February 20th, 2015
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Republican Governors Association is all About our Future Leaders

file under RGA - Fred Malek @ 8:45 am
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In only five years Republicans have gone from occupying 23 governor’s mansions to 31, including pickups in deep blue Massachusetts, Illinois, and Maryland.  This is due in large part to the hard work and leadership of the Republican Governors Association.

The RGA is critically important to electing Republican Governors, and it plays an instrumental role in advancing conservative policies at the state level, but it’s much more than that.  From my experience the most important thing about the RGA is what it does to foster the future leaders of our party.  All you have to do is take a look at the qualified bench of current and former state executives that are likely to contend for the White House in 2016.

As a forum for ideas and constructive conversation, the RGA provides its members with a platform to elevate state and regional issues to the national level.  These conversations are especially important for our newest members to develop blueprints for managing the top priorities in their home states.  Connecting our most experienced members with our newest members also inserts fresh ideas into the mix while also building on proven results.

Our Republican Governors are at the forefront of the most pressing policy issues of today.  Whether it’s preparing for and managing the threat of a global pandemic or pushing back against the EPA’s unprecedented power grab, RGA members are leading on our biggest issues.

The RGA will host its quarterly meeting in Washington, DC today, a great time to catch up with our members and meet those who have joined our ranks following victories in the last election cycle.  I’m looking forward to a productive meeting today and to hearing what this group has to say.

January 14th, 2015
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Fox and Friends: Fred Malek Discusses Prospects of Mitt Romney White House Run in 2016

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On Fox and Friends this morning I discussed the prospects of another Mitt Romney run at the White House in 2016.  While the former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential nominee hasn’t made up his mind yet, one thing’s for sure: this cycle is shaping up to include one of the most impressive slates of conservative candidates bidding for the White House I’ve seen in memory.

Republicans are going to have a constructive conversation over the next year as the eventual nominee emerges.  A number of current and former governors are expected to enter the race in the coming months, all of whom have a proven track record of accomplishments in their home states.

While much talk in recent weeks has focused on how much money it will take to win the nomination, the winning candidate is going to be the one who combines the most compelling vision for the country with the proven leadership to make this vision a reality.

I’m looking forward to hearing what this group has to say as they lay out their plans for the country.

Check out my interview with Brian Kilmeade here.

 

December 15th, 2014
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Anti Defamation League Achievement Award

file under Awards - Fred Malek @ 5:00 pm
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The Anti Defamation League for over 100 years has led the charge to deter and counter hate crimes, anti-Semitism, and all forms of bigotry. During the course of its existence, ADL has vigorously defended democratic ideals and fought for the protection of civil rights. This profound commitment to human dignity makes it an honor for me to accept the Anti Defamation League’s Achievement Award this evening.

I’m looking forward to sharing this evening with close friends and family as the ADL honors me with this prestigious award. I would like to thank the ADL and everyone involved in tonight’s event for this tremendous honor. I am forever grateful and I look forward to continuing to work alongside ADL to combat prejudice, extremism and intolerance across the nation and throughout the world.

For those of you who are attending tonight’s dinner, you will hear me speak in greater detail about the importance of ADL’s mission. For those of you who follow my blog, I’ve included a copy of my prepared remarks below. Additional information about ADL and its fine work can also be found at www.adl.org.

Remarks of Fred Malek
Anti-Defamation League Award Dinner
Washington, DC
December 15, 2014

Thank you to my friends of 4 decades, Abe Foxman, and to my wonderful family and friends for being with us tonight. I am truly honored to have so many turn out for me, and of course for the ADL. Many nice things have been said about me tonight, and my heartfelt appreciation to Abe, Andrea, Ben, Bobbie, Norm, and Norm and special thanks to David Friedman and his regional team for all they did to make this evening successful. But in my mind, all of you here tonight deserved to be honored. More than a career or body of work, what truly matters in the long run is that we treat all with dignity and respect, that we are true to our word, and loyal to family and friends.   We will be remembered much more for that than any career accomplishment.   I believe that all in this room exemplify these values, and I believe any one of you would be a worthy honoree.

Tonight, I’d like to use my time to personally thank and honor the ADL for its mission, its work, and its vision.

One hundred and one years ago, when the ADL was started with two desks in a small Chicago law office, it was impossible to imagine the number of lives that would soon be sacrificed to the worst forms of hatred and prejudice.

World War I had not yet started, and hardly anyone used the word, “Holocaust.” We did not speak of civil rights, and in that year, 1913, when women asked for the right to vote, they were spat upon and beaten. How far we have come, and yet how far we still have to go.

