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Sen. Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid, then inspires students at Convocation

Hot off announcing his intent to run for president in 2016, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) encouraged more than 11,000 Liberty University students at Convocation on Monday to stand for traditional American values and their faith.

“It is time for truth,” he said to an enthusiastic crowd. “It is a time for liberty, it is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States. I am honored to stand with each and every one of you courageous conservatives as we come together to reclaim the promise of America, to reclaim the mandate, the hope, and opportunity for our children and our children’s children. We stand together for liberty.”

Cruz first spoke at Liberty Convocation last year, and felt so welcome that he asked President Jerry Falwell if he could kick off his campaign at Liberty. Falwell explained that Liberty does not endorse candidates, but was pleased to welcome the senator to Convocation, “a platform at Liberty where … students are able to hear regularly about public policy issues and ideas from public servants at the highest level.” Falwell said this was a historic moment both for the university and the Lynchburg community.

Falwell praised Cruz for his principles and record of standing for the Constitution, both in the Senate and as the longest-serving Solicitor General in Texas history.

“While many in the Senate bend to the tremendous pressure of compromise, Ted has been one of the few voices fighting to protect the freedoms that our forefathers fought and died to secure,” Falwell said. “It is easy to lead the charge when you have an army at your back … Sen. Cruz dared to stand on principle while only a handful of senators were standing behind him. Ted has gone against the tide, has taken the road less traveled, and has proven himself to be a man of great character.”

In the Senate, Cruz serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on the Judiciary; the Joint Economic Committee; and the Committee on Rules and Administration. Cruz achieved numerous victories before the nation’s highest court as the Solicitor General of Texas. He was the nation’s youngest and the first Hispanic Solicitor General of Texas. His father, Rafael Cruz, a pastor and political activist who spoke at Convocation in 2013, was in attendance, along with his wife and several members of the Cruz family.

Once celebrated by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012” for his grassroots campaign for Senate, Cruz sought to reignite that success as he emboldened the evangelical students to stand for their values, both in their lives and in voting booths.

He began his speech by illustrating the American dream with stories from his own family — his father, a Cuban immigrant who worked his way to success; his mother, the first to attend college in her family and a software innovator in a time when women were discouraged from career aspirations; his wife, a successful businesswoman; and his own struggles to work and pay his way through college.

“These are all of our stories,” Cruz said. “These are who we are as Americans and yet, for so many Americans the promise of America seems more and more distant. The promise of America is … the revolutionary idea that this country was founded on that our lives do not come from man, they come from God almighty and the purpose of the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the mischief of government.”

Cruz explained the pillars of his platform, promising to repeal Obamacare and Common Core, to seek immigration and tax reform, to stand with Israel, and to defend the unborn, gun rights, privacy, the Constitution, and religious freedom for all Americans.

He explained that though America seems to be slipping from its foundation of faith and virtue, he believes in the American people and their ability when joined together to overcome any obstacle.

“The power of the American people when we rise up and stand for liberty knows no bounds,” he said. “From the dawn of this country, at every stage, America has enjoyed God’s providential blessings. … Over and over again, when we faced impossible odds, the American people rose to the challenge.”

Cruz told the students that in order to continue to see God’s blessing on this nation they need to rally together and stand for the values that made America great because, “the answer will not come from Washington.”

“I believe God isn’t done with America,” he said. “I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America." That is why, he said, he had announced at midnight Monday morning that he was running for President of the United States.

Cruz then brought his wife, Heidi, and daughters, Caroline and Catherine, on stage where they were met with a standing ovation from students waving thousands of tiny American flags.

Sophomore Taylor LaForest said that she appreciated how Cruz related to the audience.

“It was very inspiring,” she said of the speech. “He didn’t just get up there and push his ideas on us, but he really stuck with the values that America holds.”

LaForest added that it was great to experience “a part of history” right on campus.


An article at TownHall.com shared some commentary on the event.