CBLPI's Michelle Easton presents Marsha Blackburn the 2016 Woman of the Year award

by Lil Tuttle

In an intimate women-only luncheon, president Michelle Easton presented CBLPI's 2016 Woman of the Year award to Congressman Marsha Blackburn on Friday, March 4.

The predominately college student attendees were at the three-day 2016 CPAC conference in National Harbor MD to network with like-minded conservatives and hone their leadership skills. The Woman of the Year luncheon offered both in abundance.

Networking at CBLPI's 2016 Woman of the Year luncheon

"Ladies, remember this," Blackburn told the young women. "Leadership is not as it looks, but as it performs. Leaders pull one another up and along."

Blackburn's career demonstrates the challenges leaders face and the skills required to persevere and succeed. She began her career in 1998 as a senator in the Tennessee State Senate, where she led a grass-roots campaign to defeat a proposed state tax and earned the reputation as a champion of government reform.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, Blackburn has served on the House majority and minority teams. She currently serves as Vice Chairman of the key U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, energy regulation and telecommunications—all hot button issues today.

CBLPI's Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn speaks to young leaders

"As a woman, you get the opportunity to break glass ceilings," Blackburn counseled. "You get to open doors for others."

Blackburn urged the young women to get involved in their local communities. "People are drawn to leaders because they are relatable," she said. "Liberals who don't have ideas are always going to attack us personally, but we have ideas. We will win." She challenged them to be bold and to stand firm in their beliefs.

CBLPI's Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn takes questions from young leaders

Her message resonated with the young leaders. Many called it inspiring and motivational. "I absolutely gained valuable insight from this experience,” senior Alexis Boothe said. "Marsha Blackburn is an incredible role model for young conservative women. It's always nice to receive advice from such an accomplished woman."

Others left with fresh insight into the public policy debate. "I understand the difference between good and bad politics," sophomore Destiny Yates said, "and what the important issues are."

"This lunch was my favorite CPAC experience," sophomore Cooper Jane Parker told CBLPI staff.

Congressman Blackburn was as encouraged by the young women as they were by her. In a Facebook post, Blackburn wrote:

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute has done a tremendous job of not only encouraging young women to lead in their communities, but preparing them with the tools they need to fight for conservative, constitutional principles. It was an honor to accept this award in a room full of young women who are the future of the conservative movement.

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CBLPI's Woman of the Year luncheon

CBLPI’s 2016 Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn surrounded by some of the young leaders in attendance

CBLPI's 2016 Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn

CBLPI’s 2016 Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn


CBLPI's 2016 Woman of the Year poses with student for snapshot

Congressman Marsha Blackburn poses with student for snapshot

CBLPI's Woman of the Year awardee Marsha Blackburn

CBLPI president Michelle Easton (l) joined by 2015 Woman of the Year KT McFarland, 2016 Woman of the Year Marsha Blackburn, and CBLPI Board Member Kellyanne Conway