Last May, the ADL released a ground breaking study, which found that over one-quarter of the world’s adults have anti-Semitic attitudes. That translates into more than one billion people. And that is a tragedy for all of us in the 21st century.

Seventy years after Auschwitz, it is heartbreaking, particularly for those of my generation, who can recall the atrocities of World War II, to hear anyone in Europe, or in any part of the world, chanting anti-semitic slogans. Such statements are inexcusable and indefensible. It is vitally important that the ADL continue to document and call to account those who would speak or act upon these horrible thoughts and words. “Never again” must always mean, never again.

But in its mission, the ADL reminds us that hate and bigotry are not confined simply to anti-Semitism. From its beginnings, the ADL believed that fighting against one form of prejudice required fighting against all forms of prejudice.

It is my sincere hope, and I believe the hope of everyone in this room, that in another hundred years, the need for the ADL will be greatly diminished. But until we become a color-blind, class-blind, and faith-blind society and nation, until we can truly become “a world without hate,” the ADL’s mission and message will remain essential to protecting our most basic freedoms.

All my adult life, I’ve used as my personal and ethical code the motto of my alma matter, West Point. It is three simple words that have a most profound meaning: “Duty, honor, country.” There is no greater honor that can be shown to our country than defending the ideals of democracy, protecting civil rights, and ending bigotry, and no greater duty for all of us. I am honored to be in your company. Thank you again.

June 25th, 2014
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As Boehner Looks to the Future His Position as Speaker Remains Stronger than Ever

file under Uncategorized - Fred Malek @ 1:48 pm
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Speaker John Boehner’s skillful leadership has led us through rocky times, proving that he is truly invaluable for the country’s future. During his often tumultuous rein as Speaker, he has served as the chief negotiator with President Obama and proven his unrelenting commitment to conservative principles. It is also clear that no one in the Republican Party has worked harder to settle intraparty differences, a skill that will become increasingly important as Republicans look to move their top legislative priorities after the Senate swings their way after the midterms.

Eric Cantor’s primary loss and his subsequent decision to step down as Majority Leader was a blow to the Republican Party. It also led to some speculation that the Speaker might consider giving up his gavel at the start of a new Congress. However, Boehner silenced any speculation this week when he said he was “all-in” to remain as Speaker.

Boehner’s impressive fundraising efforts (he’s helped raise $88 million for Republicans in 2014), and his new pledge to donate more than $1 million just this week to the House Republican Campaign Fund are signs the Speaker is committed to ensuring his colleagues are reelected. These are also strong indications that he is working to consolidate his power among rank and file members.

There’s no doubt that Republicans are in a good place to hold or increase seats in the House, and John Boehner’s leadership has clearly helped solidify that position. There are few in Congress that posses his experience as an able lawmaker and conservative leader, and we are fortunate to have him.

I am pleased to see the Speaker reaffirm his commitment to leading the House of Representatives for the remainder of this session and on to the next.

June 12th, 2014
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Eric Cantor: A Principled Conservative Leader

file under Eric Cantor - Fred Malek @ 12:32 pm
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When we hear people talk about principled conservative leadership, it’s easy for me to have Eric Cantor in mind.

Eric led the House Majority from the front. He took a policy oriented, yet savvy political approach and served as Speaker Boehner’s most trusted lieutenant during one of the most difficult times to run the Congress. With partisan rancor at an all time high, President Obama’s big government assault, and a struggling economy — Eric managed to execute a very difficult job with integrity.

I often counsel conservatives and Republicans to put their minor differences aside and work together to tackle our country’s most pressing issues. Following the path of common ground will be critical for Republicans this fall. We can no longer afford to bicker over minor differences when we all share the same goal of ensuring every citizen has the opportunity to better themselves and pursue the American dream. While Eric may not appear on the ballot come November, I am certain that he will continue to be a champion for this common-sense approach and for conservatives across the country.

Eric’s commitment to preserving liberty and providing opportunity to every American should serve as the standard for all those who seek public office. His accomplishments in Washington cannot be overlooked. He has fought to protect Americans from losing their insurance under Obamacare and helped roll back spending in Washington for the first time in decades. The stack of bills Eric ushered through the House demonstrates the pro-growth policies we need to help a struggling country and middle-class.

Whatever Eric and his family decide to do, I know they will remain committed to public service. We wish them well, and are thankful for their service to our country.

May 22nd, 2014
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Doing What’s Right in Washington

file under Uncategorized - Fred Malek @ 10:04 am
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I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at Bisnow’s Lodging Investment Summit last week and decided to dish out one of my favorite credos: from the West Point motto is to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.

