2021 Ideas Summit Speakers

Charles C. W. Cooke is a Senior Writer at National Review, a co-host of the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” podcast, and the author of The Conservatarian Manifesto (Crown Forum, March 2015). Charles is a graduate of the University of Oxford, at which he studied modern history and politics. His work has focused on Anglo-American history, British liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment, and American exceptionalism. Charles is a frequent guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and has broadcast for the BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business. He immigrated to the United States in 2011 and became an American citizen in 2018.

Tom Cotton is a United States Senator from Arkansas. He grew up on his family’s cattle farm in Yell County. He graduated from Dardanelle High School, Harvard, and Harvard Law School. After a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals and private law practice, Senator Cotton left the law because of the September 11th attacks. He served nearly five years on active duty in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer. Senator Cotton served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Between his two combat tours, he served with The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller, Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery

Lindsay Craig is the President of National Review Institute, the non-profit William F. Buckley Jr. founded in 1991 to complement the efforts of National Review magazine and promote the ideals of a free society he championed. Under Lindsay’s leadership, NRI has established sound fiscal footing, even as NRI has become the parent company for NR, Inc., significantly expanded and enhanced its existing programs while establishing new ones, and broadened its partnerships with policy organizations and policy makers across the country. She remains active in the broader conservative movement, organizing events, serving on advisory boards, and speaking at conferences. Prior to joining NRI in August of 2013, Lindsay spent 16 years at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, one of the country’s leading domestic-policy think tanks. As vice president of communications and marketing, she oversaw the development of the public-relations department, social-media and web development, and strategic marketing. In addition to her communications department duties, Lindsay spearheaded numerous other Manhattan Institute projects—leading special initiatives such as launching the Young Leaders Circle, organizing major conferences, and overseeing MI’s internship program. A Connecticut native, Lindsay has lived in New York City for over 30 years, after she moved there to study photography and graphic design at School of Visual Arts with a focus on political art. She graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Politics. She lives just outside New York City with her husband and young daughter.

Betsy DeVos is a leader, an innovator, a disruptor, and a champion for freedom. She is the nation’s leading advocate for education freedom for students of all ages, having served as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education from 2017-2021. Betsy advocates for free people, free markets, free exchange of ideas, and most notably, freedom in education. As a champion for school choice and multiple education options for all students after high school, she believes in the unique potential of every student and that there is no one-size-fits-all pathway to success. For more than three decades, she has been tireless in her pursuit of public policy reforms that get government out of the way and allow all students the freedom, flexibility, resources and support they need to choose where, when and how they learn. DeVos is also an accomplished business leader. She served as Chairman of The Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan with a diversified consumer product and service portfolio. She is the former chair of the American Federation for Children, The Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Michigan Republican Party, and has served on a number of other national boards, including the Kennedy Center and the American Enterprise Institute. DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College and is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community activist Dick DeVos. Together, they have four children and eight grandchildren.

Doug Ducey is the Governor of Arizona. Elected in 2014, and re-elected in 2018, Governor Ducey has applied his experience from a successful career in business to bring much-needed change to Arizona government. Upon taking office, the governor inherited a $1 billion budget deficit. He quickly took action and balanced the budget in his first year—without raising taxes. Today, the state budget is balanced with a one billion dollar surplus and a record one billion dollars in its Rainy Day Fund. Business is thriving and more people are moving to Arizona than almost anywhere in the country. Committed to investing in public education, Governor Ducey led a historic and bipartisan effort to invest $3.5 billion into K-12 schools in his first year, injecting more dollars into Arizona’s classrooms. With a focus on teacher pay, the governor also successfully championed the passage of legislation to increase teacher pay 20 percent by 2020. Governor Ducey has cut regulations and simplified taxes every year to stimulate job creation and economic growth. He’s also prioritized public safety, creating the Arizona Border Strike Force, a statewide, multi-agency effort to combat border-related crime. By working across party lines, Arizona has led the way on some important public policies. In 2015, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass the “American Civics Act,” requiring students to pass a civics test—the same test those seeking to earn American citizenship must pass—in order to graduate high school. It was the first bill Governor Ducey signed into law. In 2019, Arizona became the first state to provide universal recognition of occupational licenses from other states, a priority of Governor Ducey’s outlined in his January state of the state address. Governor Ducey remains committed to making Arizona a land of “Opportunity for All” and has pledged to work every day to make that vision a reality.

