The beginning stages for a Columbia County chapter of the Young Republicans went into high gear Tuesday as a group assembled for an organizational meeting.
"Our goal is to educate people about the Republican platform, about campaigning grass-roots and to basically bring new blood into the Republican party," said the group's organizer, Megan Seda. "What I'd really like to do is get some people involved in some local campaigns."
The chapter of Young Republicans is open to registered voters between the ages of 18 and 40 and is not limited to county residents. The group also worked on electing a board and adopted a constitution.
Twenty people attended the meeting at the county's Republican Party headquarters on Washington Road in Evans. Those in attendance included students from Lakeside and Greenbrier high schools, Columbia County Commissioner-elect Trey Allen, Associate Magistrate Bobby Christine and former Young Republican Lee Benedict, who was elected as the group's chairman. Seda was elected vice chairwoman, and Christy Johnson was elected secretary. A treasurer will be selected later.
"If you look around the room, this is where it starts," Christine said to the crowd.
The Young Republicans was formed in the county in the late 1980s, but the group eventually disbanded.
"In the early 1990s, Columbia County didn't have quite the population base, and I think the demographics have changed a lot more favorably for our group now, too," Seda said. "We really need some leaders to get in place to push this initiative so that it doesn't fizzle out after a couple of years."
She also said that she wants to revive college involvement in the party at Augusta State University and the University of South Carolina Aiken.
The start of a new chapter couldn't come at a better time, Seda said.
"One of our primary reasons for trying to get this up and going before the election is that we can actively participate in those campaigns," she said.
Seda said she would like to start fundraising to send members to battleground states.
Lakeside senior Jennifer Stanley said she hopes to help more students from her school become politically active.
Stanley is the secretary of her school's Young Republican chapter and said she wants to become involved in politics on a county level.
"If they tell me where to be, I'll be there," she said.
The Young Republicans will conduct business meetings on second Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. The next meeting will be Oct. 14.
In addition, the group will meet for a social gathering on fourth Tuesdays.
For information, call the Columbia County Republican Party headquarters at (706) 955-2012.
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