Following the event I took some time think about how conservatives can apply this to tackling some of our biggest policy issues in Washington and across the country.

Having the courage to do what’s right is becoming increasingly important in today’s policy debates. John Boehner recently said in response to his frustration over immigration reform: “I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue, just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy.” Taking on big issues isn’t easy and it takes courage to stand up to business as usual in Washington, whether it’s reforming our broken immigration system, controlling our runaway debt, or fixing our crumbling entitlement programs.

To do what’s right we must stick to our core principles of smaller government and economic freedom; personal responsibility over government dependence; and a free market economy that benefits all Americans. We cannot afford to distract ourselves with the less important issues of the day, and we must recognize the difference between personal beliefs and what’s best for the country.

Working across the aisle takes courage, but bipartisanship by itself is empty if we fail to understand our differences and get to the core of what’s best for the country. Understanding the big problems and proposing answers that have broad support is critical to advancing our cause.

I’m looking forward to working with conservatives at the state and federal level in the coming election cycle and will continue to encourage lawmakers to stand up with the courage to make tough decisions.

May 13th, 2013
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Invest in Immigration

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The early part of the 113th Congress, and the 112th Congress before it, has spent far too much time playing economic defense: whether it was debating over whether or not to raise the debt-ceiling or avoiding the fiscal cliff, a great deal of energy was spent figuring out ways to just soften the blow from years of reckless spending. Of course our enormous debt and annual deficits must be reduced, but the best tonic is enhanced economic growth. The legislative activity in recent days is finally different as markup continues on the Gang of 8’s Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013—a bill with significant implications for strengthening our economy.

This type of common sense immigration reform needs to be embraced by conservatives. Modernizing our broken immigration system will naturally stimulate a labor force with people revered for the type of small-business entrepreneurialism that will strengthen our economy and raise our GDP.

Former CBO Director and current President of the American Action Forum, Doug Holtz-Eakin (my partner in my role as Chairman of the AFF) penned a compelling study last month that examined just what our economy can expect from immigration reform. While Doug goes into far greater detail than I will here, the economics of the issue from a big-picture standpoint are elementary and proven to be true:  when you increase the population with a group that has higher participation levels than the current population you grow and strengthen your labor force, growing GDP and most importantly growing GDP per capita—the ultimate sign for a growing economy.

In plain English, more people who work hard doing either highly skilled jobs or jobs Americans won’t do creates greater output and more money in our economy. We’re now celebrating job growth of under 200,000 jobs  a month and unemployment north of 7.5%, all the while the participation of working age Americans in the workforce continues to shrink. The economy’s slow improvement is a good sign but it’s not good enough.

Conservatives need to be the small business party. We already stand for principles inherent to small business success but we need to articulate why that is: small businesses are the life-blood of our economy, and the people with the courage to run a small business embody the resiliency that makes us who we are. Over the past several decades immigrants have shown a higher propensity for owning small businesses—conservatives need to embrace policy that ushers in a greater opportunity for our economy to succeed.

Of course there are other issues to address as well and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be. Our border must be secure and immigrants who entered the process the right way must stay at the beginning of the line.

No doubt there are costs associated as well, some of which—emergency medical and child education—have been in place and paid for years; but passing this bill and beginning the true modernization of a broken system is an investment. It’s an investment that Congress should make in the same spirit earlier generations afforded our ancestors.  The investment that allowed immigrants like my grandfather and my good friend Henry Kissinger to come and contribute to our nation, a nation of immigrants.

April 23rd, 2013
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A Conservative’s View on Gay Marriage

file under Uncategorized - fmalek @ 9:41 am
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I was raised conservative and I have spent much of my adult life advocating for conservative values, chief among them: smaller government and economic freedom. As a conservative, I’ve always thought of marriage as between a man and a woman, but I also recognize that in a free society we often disagree. Disagreement is an inherent and vital component to democratic society, along with our most essential ideal — freedom. America is a free country where people should be able to live their lives the way they choose. Allowing same-sex couples to marry is not a threat to our overall value system or our country. If two people love each other, our government has no place standing in the middle and denying them their basic rights. There are many arenas where our government exerts control but it should play no role in the lives of private, law-abiding Americans.

 

April 19th, 2013
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My Remarks at the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference – Miami, FL 4/19/13

file under Hispanic Leadership Network - fmalek @ 9:44 am
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Thank you, Jenny. I appreciate your kind words. It is an honor for me to join you again in another HLN annual conference here in Miami. I am proud of how far we have come as an organization but, as Jenny just alluded to, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

From immigration and Medicare reform to jobs and the economy, Hispanics will play a key role in deciding the path forward for our country. And right now, that path looks to be leading in only one direction – away from conservative values. We must change that. And to do so, we need you to join our fight.

