Kathi Lewis, of Naples, Florida, listens intently along with nearly 100 other Republican women during the youth outreach breakout session at the National Federation of Republican Women convention. (Photo by Katrina Crumbacher/For Oklahoma Voice)
OKLAHOMA CITY — Interested in equipping Republicans with tools to better reach Generation Z voters, the National Federation of Republican Women focused Saturday on strategies to galvanize youth engagement.
The workshop was one of the breakout sessions during the GOP group’s three-day 42nd Biennial Convention. The workshop focused on ways to boost youth involvement in both the Republican Party and in government at a time when young voters tend to be among the most politically disengaged.
Young adults age 18-24 tend to be less polarized, and about a third don’t intend to vote in the upcoming 2024 elections, according to the civic-minded Institute for Citizens & Scholars, which surveyed more than 4,000 young adults across the country in August.
“Why would you want to be a part of something when there’s all this fighting going on,” said Maria Sofia, chair of the NFRW Youth Outreach Committee and moderator of the breakout session. “It’s like why would I want to be part of this headache, drama, whatever? I think that a lot of young people are just like ‘I don’t want to have to deal with that headache when I can do other hobbies that are mindless and fun.’”
The same poll also found that 61% of young voters do not identify with either major political party.
The youth outreach breakout session drew roughly 100 attendees.
It featured 26-year-old Iowa State Rep. Joe Mitchell, R-Mount Pleasant, who is also the president and founder of Run GenZ, an organization dedicated to “empowering, recruiting, and mentoring the next generation of conservative leaders,” and Julie Hartman, 23, host of Timeless with Julie Hartman and co-host of Dennis and Julie with PragerU’s Dennis Prager.
“In a general standpoint, all the policies that are being made now are going to affect us more than anyone else,” Mitchell said. “Whether you’re on the left or right, I think it’s an important thing to be engaged and understand the issues and be well-versed to have a voice in our constitutional republic.”
Republican’s candidate recruitment has to match the Democrat’s strategy, he said.
“The left is crazy at getting young people, at getting women, at getting minorities to run for office, and so we have to compete with that,” he said.
Over 1,200 Republican women attended the convention over the weekend. Set to end Sunday afternoon, the convention included speeches from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and State Auditor Cindy Byrd. Byrd is also an NFRW member.
With over 60,000 members across the United States, the NFRW is the largest grassroots organization for Republican women in the country. An offshoot of the Republican National Committee, the NFRW was founded in 1938 and is in its 85th year.
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