Carlos Antonio Gimenez proudly represents the people of Florida’s 26th congressional district, encompassing all of Monroe County and the southwest portion of Miami-Dade County. First elected to Congress in 2020, he serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Homeland Security committee, and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He is also a part of the Freedom Force Caucus. Congressman Gimenez is a husband, father, grandfather, and a public servant who has dedicated his life to serving the Miami-Dade community. Born in 1954, he immigrated to the United States in 1960 following the Cuban Revolution, settling in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami. His family’s experience helped shape his servant’s heart and his dedication to this community, understanding the importance of protecting individuals’ freedom to pursue their potential. Congressman Gimenez began his journey of public service in 1975 when he joined the City of Miami Fire Department. In 2000, he was appointed Manager of the City of Miami, overseeing a $500 million annual budget and nearly 4,000 city government employees, with the goal of implementing critical fiscal and administrative reforms for the sustainability of City of Miami operations. In this capacity, he reduced the city’s tax rate to the lowest level in 50 years while generating more revenue for the city. Four years later, Congressman Gimenez was elected as Miami-Dade County Commissioner where he served the county’s 7th district until 2011. In the summer of 2011, he was elected as Mayor of Miami-Dade County, the highest-ranking official of Florida’s largest county. He maintained his commitment to bringing fiscal responsibility needed at the county level, working to expand transparency, renegotiate contracts with public sector labor unions and reduce the county government workforce, and implementing the largest tax cut in the county’s history saving Miami-Dade County taxpayers $2 billion. He was subsequently re-elected as Mayor in 2012 and again in 2016.

Kevin Hassett is senior adviser to National Review Capital Matters. He is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Vice President of the Lindsey Group. Hassett served as the 29th Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers beginning in 2017 and rejoined the White House this spring as Senior Advisor to the President. Prior to his White House service, Hassett was the research director at the American Enterprise Institute for many years. He also served as a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and as an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, as well as a visiting professor at New York University’s Law School. He has been an adviser for many presidential campaigns and has contributed regular columns to National Review for almost 20 years.

James C. Justice, II announced his campaign to seek the office of governor of West Virginia in May 2015. After 19 months on the campaign trail sharing his vision for transforming West Virginia, Jim was elected the 36th governor of West Virginia. He won with a broad coalition of support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The Governor joined his family’s business in 1976. Because of his strong interest in nature and the outdoors, he started Justice Family Farms in 1977 in beautiful Monroe County, West Virginia. Under his direction, Justice Farming Operations has grown to be a major agricultural enterprise. His companies farm more than 50,000 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Upon the death of his father in 1993, Jim became the President and CEO of Bluestone Industries, Inc. and Bluestone Coal Corporation. Over the next 15 years, Jim launched a massive expansion of multiple businesses which included significant coal reserve expansion, Christmas tree farms, cotton gins, turfgrass operations, golf courses, timber enhancement and land projects just to mention a few. Before being elected governor, Jim was the president and CEO of 102 different companies. Governor Justice spent his career creating thousands of jobs and understands how to put people to work. In 2009, Justice rescued The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, from bankruptcy. The workforce was facing deep cuts in jobs and benefits. Immediately after purchasing The Greenbrier, Jim Justice reversed many of the benefit cuts and invested in renovations and expansions. He brought major events like the PGA Tour, training camps for the NFL and NBA, and countless high-profile acts and conferences to The Greenbrier. As governor, he wants to do everything possible to put West Virginia in a positive light. 

Madeleine Kearns, a recent William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism, is now a staff writer at National Review. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Kearns was a 2017 summer intern at The Spectator and became the first intern on record to contribute a cover story. Her work has also been published in The Wall Street JournalThe Daily TelegraphStandpoint, The Daily MailThe ScotsmanThe Catholic Herald, and Heterodox Academy. She has appeared on the BBC and Fox Nation, as well as other nationally syndicated outlets. She is a trained singer.

Rich Lowry is the editor of NATIONAL REVIEW. He writes for Politico, and often appears on such public affairs programs as Meet the Press. He is a regular panelist on the KCRW program Left, Right & Center. He is the author of Lincoln Unbound, The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free (Broadside Books, November 2019) and Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years (Regnery Publishing, October 2003)a New York Times bestseller. Lowry began his career as a research assistant for Charles Krauthammer. In 1997 he was selected by William F. Buckley to lead NATIONAL REVIEW.

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis represents Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn. Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Malliotakis was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2010, defeating a two-term incumbent. In the Assembly, she served as Minority Whip and the ranking minority member of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Employees. Congresswoman Malliotakis is the daughter of immigrants, her father from Greece, and her mother a Cuban exile of the Castro dictatorship. 

