Graduate Program Professor at Pepperdine University
Before the age of 10, Ashley Reagan never thought of her family as being different than any otherfamily. To her, Ronald Reagan was simply the man she called “grandpa”— the loving grandfather who doted on her and her older brother, Cameron. “I would visit him often at his office in Century City and go to his house on the weekends for lunch or to swim,” recalls Ashley.
Ashley grew up in a close family that cherished their times with Ronald Reagan. Michael Reagan, Ashley’s father, is a conservative talk radio host whose show is syndicated across the nation. Ashley’s mother, Colleen, was a stay- at-home mom and is a part-time travel agent.
Growing up with President Reagan as her grandfather had its benefits, but it also came with some challenges. While some people are thrilled to meet Ronald Reagan’s kin, others lash out. “It is a challenge when you are faced with people that disagree with his policies or the way he shaped the nation during his presidency,”says Ashley. “People can be mean, and it can be difficult when you are young to understand that. To you he is just your grandpa, but at the same time, all of these people have formed their own opinions about him.”
Ashley, however, was not deterred by those who might disagree with her grandfather’spoliciesandideals. Her conservative principles were instilled at a young age, enabling her to stand up for her beliefs in the face of opposition. “He [President Reagan] impacted my life in many ways; as a leader and as my grandpa. As a leader, I learned to stand up for what I believed in regardless of who disagreed with me, and I also learned to work hard for what I wanted.”
Young America’s Foundation has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Michael Reagan and his family. Michael is a frequent speaker at Foundation student programs and always ranks highly among our students. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Ashley—a recent graduate of California Lutheran University—has followed in her grandfather’s and now her father’s footsteps, becoming more involved with Young America’s Foundation and the Conservative Movement.
Ashley attended several of the Foundation’s West Coast Leadership Conferences with her father and, in 2002, traveled to Washington, D.C., to be a part of our National Conservative Student Conference.
“It is especially nice to be around individuals who share your same ideals, especially since conservatism is
not the norm on most college campuses,” says Ashley. “I definitely have learned to embrace my conservative ideals through Young America’s Foundation, and the Foundation has provided me with so many resources to challenge the Left and support my beliefs.”
Ashleytrulyvaluessaving her grandfather’s ranch home and helping to educate young people about Ronald Reagan. “Preserving the Ranch is important to my grandpa, my family, and history. [The Ranch] best shows what Ronald Reagan stood for and illustrates his humilitytopeople. TheRanch is RonaldReagan,”she comments. “Young conservatives who visit the Ranch can be inspired to hold on to their conservatism and know that Ronald Reagan is behind them…”
Undoubtedly, President Reagan would be proud of the young leader his granddaughter has become. Today, Ashley is in a teaching credential graduate program at Pepperdine University. She hopes to inspire future generations with conservative ideas and remain active with Young America’s Foundation, because, as the President’s granddaughter notes, “It is too important not to.”