Syracuse, NY.The Make America Great Again hat made him noticeable. There in the second row in an intimate crowd of 50 students and faculty at Syracuse University was an honest-to-goodness Trump supporter. I thought he might have been there to heckle, but it didn’t go that way.

Steve Kimatian, a prominent local conservative and local news personality, moderated a panel on which I was joined by former U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY22), Professor Pete Wilcoxen of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and our wonderful spokesperson Joseph Pinion. Joe hosted an event for us in NYC in January 2017, co-authored a piece with me in the Syracuse Post-Standard in September 2017, serves as Vice Chair of the New York Federation of Young Republicans, chairs the Conservative Color Coalition, wears his “I’m En” pin during his frequent TV appearances.

The discussion was lively, and former Congressman Hanna, especially, pulled no punches in addressing the leadership deficit on climate change.

Afterwards, the man in the Make America Great Again hat was approached by WAER, one of the two NPR affiliates covering the event along with Citrus TV. Here’s WAER’s print report of the encounter:

At least one student at the forum seemed persuaded. Robert George says hearing their message felt less confrontational.

“There’s so many differing opinions. There’s so many different graphs and statistics out there, but having Conservatives in there actually giving their opinions definitely does sway us. It’s not Liberals in there telling me ‘You’re a Conservative and that’s a problem.’”

George says the discussion made it clear climate change is a priority among conservatives. For more information on conservative environmentalism and republicEn, visit

Many thanks to our co-hosts: the New York State Young Republicans, Syracuse Citizens Climate Education, and the Conservative Color Coalition. Special thanks to our unofficial co-hosts, the Oswego College Republicans. (When a dozen of you carpool to Syracuse for a climate event, you definitely deserve the title of co-host!) I’m grateful, too, for the opportunity to meet with the editorial boards of the Syracuse Post Standard and the Auburn Citizen and for the opportunity to speak to the Syracuse Rotary Club.

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Bob Inglis
Executive Director - republicEn

Can conservatives lead on climate?

Relive the event in photos