History of the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference
The idea for the first Pennsylvania Leadership Conference originated with two college students, John Fluharty and John Hanks, who envisioned the conference as an outreach to young people. From that idea, the conference grew into a statewide gathering of public policy conservatives. Under the guidance of Susan Staub, Jim Panyard, Charlie Gerow and Don Eberly, the first conference was held in 1989.
Following the huge success of the first conference, they recognized the need for a year-round organization to serve as a center for the conservative community – the Pennsylvania Leadership Council (PLC). The first President of the Pennsylvania Leadership Council was Lowman S. Henry (currently with the Lincoln Institute). Succeeding presidents were Sean Duffy (current Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications to Colorado Governor Bill Owens), and Gorden Blain. In recent years, the PLC has served as an umbrella organization bringing together conservative groups on an issue-by-issue basis.
Throughout its existence, this non-partisan, not-for-profit organization has been the heart of the conservative coalition, working with allies to fight for better schools, lower taxes, responsible spending, open government and stronger families.
The Pennsylvania Leadership Conference remains the signature event of the Pennsylvania Leadership Council. The conference is a two-day issues forum that brings together activists from across the Commonwealth to share ideas, network, and discuss issues with conservative leaders and elected officials.
Over the years, the conference has hosted many prominent national speakers including: Newt Gingrich, M. Stanton Evans, Bill Bennett, Robert Novak, Alan Keyes, Lynn Cheney, Armstrong Williams, Walter Williams, and David Horowitz.
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