The debate over the pending vote that the RPV State Central Committee (SCC) will take Saturday June 27,2015, recalled a memory from seven years ago when I voted for the first time for President of the United States. I was an 18-year-old senior in high school and most importantly had figured out that I was not a Democrat, but a Republican. I was excited to have the opportunity to join my fellow Republicans in choosing our nominee for president in the primary.
This memory comes to mind especially now because there is a distinct possibility that many young, first-time voters would be excluded from the nominating process if the State Central Committee chooses a convention instead of a primary for the allocation of delegates. If the SCC had a convention instead of a primary back in 2008, I would not have known where to attend a mass meeting or been able to navigate the political landscape as a first timer, and would not have had the means to attend a convention which would have left me voiceless. I would have been disenfranchised without my direct consent because I would not have been informed on how to participate in the process and, like many others, would not have stayed active.
With about 1.8 million voters in Virginia who voted for Governor Mitt Romney in 2012, less than one percent of that number would have the ability to vote in a Republican convention if the SCC chooses that method. This would leave many others voiceless and unable to participate in the mass meetings or District Conventions for various reasons such as military duty, family, business, college, or — like me — those who are first generation Republicans learning the Party landscape.
I urge the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee to vote and make a stand to show that we are a party of inclusion. I respectfully ask the State Central Committee to support a primary as the method for allocating delegates to the 2016 Republican National Committee convention to formally nominate the next President of the United States.
Thomas Turner, a life-long resident of Suffolk, Virginia, has been active in Republican politics since 2008. An active member of the Republican Party, he serves as the Vice Chairman of the Suffolk GOP and the Founding Chairman of the Western Tidewater Young Republicans which covers the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin, and the counties of Isle of Wright, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex. Thomas has worked for Congressman Randy Forbes as the Eastern Field Director in 2012, and has worked with various conservative groups on college campuses across the East Coast. Outside of politics Thomas is a graduate student and is employed with Suffolk Public Schools and with a local attorney. He can be contacted at email@example.com.