Andrew C. McCarthy is a bestselling author, a contributing editor at National Review, a Fox News contributor, and a senior fellow at National Review Institute. A former Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, he led the terrorism prosecution against the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for conducting a war of urban terrorism against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Andy is the co-host, along with NR editor in chief Rich Lowry, of “The McCarthy Report”, a podcast produced by National Review. Andy provides analysis and commentary on national security, radical Islam, law, politics, and culture. His work regularly appears in National Review, including a weekend column on Saturdays. He is a regular guest on the John Batchelor Show, joining John and former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter to analyze developments in the Mueller probe. He periodically testifies before Congress on law-enforcement and counterterrorism issues. He also writes for The New Criterion and The Hill, among other publications. His New York Times bestsellers include Willful Blindness (Encounter Books, 2008) and The Grand Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008). He is also the author of the popular e-book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy (Encounter Books, 2012) and of Faithless Execution (Encounter Books, 2014). He has written several pamphlets in the Broadside series published by Encounter Books, most recently Islam and Free Speech (Encounter Books, 2015). Andy’s bestseller, Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency, was published in August 2019 by Encounter Books.  

Douglas Murray is a bestselling author, an award-winning political commentator, and a senior fellow at National Review Institute. He previously founded the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank studying extremism and terrorism in the UK. Murray has spoken at the British and European Parliaments and the White House and appears often on the UK’s top political debate programs such as BBC’s Newsnight and Question Time. He has written books on neoconservatism, terrorism and national security, and freedom of speech. His latest book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity was published on September 17, 2019 by Bloomsbury Continuum. He is also the author of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam  (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2018), Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (Social Affairs Unit, 2012) and Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (Biteback Publishing, 2012).

Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review and a fellow at National Review Institute. He writes about a variety of subjects, including politics, foreign affairs, and the arts. He is the music critic of The New Criterion. Since 2002, he has hosted a series of public interviews at the Salzburg Festival. He writes a column called “Impromptus” for NationalReview.com and is the host of two podcasts: “Q&A” and “Music for a While.” In 2011, he filmed “The Human Parade, with Jay Nordlinger,” a TV series bringing hour-long interviews with various personalities. He is the author of two books: Peace, They Say, a history of the Nobel Peace Prize (Encounter Books, March 2012) and Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators (Encounter Books, September 2015). His journalism has been collected in two books: Here, There & Everywhere (National Review Books, January 2007) and Digging In (National Review Books, December 2016). A native Michigander, Nordlinger lives in New York.

John O’Sullivan is an author and journalist. He is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He spent the last four decades as a writer, columnist, and editor on news organizations and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently as the Executive Editor of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague and a Vice-President of the RFERL Corporation. He stepped down from this position in December 2011. Mr. O’Sullivan is also editor-at-large at National Review where he served as editor in chief for almost a decade. He is currently president of the Danube Institute, a Budapest-based non-profit dedicated to reinvigorating U.S.-Central European relations. 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior fellow at National Review Institute and a senior editor at National Review, where he has covered national politics and policy for 25 years. He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, which syndicates his articles in newspapers across the nation. He is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and he serves as a contributing editor to National Affairs, the quarterly journal of conservative ideas. His articles are frequently published in The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and The Washington Post. In 2015, he was included in the “Politico 50,” Politico’s list of “the thinkers, doers, and dreamers who really matter” in American politics. In 2014, Ponnuru contributed to and (with Yuval Levin) edited the book Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and A Thriving Middle ClassNew York Times columnist David Brooks called the book “the most coherent and compelling policy agenda the American right has produced this century.” Ponnuru was subsequently featured in a New York Times magazine cover story about reform-minded conservatives. In 2013 he was a resident fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. He is a regular speaker on policy, politics, and constitutionalism at the nation’s leading college campuses and law schools. He also appears regularly on television programs about public affairs. He is the author of a book on the sanctity of human life and American politics and of a monograph on Japanese industrial policy. Previously he has been a columnist for Time magazine and WashingtonPost.com. Ponnuru grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from Princeton University. He now lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and three children.

Vivek Ramaswamy is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Roivant Sciences and author of the forthcoming book Woke Inc. A 35-year-old first-generation American, Mr. Ramaswamy graduated summa cum laude in Biology from Harvard College in 2007 and embarked on his career as a successful biotech investor at QVT Financial. He continued to work as an investor while earning his law degree at Yale Law School, where he was a recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship. In 2020, he emerged as a prominent national commentator on issues relating to capitalism, democracy, and American identity. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal and other publications. He is a frequent guest on Fox Business, Fox & Friends, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and other programs. Mr. Ramaswamy has also co-founded other technology companies, and he serves on the boards of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity and The Philanthropy Roundtable.

