Republican group plans to engage young voters in south Georgia
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Ricktavious Anderson now represents the Southwest District for the Georgia Young Republicans.
That district includes Dougherty County. Dougherty County voted 70% overall for Senator Raphael Warnock in this past election.
“Just let people know that the Republican Party is here for you. We are going to try to talk to you and help you understand us,” Anderson said.
Anderson plans to help create clubs in high schools and colleges across southwest Georgia. He also plans to be active in the community at local events and festivals.
“We’re going out into the community and trying to tell people what is conservatism and creating a new youth in conservatism. A new brand in conservatism,” Anderson said.
Tracy Taylor, the Dougherty County Republican Party chairman, says young people could help the current image of chaos within the party.
“We all know that the predominant party is Democratic. We need to bring upcoming leaders in a future to help stabilize the confusion and the disarray that people might see on the national level,” Taylor said.
The 2020 census revealed that the majority of citizens in Georgia’s Second Congressional district are African American. The district voted to re-elect Rep. Sanford Bishop (D), over challenger Chris West (R) in November. Anderson said in order for the Republican Party to grow in the area, they must tap into some of those Black voters.
“We’ve been failing at communicating with the Black community. I used to be afraid to speak my mind and tell people what I truly believe. Don’t be afraid to come out,” Anderson said.
Anderson grew up in Dougherty County. He went to Lincoln Elementary, Robert Cross, then Westover High School. He also is a veteran. Anderson thinks his path to conservatism could be followed by other young people.
“I came to that conclusion on my own. I loved history and researching it. Conservatism is about bringing back faith into the community. A conservative idea is ‘hey, maybe college is not the best thing.’ That’s a progressive idea,” Anderson said.
Taylor said his loss to David Sampson in the State House Rep. 153 race opened his eyes to the struggle of getting voters in Dougherty County to vote Republican.
“We need to be visible in the community and change the narrative of the Republican Party as a whole. Just by showing more people that’s involved, we can convert over African-American and minority communities to give the Republican party a chance,” Taylor said.
Taylor says that he’s been surprised about the general interest of young Republicans, especially at the historically Black university, Albany State University.
Tyler Johnson is the chairman of the Lee County Republicans. He says unity within the party is vital in moving forward.
“This region of the state has brought a new fire to what the Republican Party is doing,” Johnson said.
Lee County is as Red as Dougherty County is Blue. Johnson said this dates back a long time, but there are lessons Republicans can take for Dougherty County and Blue areas across the district.
“While we do this outreach, we have to bring the whole second district up. The whole district votes Democratic. We’re working with surrounding counties to bring up Dougherty County to our level and make sure there’s not much crime, and young people don’t want to leave,” Johnson said.
WALB reached out to the local Dougherty County Democratic Party for a response about the new club and how they plan to engage young voters. Currently, we haven’t received a response yet.
More information on the Southwest Georgia Young Republicans can be found by going to their Facebook page “Southwest Georgia Young Republicans”
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