Ginni Thomas is an entrepreneur and activist in the Washington, D.C., area. She has worked at The Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and in numerous legislative and executive offices. After working as an associate vice president of Hillsdale College to establish the Allan P. Kirby Jr., Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, she founded the powerhouse non-profit Liberty Central as an information hub for citizen activists. She visited Hillsdale College this week to orient upcoming interns on the intersection of principle and practice in Washington.
SO: How did your relationship with Hillsdale College begin?
GT: [President] Larry Arnn and Penny Arnn are friends to my husband and me from when they were at Claremont. We’ve known them a long time and were excited when [Dr. Arnn] had the opportunity to start here about 12 years ago. We admire what his work has always been, and we are really excited about what he’s brought to Hillsdale. I came back and complimented him on the changes that are happening, the goodness that is happening here. You can see it architecturally and that means that development is going well. And kids are just thriving and growing and learning.
SO: What was your first involvement with the college?
GT: Dr. Arnn asked me to join the Board [of Trustees], which I did for four years. I loved interacting with them, but I told him that if he was interested in starting something in Washington, I could help him more as a full-time staffer than on his board. I was getting more out of it than I was giving to the school. I loved helping them full time to establish a presence in Washington. When the Tea Party came in September 2009, I looked out and saw these people. These are my people and I really connected with them. I love the mission of the school, but I really felt like the calling right now was to come to the service of the country in a more immediate, political way than in what Hillsdale was doing in a long-term academic way. I had to leave to start up my own political entrepreneurial website. And I loved doing that. I used the connections and the ideas that I found here at Hillsdale.
SO: Could you tell me about your series with The Daily Caller?
GT: Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel run The Daily Caller, so it’s a fun, fun group of people. They talked with me about coming over. I video interview people who give hope and inspiration to the center right. It’s a lot of fun. What I try to do is give air time to someone on the center right who I think is a leader and showing courage and principle in the Washington area. We are getting more and more traffic. It’s just a fun way to provide hope and inspiration to the right.
SO: Who are some of the people that you especially enjoyed meeting and interviewing?
GT: Well, I have to say Andrew Breitbart. I aired it two weeks before he passed away. I just did Mark Steyn this morning. One that I really loved was Reverend C.L. Bryant, who was a former NAACP leader who became so Tea Party-esque that the black elites in the church that he was with took his church away from him. He had a powerful tale. He also has a movie coming out called “Runaway Slave” in June. It is a story about how many in the black community and the left can be deceived and ensconced in government dependency and not find the richness of independence and entrepreneurship and self-reliance. I love his movie and I loved his interview. Marco Rubio; Jim DeMint; Ann Coulter is always fun. I’m just blessed by all the people I’ve gotten to talk to.
SO: Do you have any favorite questions to ask them, or one that you ask everyone?
GT: I have started asking everyone what it is that gives them hope. You can so easily get bogged down in the problems, yet one of the main purposes of my interviews is to give hope to the people out there who are engaged in the battle. It can get discouraging, so I want to put out hopeful messages. It’s been fascinating to ask that question … I just love being blown away by courageous and principled people in Washington. They are few and far between.
SO: What is your vision for the future and for what you can do as a citizen of this country? What do you hope to accomplish?
GT: I am a political entrepreneur and a catalyst. I nudge people that I know in power towards principle, conviction and boldness because I think we’re in desperate straits. Practically, I think you can be more engaged. Any of us from any place on this map can be engaged locally with your school board, with gathering people to learn about the Constitution in their homes. I really do believe that it’s the local grassroots movement that’s going to save this country, and I don’t think anyone in Washington will do that. I know that we need a change in Washington, and I hope that whoever it is, we can affect from the outside. We have to build a citizenry that is informed and active more than relying on leaders.