In the last six years, no demographic has economically suffered more than young Americans. Youth unemployment for those under 30 remains at 15.8%; tuition has gone up more than 30% in six years; average student loan debt is nearing $30,000, and millennial healthcare costs have gone up between 35% and 45% under Obamacare.
Instead of just blaming the president and whining about these problems, some young conservatives are standing up and leading. Three candidates in particular‚??State Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-NH), Paul Dietzel (R-LA), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)‚??actually have excellent chances of winning and changing the face of the GOP.
Their motto is simple: If Washington is going to hand Millennials the nation‚??s biggest challenges, it‚??s time for Millennials to lead now. Congress and the president have left young Americans behind, and these candidates believe the GOP can be the advocates for the next generation‚??starting by electing candidates from the next generation.
If Republicans want any chance of winning young voters in 2014, 2016, and beyond, we need spokespeople like these candidates. Here are brief profiles of the candidates and what they bring to the table:
State Rep. Marilinda Garcia (NH-2)
At age 23, Garcia won her first election as a state representative. Now, at age 31, her aims are set on beating a weak Democrat incumbent, Rep. Ann Custer, in New Hampshire‚??s 2nd¬†district.
Some have called her the ‚??hat trick candidate‚?Ě for Republicans, being young, Hispanic, and a woman‚??three voter groups the GOP is failing to reach. She‚??s appeared on national television and is already a spokeswoman and leader for the next generation.
While she has to win her primary first, if she clears that step, she will be in a great place to beat freshman Rep. Custer‚??who has made numerous votes to the left of her district. If she can improve the margins with Hispanic and younger voters, she will win easily.
Paul Dietzel II (LA-6)
28-year-old tech entrepreneur Paul Dietzel is in a dead-heat to replace Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who is running for U.S. Senate. He is tied in the polls with a local moderate state senator, and in a runoff, a recent poll said he would beat the democrat nominee by 14 points.
Dietzel represents the epitome of a millennial entrepreneur. He started his first business before graduating, and his current company, Anedot, has clients in all 50 states. He went from student to job-creator‚??understanding challenges that both millennials and business owners face.
He also has the bonus of sharing his grandfather‚??s name. Paul Dietzel was one of the most successful coaches in LSU history, completing an undefeated season with a national championship title in 1958. So needless to say, name identification isn‚??t an issue for the candidate.
As the youngest current congressman, Dietzel would be a great spokesman for our generation in the media and on college campuses. His appearances on television and his speeches make me confident that he can win this race and lead when he gets to Washington.
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Stefanik just won her Republican primary by more than 20 percent. She‚??s already qualified for the NRCC‚??s Young Guns program by raising more than $500,000‚??significantly more than any other millennial candidate.
If Stefanik wins, she would become the youngest congresswoman ever‚??at age 29. At her victory party on Tuesday, she asked, ‚??Are you ready to bring new ideas and a new generation of leadership to Washington?‚?Ě
In November, she faces Democrat Rep. Bill Owens, who only won by 1.9 percent in 2012.¬†The Cook Report¬†rates the partisan split as evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans‚??a rarity nationwide. Stenfanik has a change to show the nation that young candidates can both raise large amounts money and win close elections.
All three of these impressive candidates are a test case on whether younger candidates are viable. Right now, all three have realistic of winning, and if any of them succeed, it will pave the way from more young leaders in the GOP.
More young leaders in the GOP will mean a better chance for the GOP to win the youth vote in 2016. If we have communicators in our party who can relate to younger voters, the Party will have a better shot at getting our message to this pivotal demographic‚??and instead of losing the youth vote by 20 percent, we‚??ll have a shot at winning it.
Charlie Kirk is the Founder and Executive Director of Turning Point USA, a youth movement dedicated to energizing students around the principles of limited government and free markets. Kirk appears frequently on national television and radio networks.
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