A few weeks ago, I stood before my peers at the 60th College Republican National Committee Biennial Convention having just been elected as national chairman. Simply stated, it was a proud moment; the organization I have loved and served since I was 18-years-old had selected me to be its leader during a time of both incredible challenges and opportunities for winning young voters to the Republican Party.
It was a great Convention. We had nearly 400 College Republicans journey to our Nation’s Capital during their summer breaks to learn about ways we can bring a smarter, more relevant message back to our campuses. In tandem with the report we recently released, “Brand New Generation for a Grand Old Party,” which provides some insight and solutions to the Party’s outreach with young voters, the spirit of Convention was distinctly optimistic about our efforts going forward.
The part of this narrative that I left out is that this year marked the first time since the organization’s founding in 1892 that the National Board elected a female to serve as national chairman. I did so purposefully, because in the end, after serving in this organization for many years, I can say with confidence that this trait did not matter.
I mean this not as a rebuke on identity politics — that’s for a different day — and, in fact, I accept the congratulations of my friends and colleagues on this point with humility and gratitude. Rather, I mean to use this is an opportunity to demonstrate something I have always known to be true about College Republicans and the Republican Party. A diversity exists among our membership that is not often quantified or parsed, simply because our members connect on the basis of friendship and shared values rather than that of preconceived notions of identity. What starts as a way to meet friends and get involved in important issues quickly translates into a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Republican, regardless of gender or any other trait, to come together to work for the Party in which they believe.
In that same vein there is a universality to the Republican message in the Party as a whole which encourages limited government and economic growth — ideas whose foundation cuts across racial, gender, and class boundaries. Most women are not single-issue voters. To assume otherwise reeks of the same kind of sexism of which Democrats often accuse Republicans. We have women who have risen to the highest ranks in American business, who sit at the heads of boardrooms, who make the laws of this nation, and who stay at home to take care of their families. Republicans do not begrudge these incredible accomplishments; in fact, we want to grow those opportunities for everyone.
Fundamentally, we are all problem solvers, and the great challenges that face our nation require a coalition of diverse voices united by the sensible solutions our Republican Party offers. Just as a College Republican extends a hand of friendship to anyone willing to help support our message on campus and elect Republican candidates, the Republican Party is open to anyone who can see past the failed, top-down policies of the past and hope for a brighter tomorrow.