Spreading a Message of Opportunity
Over the last year, I have traveled to numerous political events across the great state of Georgia. At almost every event, someone comes to me with 'that' question -- "what makes you a Black Republican?" Now I've been asked this question so many times, it's simply expected. Although I know I'll be asked it over a thousand more times, I'll always give the answer with a smile. Personally, I enjoy letting others know why I'm a conservative. It's simple -- my values and my beliefs are best reflected through conservative principle. And America is stronger with bold Christian conservative leadership.
The modern-day conservative message is one of growth and opportunity. It's about empowering people and not the government. It's about a thriving economy, the security of a nation, and having faith in an almighty, all-powerful God.
After answering that first question, I'm asked "Well, how does the Republican Party grow with young voters, Blacks, Hispanics, and others?" Here again, it's simple -- conservatives must show up and message the principles of growth and opportunity.
Too often, Republicans throw in the towel and give up on reaching certain voters. Georgia Republican Party 1st Vice Chair, Michael McNeely, always says, "People do not care what you know, until they know that you care." The Republican message is a caring message about empowerment and reaching God-given potential. There is no reason Republicans should retreat when liberal policies are only leading to more 'debt, doubt, and despair' (as Congressman Paul Ryan would say.) Sometimes, it seems as though some people who claim to be Republican do not even know what the party platform stands for. The conservative message is nothing to hide. It must be promoted in every neighborhood to every individual in the country.
Let's not be ashamed to say that every life is precious and has value. Let's stand and say -- when it comes to gay marriage, government cannot redefine something that God defined in the first place. Let's promote economic mobility and fiscal empowerment. The liberal belief that you should be stuck in one social class your whole life is despicable. Free enterprise lifts the poor into the middle class. Capitalism has done more to rescue people from poverty than any other economic system on Earth. Setting up empowerment zones and training citizens for needed skills will create more jobs in urban areas. Republicans must lead the charge for tax reform and must work to lower taxes that are causing business owners to send their jobs overseas. The first key to opportunity is a receiving a strong education. Republicans must lead our country into a day where every child can attend successful school; whether it be public, private, charter, or magnet. I never thought that Senator Ted Cruz (R) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D) would agree on anything. However, they are arm-in-arm when it comes to promoting school choice across Texas. The fight for every child to receive a quality education is the civil rights issue of our time.
We have a message that tells people "you have the power", not "surrender your power to big government and they will provide." I'm optimistic about our party's future. In the year 2014, many races will depend on whether or not the GOP can effectively spread the message of growth and opportunity. Winning these races will depend on getting voters who don't traditionally vote Republican to turn out and vote Republican.
Even past 2014, spreading the conservative message across all communities is important for the party's success. I'll continue to do the best I can to move the GOP forward. I'm thankful that I'm not in this fight alone. Across this country, there are other young Black conservatives like myself who are working to build the party:
Chelsi P. Henry is a cabinet aide to Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater. Chelsiwas a delegate at the 2012 Republican Convention and is also an elected official for an office in Jacksonville, Florida. She was recently named a Rising Star by the Republican National Committee.
Michael Roundtree is the Chairman of the newly chartered Morehouse College Republicans. Roundtree will now lead the GOP's vanguard at one of America's most famous Historical Black Colleges and Universities.
Leah Le'Vell is a freshman at Mercer University. Leah is a future leader for the GA GOP. Over the summer, Leah will be heading to Washington D.C. to intern for members of the United States Senate as well as help make improvements to the messaging of the Republican Party platform.
Lawrence Jones is a college student and political activist in Texas. Lawrence works closely with the FreedomWorks organization to promote the conservative message and build winning grassroots coalitions. Lawrence has begun traveling the country to endorse candidates and speak at numerous events.
Orlando Watson is the new RNC Communications Director for Black Media. After spending time as a staffer on Capitol Hill, Watson's focus now is to spread the message of 'opportunity for all' through America's numerous media networks.
In addition to these, there are many others who are working to help build the GOP. This is not just about winning elections. It's about making sure that good conservative policy comes from DC and the state capitols across our nation. The task will be difficult, but I also know that it is worth it. I look forward to continuing to work grow the GOP and promoting an agenda that empowers people, not the government.
Nicholas Buford is a sophomore at Valdosta State University in Georgia. You can follow him on Twitter at @NickBuford