Zachary Rogers

2022 Speechwriters Fellow

What is your current position?

My current position is assistant to the president pro tempore of the Arkansas Senate. In this role I handle scheduling, reviewing bills, meeting with lobbyists and constituents, staffing meetings with Governor Sanders and legislative leadership, whipping the votes for key bills, and assisting with legislative strategy, etc.

What inspired you to choose this career path?

Michael Uhlmann inspired me with the wealth of wisdom and experience he had gained through his education, time in think tanks, and government service. This breadth and level of knowledge enabled him to accomplish many great things and I decided I would like to do the same.

What are you currently working on?

The Senate recently passed a comprehensive K-12 education reform bill that creates educational savings accounts, provides a teacher raise, and focuses resources on literacy intervention. I expect that the next priority will be criminal justice reform focused on providing more bed space to lock up serious criminals while also working to reduce the recidivism rate. The third priority is tax cuts in order to stay competitive with surrounding states.

How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?

When you attend the Van Andel Graduate School for Statesmanship at Hillsdale College it’s not a surprise to many when I say that is where I first heard of the Claremont Institute.

What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?

My fondest memory at Claremont has to be my interactions with the Publius Fellows. I     remember them most for their enthusiasm, intelligence, and eloquence. I’m talking about you,  Karl.

There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?

The Claremont Institute provides a thorough yet concise grounding in the principles and history of the Republic, the rise of the administrative state, and a thoughtful discussion of the issues currently troubling the nation.

If you could have a fireside chat and drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order and discuss?

 I’m going to cheat and say George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. George Washington was the Father of the country and he worked closely with Alexander Hamilton on key economic issues that if not successfully surmounted could have easily doomed the fledgling Republic. I would love to ask what they were thinking as they took action and how they determined when and how to do so.

In which one of the original 13 colonies, looking back on history, would you have wanted to live and why?

I would have to pick the Old Dominion because of the number of significant Founding Fathers and other influential figures that came from there.

What qualities do you believe are needed to achieve great statesmanship in this century and why?

Today’s statesmen need an understanding of natural law and natural right along with the ability to judge when and how to act in light of circumstance. I’ll add that in today’s environment the ability to use rapidly changing communications tools well is a great (perhaps essential) talent. Finally, loyalty to the good people. I have seen over and over good men and women abandoned by their peers and bosses because it is easier than handling a minor PR bump.

What would the argument be if you were to write a speech geared to reach a large percentage of left-leaning individuals to convince them the nation’s founding principles are still relevant and worthy of being preserved?

I would contend that many of the issues left-leaning men and women are concerned with are in fact addressed by the thinking and actions of the Founders. That’s not to say that leftists will agree with them, but I do think that thorough research would show the founders were far more thoughtful, thorough, and consistent than they are often given credit for and addressed the most fundamental questions of human nature.

What books are you currently reading?

Since my Senate schedule is so busy I have primarily been reading fiction.  I have enjoyed reading some of the Horatio Hornblower series, The Franco-Prussian War by Wawro (non-fiction and which I highly recommend), and any Wodehouse, Louis L’amour, or Dorothy Sayers novel I can lay my hands on. Once the session ends I intend to read Freeman’s biography of George Washington.

What book, film, or speech has left a lasting impression with you and why?

One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13 because of the ingenuity, courage, and team spirit  displayed by so many to bring home the astronauts of this failed mission. The soundtrack is stellar and very quotable (who can forget “Houston, we have a problem”).

Do you have a favorite quote?  Is there a reason this quote resonates so strongly with you?

Favorite quote: “Mistakes were made.” Greg Schaller, President of the John Jay Institute once used it and I have made use of it on numerous occasions.

What is the most distinctive attribute/character of the people in the state where you grew up that you genuinely admire?

I was born and raised in Colorado and Colorado natives have a strong independent streak and a willingness to take bold action I strongly admire.

What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby)?

In my free time I enjoy hiking, attending the ballet, theater, and symphony, and participating in my local church.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have no definite ten year plan but I do know I would like to continue serving in a policy role. The problems facing the country are immense and I would like to work towards solving them through thoughtful and principled policies and legislation. Many people have contributed to my education, including Claremont, the John Jay InstituteCommon Sense Society, and Hillsdale College and I want to show them that taking a chance on a kid from rural Colorado was not a wasted investment.