McCrory was elected the 74th Governor of North Carolina in November 2012. Since taking office, he has worked to improve the state in three key areas: the economy, education and efficiency.

McCrory signed historic tax reform into law, reducing all personal income and corporate tax rates, eliminating special interest loopholes and putting more money in the pockets of every working North Carolina family. His economic policies have contributed to the drop of North Carolina’s unemployment rate by more than two points.

Focused on improving North Carolina’s education, he reconvened the Education Cabinet. The governor created a Teacher Advisory Committee for input on issues like compensation and over-testing. The Center for Safer Schools was established to protect North Carolina’s students, and vocational training legislation was signed to give students greater educational pathways.

Striving for efficient government, he established the Innovation Center to test and streamline information systems throughout state government.

Before becoming governor, McCrory served as the mayor of Charlotte for a record seven terms.

Governor McCrory has been married to his wife Ann for 25 years and the couple has a Labrador retriever mix named Moe.


Attorney General Scott Pruitt

Thursday, July 31, Plenary Breakfast

Scott-Pruitt-AG_photoScott Pruitt was elected the Attorney General of Oklahoma in November 2010. As attorney general, he is dedicated to fighting corruption, safeguarding Oklahoma’s vulnerable citizens, championing public safety measures to reduce violent crime and protecting the interests of Oklahoma and its citizens.

Pruitt established Oklahoma’s first federalism unit in the Office of Solicitor General to combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government. He is a national leader in the cause to restore the proper balance of power between the states and federal government, having served two terms as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Pruitt filed the first lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda, and is leading a multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank financial law.

Before being elected attorney general, he served eight years in the Oklahoma State Senate where he was a leading voice for fiscal responsibility, religious freedom and pro-life issues. Pruitt and his wife, Marlyn, have been married 24 years and have two children, McKenna and Cade.




Dr. Arthur B. Laffer

Thursday, July 31, Plenary Lunch

Art-Laffer-DallasArthur B. Laffer is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an economic research and consulting firm. As a result of Dr. Laffer’s economic insight and influence in starting a worldwide tax cutting movement during the 1980’s, many publications have named him “The Father of Supply Side Economics.”

He is a founding member of the Congressional Policy Advisor Board, which assisted in forming legislation for the 105th, 106th, and 107th Congresses. Dr. Laffer served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his two terms. In March 1999, he was noted by Time Magazine as one of “the Century’s Greatest Minds” for his invention of the Laffer curve, which has been called one of “a few of the advances that powered this extraordinary century.”

He has received many awards for his economic research including two Graham and Dodd Awards from the Financial Analyst Federation. He graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1963 and received both his MBA and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.





Former Speaker Newt Gingrich

Friday, August 1, Plenary Breakfast

Newt-DallasNewt Gingrich is well known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. After he was elected Speaker, he disrupted the status quo by moving power out of Washington and back to the American people. Under his leadership, Congress passed welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation, and the first tax cut in 16 years.

As an author, Gingrich has published twenty-four books including 14 fiction and nonfiction New York Times best-sellers. Non-fiction books include his latest, A Nation Like No Other, in addition to Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny His latest book, Breakout, examines how innovation flourishes in inverse proportion to centralized power.

Today Newt Gingrich is the co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, where he continues to advocate bold policy ideas. He is also a Senior Scientist at Gallup.

Gingrich currently lives in McLean, Virginia, with his wife, Callista Bisek. The couple married in 2000, and together they create public policy documentaries through their production company, Gingrich Productions.




Attorney General Greg Abbott

Friday, August 1, Plenary Lunch

Abbott_HeadshotAttorney General Greg Abbott was reelected as the 50th Attorney General of Texas on November 2, 2010. Prior to his election as attorney general, Greg Abbott served as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a State District Judge in Harris County.

As the state’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Abbott has made protecting children and families the focus of his administration. Shortly after taking office, Attorney General Abbott established a Cyber Crimes Unit to arrest criminals who use the Internet to prey upon children; a Fugitive Unit to arrest convicted sex offenders who violate their parole; and an expanded Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to crack down on elder abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars. Since taking office, General Abbott has collected more than $27 billion in child support for Texas children.

In his capacity as the state’s lawyer, Attorney General Abbott oversees more than 700 attorneys who represent the State of Texas. General Abbott has personally appeared in courtrooms around the state and has obtained indictments against criminals charged with offenses ranging from attempted aggravated assault of a child to capital murder.

Attorney General Abbott holds a B.B.A. from the the University of Texas and a law degree from Vanderbilt University.

He and his wife, Cecilia, a former schoolteacher and principal, have been married for 32 years. They live in Austin with their daughter, Audrey.


Carly Fiorina

Friday, August 1, Plenary Lunch

Carly-FiorinaCarly Fiorina believes conservative principles, applied in a twenty‐first century context, are the most effective way to unleash human potential for positive change in communities, organizations of all kinds and our nation.

Carly began her career as a secretary for a small real‐estate business. She then joined AT&T in an entry‐ level sales position. Fifteen years later, she led AT&T’s spin‐out of Lucent Technologies and then Lucent’s North American operations. In 1999, she was recruited to Hewlett‐Packard where she would become the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business. In her six years as Chairman and CEO of HP, she doubled its revenues to $90 billion; more than quadrupled its growth to 9%; tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day; achieved market leadership in every market and product category and quadrupled cash‐flow.

Taking on tough challenges has been a hallmark of Carly’s life. In 2010, she didn’t shy away from a challenging run for the U.S. Senate when she took on one of Washington’s most entrenched liberals, Barbara Boxer, from the deep blue state of California. She earned more votes than any Republican nationwide that election‐cycle and raised over $25 million dollars in 12 months. On the campaign trail, Carly became known for her proud adherence to conservative philosophy and her mastery of the issues.

Her lifetime of experience has taught Carly that the highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential in others.


Herman Cain

Friday, August 1, Plenary Lunch

Herman-DallasHerman Cain grew up in Atlanta, Georgia with loving parents and little else. They knew that hard work was the key to achieving the American dream and passed this on to their sons.

Cain graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in mathematics in 1967 and continued his education by earning his Master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University while working full-time developing fire control systems for the Department of the Navy. Though Cain enjoyed using his talents as a civilian employee for the Navy, he gravitated towards business, where he would be successful as a C.E.O. and sit on the board of directors for several multi-national corporations.

Today, as a former Republican candidate for the Presidency and seasoned business leader, he remains an active and outspoken voice for conservative issues. In January 2013, Cain began the next phase of his life’s journey with the start of the nationally syndicated Herman Cain Show, heard on many radio stations from nine – noon daily. To complement the radio show, he also established www.hermancain.com which offers a constant flow of commentary, news, audio, video, humor, and reader/listener interaction.

He and his wife, Gloria, reside in McDonough, Georgia.