The revived Hall County Young Republicans group hopes to offer a space for younger conservatives to network, socialize and, members hope, address some stereotypes about the Grand Old Party.
After about two years of inactivity, a new group of conservatives is working to recruit Republicans ages 18-40 and have the organization re-chartered with the state party.
Haley Brown, the group’s chair, said the group will offer ways for people to make friends, campaign for the party and volunteer with local nonprofits.
“We really want to have the opportunity to be able to teach young people about what Republicans truly stand for and what our values are, while providing a social and professional networking environment of people that are like-minded,” Brown said.
She said she has been interested in politics for a while-- “the political bug has kind of bit me, and I just really love it,” she said--and after attending the Georgia Young Republican Women’s Leadership Conference in September, she was inspired to return to Hall County and start the group.
Brown is from Calhoun and moved to Hall to study at the University of North Georgia. She said she wants to establish roots in Hall, and she hopes the group can help other young people get settled in a new home.
Some young Republicans feel stigmatized for their conservative views, Brown said, and she hopes Hall County Young Republicans can serve as a gathering space for conservatives to find each other.
“A lot of conservative principles are just sucked out of the air in today’s political climate, and depending on who you are and what platform you look at, it’s almost a bad thing to be labeled as a conservative,” Brown said. “Sometimes, a lot of young people don’t want to come out and say that they are one, especially with so many young people being more left-leaning.”
Caleb Rudin, another UNG student and one of the group’s first members, said stereotypes about the Republican Party can cause the voices of younger Republicans, or those of racial or ethnic minorities, to be left out.
“These are huge portions of the Republican Party that I think people often overlook because they just see it as a white, male, old party,” Rudin said. “... Showing people that there’s people just like them who hold the same ideological views that they do, and are the same age, is super important.”
Rudin said having discussions about politics, outside of the media, can help people on both sides of the aisle.
“It’s important that parties have the ability to communicate directly with citizens about what issues are important to their party and what is their stand on those issues,” Rudin said.
The Hall County Young Republicans will be hosting a kickoff event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 at Tap It, 1850 Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.