Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 29, 2012

Youth on display at GOP event

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — HOLLEY — A gathering of local Republicans ahead of the coming election highlighted the party’s candidates and the teenagers who one day could the GOP’s standard bearers.

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long was the event’s guest speaker, with Congressional candidate Chris Collins and local candidates also taking the stage. But the night’s real stars were a group of students from local high schools, who populated the event’s dais with young faces instead of the usual assemblage of party leaders and office seekers.

Orleans County Republican Vice Chairman Skip Draper said the Town of Shelby Committee, which organized Saturday’s gathering, wanted to give the young but politically-piqued teens the opportunities to interact with office holders and be inspired in the same way as have previous generations of local Republicans.

“When the committee got together (to plan the dinner) we all talked about the experiences we remembered from our government classes and the Young Republicans,” Draper said. “I remember (former Assemblymen) R. Stephen Hawley coming to speak. It had an impact, those (kids) are still involved.”

Long, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, said she was invigorated to see the teens so engaged with the event.

“I remember that age, everything lies before them,” Long said. “It’s important that they have hope for and faith in America.”

The night’s speakers largely focused their remarks on the future that the students will inherit if Republicans win federal, state and local elections.

“This election is about the future of these kids,” Collins said. “We don’t need to have 1.4 percent economic growth ... we can double the economy in 18 years.”

Office seekers were proud to speak on their unabashed conservative beliefs and confidence that they, and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney’s message will win out next month.

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