- - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dr. William J. Bennett, the prolific author with a lengthy resume of public service and conservative thought-leadership, is set to be honored at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.

Dr. Bennett will be presented with the Vision & Leadership Award at the Faith, Family and Freedom Gala Sept. 10.

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican; Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey; and Fox News co-host and commentator Kimberly Guilfoyle will offer special remarks at the gala.

“Bill Bennett is beloved for a lot of things,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action, one of the main sponsors of the 2016 Values Voter Summit, which takes place Sept. 9-11 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Bennett is a national leader who is known for the “wisdom of his best-selling books, the warm intellect he brought to mornings across America, the commonsense policies that he championed under Presidents Reagan and Bush, and the voice of reason he spoke into divided political classes,” Mr. Perkins said.

Donald J. Trump is scheduled to speak Sept. 9, becoming the first Republican presidential nominee to personally address the thousands of conservative activists who gather each year at the summit.

Mr. Perkins praised Mr. Trump for coming to “make his case directly to conservative activists from across the country.”

There’s a growing understanding among voters that “the future of our freedoms and our identity as Americans hang in the balance” of this election, said Mr. Perkins. “The fact that he is the first Republican nominee to attend since the summit’s inception in 2006 demonstrates his understanding of the importance of values voters in the general election and his desire to work with them in addressing the critical issues facing our nation.”

The Values Voter Summit was launched a decade ago to ensure a political platform for family values, such as religious freedom, preserving traditional marriage and protecting life, as well as economic and national security issues.

It famously holds “straw polls” on Republican presidential candidates in years when there is a competition.

The summit is sponsored by a host of traditional values and conservative groups, including American Family Association Action, American Values, First Liberty Institute, The D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship, United in Purpose, 2nd Vote, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Family Research Council.

The Washington Times is again the summit’s media partner.

Confirmed speakers for the Sept. 9-11 conference include Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, along with Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky, and Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest; child psychologist James Dobson; actor Kirk Cameron; conservative leader Star Parker; Lt. Col. Oliver North; Duck Dynasty’s Alan Robertson; The Blaze blogger Matt Walsh; pro-life leader David Daleiden; and former lawmakers Allen West, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum are also confirmed speakers.

The summit includes an exhibit hall, book signings and radio row.

Dr. Bennett served as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of education and the nation’s first drug czar under President George H.W. Bush. He is famed for his advocacy of classical education and school reform, including vouchers, as well as fighting drug abuse. His wife, Elayne Bennett, is founder of Best Friends Foundation, which oversees healthy character-development and mentoring programs for students. The couple have two sons.

Of Dr. Bennett’s many books, “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories,” “The De-Valuing of America: The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children,” and three-volume “America: The Last Best Hope,” are among his most memorable. “Is College Worth It?” is his latest book.

Dr. Bennett hosted “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” a weekday, morning-drive radio talk show, for more than a decade before stepping down from it this year. He continues to engage thought leaders with “The Bill Bennett Interview: Making America Work,” and offers commentary at billbennett.com, which is a member of Salem National, a subsidiary of Salem Media Group.

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