30 under 30
Lori Sanders is the outreach director and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute. In this role, she is responsible for R Street’s coalition efforts, as well as providing public outreach and education about public policy issues to regulators, lawmakers, and their staffs. She has appeared on numerous television and radio outlets, and her writing has been featured in National Affairs, the Weekly Standard, and National Review, among others.
Sanders came to R Street from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she most recently served as program manager for AEI’s Road to Freedom project. Prior to her work at AEI, Sanders worked at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, as a participant in the Charles Koch Institute’s Koch Associate Program.
Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or in other capacities?
The Republican Party and the Libertarian Party both need to move forward on a variety of issues. We tend to legislate like it’s still 1980, when in fact we face very different problems. Our generation more than any other is bearing the brunt of community breakdown, wage stagnation, and low economic growth, and we also understand more than any other generation the way that technology, ingenuity, and a renewed sense of dedication to our communities can overcome these problems. Unless we step up, our generation will be left further behind as the policies of the left continue to drag us down. The left’s ideas resonate with those looking for an answer, but in the end they just cause more problems. We need to come up with new, more inclusive solutions and find creative ways to market them for future generations.
What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of-center message resonate with the Millennial generation?
We really need to focus more on how our ideas help make the world a better place. We need to showcase how our solutions lead to the new and exciting changes that improve lives everywhere. I think a lot of that relies on finding the sweet spot between promoting Millennial’s desire for freedom of choice and individuality, while also showing that our policies won’t leave anyone behind and will restore community. We focus too much on the success story of the millionaire entrepreneur and should instead focus on giving everyone the opportunity they need to build the life they want for themselves. The left’s message seems inclusive, but it’s only inclusive if you want the things they want for your life. We offer people the freedom to choose for themselves, and a restored American dream that makes it possible for them to get there.
Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?
I’d love to see the conservative movement be the party for everyone — all races, sexes, and orientations — but with the message that personal responsibility combined with freedom is the best way to keep America strong. We need to focus on the plight of men and disaffected workers, on flexibility for women (particularly single mothers), and on restoring access to opportunity through more than just lower regulatory burden and lower taxes. Our message is a message for everyone, if we’re willing to find new, creative conservative solutions for all walks of life, not just those we identify with as part of our base.