The Siouxland Young Republicans group hosted a launch party on Friday night in Sioux City at the Wheelhouse Bar and Grille. Omar Marquez will be heading up the group, and he said anyone interested in joining could reach out to him.
“People ask like, where are they at, where are the young Republicans at,” Marquez said. “This is our opportunity. This is it.”
Marquez said there are chapters throughout the state. The age group is between 18 and 40.
There were a few elected officials in attendance. Keith Radig of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors was there in addition to Representatives Jacob Bossman (R-Sioux Center) and Skyler Wheeler (R-Orange City).
“As young Republicans, and I think we need to focus on what it means to be a conservative,” Bossman said. “Really the ideas of being a Republican are personal responsibility and smaller government. The more government intrusion in your lives, it takes away responsibility and it takes away freedom.”
Marquez said it’s important for young people to look beyond just Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. They must understand the basics of being Republican and the critical races that trickle down the ballot.
Wheeler said the Young Republicans are the future.
“This is our future,” he said. “We hear from people who run that are much older than us that say they’re running for their kids or their grandkids. I ran thinking, I want to fight for my own future. I want to control my own future.”
Kelly Koch, who helps lead the Young Republican groups in Iowa, said Iowa is one of the top-three aging states in the country.
Radig said he is encouraged with how young Republicans act compared to young Democrats. He talked about a Bernie supporter interrupting the last Woodbury County Central Committee meeting at the Wheelhouse. The Bernie supporter, who was about 22, was screaming expletives and saying Bernie is going to come take all their expletive money.
“Out of 60-some Republicans, the response was ‘God bless you,'” Radig said. “That was it. I think it’s always interesting when you see the interaction of young Republicans and Republicans in general versus young liberals and how they interact and how the media has a double standard on that.
“I’m really impressed by the young Republicans that we have growing up in the area and how it’s contrasted with the young liberals. You see the Bernie Boys getting in fights at their own rallies. The media doesn’t touch it. They sit here and tell you every day that Trump is unhinged. Everything they’ve criticized Trump for, they’ve done themselves. There’s a double standard out there in the media and you just have to be aware of it.”