Tom Rastin is a business leader, philanthropist, and energy policy advocate. He is a naturalized American, originally from Iran. The Iranian Revolution in 1979 threw his world into chaos. He decided to stay in America, earning a doctorate in engineering science at Louisiana State University. After college, Tom pursued a career in the energy business, first working for an oil field services company. In 1994, Tom joined Ariel Corporation as an applications engineer. In that role, and later as Executive Vice President in charge of engineering, sales & marketing, corporate quality assurance, and research & development, he helped lead perhaps the most innovative and successful natural gas compressor company in the world. Tom is a passionate activist, pressing for American energy policies that promote American natural gas as the key component to meet our nation’s need for affordable, clean, and abundant energy. He is an avid advocate of America’s energy independence and the critical importance of low cost energy to Americans and American businesses. He believes in a clean environment, and sees it as our duty to ensure our future generations have the same. 

Congresswoman Victoria Spartz represents Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. She is a CPA and has worked in the Big 4 public accounting firms for Fortune 500 companies and is the first member of Congress born in Soviet-controlled Ukraine.


Andrew Stuttaford is a contributing editor of National Review, for which he has been writing since the early 1990s. He took up full-time positions with National Review and National Review Institute in March 2020 and is now the editor of National Review Capital Matters, a new initiative focused on financial and economic coverage. Prior to joining National Review and National Review Institute, Andrew, who qualified as an attorney in the U.K., worked in the international financial markets for nearly four decades, latterly as the CEO of the U.S. subsidiary of a Nordic investment bank. Andrew has written for a wide range of publications over the years including The Wall Street Journal, The New Criterion, The Weekly Standard, and Standpoint on political, economic, and cultural matters and has been writing for National Review since his debut with the magazine in 1992.

George Terwilliger is a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Washington, D.C. where he heads the firm’s Crisis Response Practice and is a member of its White Collar Team. He served for 15 years in the Department of Justice, first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, then was appointed a U.S. Attorney by President Reagan, Deputy Attorney General by President George H.W. Bush and concluded his public service as Acting Attorney General. Mr. Terwilliger has earned distinction as one of the nation’s premier lawyers. That status is attested by a long history of clients seeking his counsel in their most challenging matters. Recently, he has successfully defended a member of congress and subsequently a sitting governor facing intense federal investigations. His corporate investigation matters most recently have included those arising from diesel vehicle emissions, pharmaceutical opioids, and tech industry competition. He also recently was lead counsel in a virtual federal bench trial of a commercial transactional dispute and in litigation of fundamental constitutional issues in a state supreme court. His experience includes representing major national and international banks, energy, and manufacturing companies in both litigation and investigations in the United States and abroad. His clients have included the nation’s and the world’s largest corporations, including major financial institutions, energy companies, public institutions as well as leading business and government officials, including members of the U.S. Senate and House as well as cabinet officials. He has also represented lawyers and corporate legal departments in investigations. George’s work regularly involves providing counsel in the executive suites and boardrooms of major corporations. As a result of both his private sector work and government positions, George is called upon to provide counsel as well as commentary to government officials, Congress, and private organizations on national security, homeland defense, terrorism, and other public policy and legal issues.

Peter J. Travers is the Managing Member of Chase Field LLC, a diversified investment and financial business in Princeton, New Jersey. Prior to founding the firm in 1992, Mr. Travers worked as an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Paine Webber Capital Markets, and practiced securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. Mr. Travers is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Review Institute. He was an International Fellow at the Columbia School of International Affairs, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and founded the foreign policy institute East-West Round Table in 1983. In 2019, he received the Mercer Oak Award from the Princeton Battlefield Society for leadership in historical preservation and education. Mr. Travers received J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Columbia University in 1981, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977 with a B.A. degree (awarded with Distinction) in Philosophy and Economics. He has completed three 500-mile Anchor House Rides for Runaways and nine marathons. Mr. Travers has attended All Saints’ Church since 1993.

Karen Buchwald Wright has served as chairman, president and CEO of Ariel Corporation since 2001. Founded in 1966, by Ms. Wright’s father, Ariel manufactures natural gas compressors for the global oil and gas industry, with 2021 marking Ariel’s 55th anniversary. Ariel is the world’s largest manufacturer of gas compressors and is one of Ohio’s largest capital goods manufacturers. Under Ms. Wright’s leadership, the company has grown fivefold and greatly increased its international footprint. Ms. Wright is chairman and founder of the Ariel Foundation, which is directed toward quality of life (education, arts, parks, historic building renovations, family/youth support groups, private-public partnerships) and the revitalization of Ariel’s hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio, which has resulted in a vibrant and growing, small, mid-western town. Additionally, she supports many organizations directed toward freedom and liberty, from The Heritage Foundation, Media Research Center and National Review Institute to CFACT, CEI, AER and IER, GM Institute for Humane Studies, and the Philanthropy Roundtable. Ms. Wright was awarded the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership In Supporting Liberty in October of 2018. Additionally, Ms. Wright is very fond of George Washington’s Mount Vernon and has supported the GW Library and renovation of the iconic Mount Vernon mansion.