Youth movement emerges for the GOP |

Youth movement emerges for the GOP

Photo courtesy of Nathan Nottingham

WOLCOTT – The Republican party gets a bad rap as being made up of rich, old men who are out of touch with reality, says Alison Miller, Eagle County Young Republicans vice-president.But there are many normal, everyday, young Republicans who need a voice, too, she says. The goal of the newly formed Eagle County Young Republicans is to get younger people involved with the party, help the central party raise money and focus on issues important to the younger population.”We have the same core values (as the Republican party), but we are at a different place in our lives,” said Miller, 26. “We want to bring attention to some of the things that young people are concerned about.”Child care, affordable housing and lower taxes are at the top of that list. These are issues that are relevant especially to young families trying to make it in the valley, she said.

Any registered Republican voter age 18 to 40 is welcome to join, or even just come and see what it is all about, Miller said. The group held a kickoff party and elected officers on Saturday. The group is not yet a well-oiled machine, but very much a grassroots operation. About 10 people attended the barbecue and paintball party in Wolcott, and the group’s three founding members, Miller, Muhammed Ali Hasan of Beaver Creek and Nathan Nottingham of Wolcott, are still trying to work out meeting dates and events.The group is a separate organization from the Eagle County Republicans, with its own charter and budget. They will work in conjunction with the central party on certain things such as fundraising. While many younger Republicans come down on both sides of social issues like abortion or gay marriage, there is common ground when it comes to governmental issues such as small business regulation and taxes, said Hasan, 27.”This valley is very political in a good way, and we want to capitalize on that,” he said.

The idea is to mix fun and politics. Planned events include political debate nights against area young Democrats – though there is no organized group. The Young Republicans would also like to get high school students who are too young to join the party involved in the debates, Hasan said. The group will also hold an American History trivia night at Loaded Joe’s coffeehouse in Avon followed by an official meeting at 8 p.m., Aug. 28.The group’s first official monthly meeting will be held this Friday at Finnegan’s Wake in Avon. Miller said she got the idea for the group when she first moved to the valley. She felt like she had no outlet in what she felt was a Democrat-dominated area, but soon found there were other young people who held Republican values also. Through Eagle County Republican Party member Debbie Buckley, she met Nottingham and Hasan.

Buckley said many young Republicans in other areas or in college are very active, so it makes sense that a group would start in Eagle County. “If the young people see a need, that means there is one,” she said.Hasan said that at first the group’s activities will just be about experimenting with what gets people interested and involved. “I think it’s going to energize the political atmosphere of Vail Valley, and hopefully spread to surrounding counties too,” he said.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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