Consider immigration reform…poll after poll suggests that a vast majority of conservatives will support a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in our country. That is…as long as we talk about that process in a way in which we highlight the conditions attached to it, including the need for applicants to pass a background check and pay back taxes.

It is important that we communicate that the process, which will take at least 13 years for completion, will be fair to all involved, especially to those who have been waiting in line after legally applying for citizenship. Like Jenny said, what we say is as important as how we say it.

We cannot afford to lose the immigration debate on semantics. We need to be strategic, proactive, and relentless in educating Hispanics nationwide about the principles we believe in and will defend during the public policy debate about immigration reform.

The conversations we will have here today on immigration, the economy, education, and healthcare will hopefully arm you with the tools you need to help us amplify our message. From immigration reform to jump-starting our economy, Latinos must not and should not settle for less than what they deserve.

Since President Obama took office, for example, the Hispanic unemployment rate has remained above 9 percent. For young Hispanics, those 18 to 29 years old, the March unemployment rate figure is a staggering 12.6 percent. That is simply unacceptable. The White House speaks of an economic recovery. What recovery?

To make matters worse, under the president’s budget for FY2014, the national debt would grow to over $25 trillion by 2023. This would further slow the economy and threaten the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis.

I can go on and on, but you get my point. There is a better way forward. Our task, after today, is to ensure that we actively and efficiently communicate that alternative to Hispanics nationwide. We sincerely hope that all of you answer our call to do so.

A man who will be instrumental in ensuring that conservative values prevail and that elected officials are held accountable for their actions during the upcoming public debate on immigration reform is someone who has served the Hispanic community and this country well for more than a decade. He is a tireless advocate for Latinos nationwide and the former Secretary of Commerce of the United States. Mi amigo, and yours, Carlos Gutierrez.

 

April 16th, 2013
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Setting the Table in Washington

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As President Obama hosts yet another bipartisan dinner — one in early March and the latest, a steak and greens feast at the White House, last Wednesday— I can’t help but recall that over the years, I too have hosted many similar dinners at my home. Most often these dinners are with our elected officials from both sides of the aisle. The idea is a good one: it encourages substantive dialogue, can often form friendships and can show us that a lot of the time, we might not disagree as much as we lead on.

But, to be frank, a few nice dinners between Republicans and Democrats isn’t enough to bridge the divides that exist in American politics today.

At my most recent dinner, I found myself having the same conversation over and over again with Republicans and Democrats alike. First, they’re all torn between the constituents who voted them into office, and Washington, where business continues as usual. Second, a lot of times they are torn between trying to govern and risking a backlash from extremists in their own party.

While engaging in dialogue over dinner once or twice every few months is a positive, our leaders in the Executive Branch and Congress need to reinstate a process that affords policy makers the opportunity to deliberate and engage in a legislative structure aligned with what our founders intended.

We need to reexamine what our committee structure has become. I believe the best bills for the most amount of people follow a grassroots approach, arising first from the subcommittee level and working from the bottom up, not the top down. Working from the rank and file legislators on up develops in-depth policy knowledge from committee members and allows for committee chairs and ranking members to exert influence over topics that they know more intimately than party leadership.

Even as the leader of the House, Speaker Boehner often speaks about restoring order to this process. We need more of that willingness from more members. Both parties will often recall the days where committee chairs and members of the Executive branch enjoyed great relationships, even in a divided government. That sort of thing is non-existent today.

The continuous campaign remains one of the deepest thorns in the side of bipartisanship. The looming threat from each side makes it almost impossible to take political risks and the very foundation for bipartisanship, trusting relationships across the aisle, is becoming a thing of the past.

The Executive branch must build better relations on Capitol Hill. Over the past twenty years, both parties have done a poor job of this while in the White House. Better relations between the two bodies are essential to promoting understanding and trust, which will lead toward more meaningful dialogue.

Hopefully President Obama will invite not only Republicans but his cabinet members to the table as well. He must encourage his cabinet to have better relationships with Congress and more of them. Those same cabinet members must also be willing to visit the hill and advocate on his behalf. If he wants to pass any considerable policy in the next three years, he has no other choice.

Setting the table is one thing, keeping people at it for the hard work is entirely another.  Dinner is a start but a restored legislative process with an engaged president and cabinet will be required before we finally address our nation’s problems in a meaningful way.