How did you get your start in Republican politics?
My start in Republican politics began during the 2008 election cycle. At the time I was apathetic toward politics, however my two older brothers were very involved. My oldest brother was a state delegate for the Texas Republican Party and my other brother was a City Councilman and Campaign Manager of the eventual winning candidate for Surrogate Court judge (one of the few GOP victories that cycle). They had a big influence on me entering the political forum–challenging me to educate myself on the issues. My oldest brother encouraged me, in a way that only brothers can, to utilize my leadership skills to then educate and encourage others. He more or less stated I had a responsibility to do so and he was right.
Obviously the results of the election furthered my interest, but two other events expedited my eagerness to become involved. The first was the birth of my son in 2008 and the responsibility that comes with being a father, burying my head in the sand was no longer an option. The second was my enrollment in law school and my subsequent involvement in student government and an amazing organization called the Federalist Society. I moved back to NY in early 2009, joined my town GOP committee, volunteered for my local Assemblywoman and began to work with others to resurrect the OCYRs.
The Orange County YRs were dormant for a while, but have become of of our more active clubs? What went in to resurrecting the club?
Fortunately, for our group we had young Republicans holding elected positions at the time we began the re-organization process. While their experience as former State leaders in NYSYR’s provided us invaluable, it was their willingness to participate that provided me the confidence we would be successful. For example, our initial meeting had 20 or so people, half of which were elected or former elected officials.
Next in our sights was to garner the support of the county and town committees. We stressed attendance at local events as paramount to our success early on–and we delivered. At the first convention, we had more than half the volunteers; at the annual dinner honoring our County Executive, we 20 OCYRs were in attendance; and our meetings have consistently been packed..
Finally we targeted the State and National Committee. Not long ago the OCYR’s were a model group for the state and we made no bones about wanting to return to that status immediately. We were provided opportunities–whether it was your generosity with allowing us on the Right Hook or the National Convention being in Puerto Rico, but we also created them with our presence–whether in the conference room, the volleyball court or the internet.
The OC is also the most active on social media. Why such a focus on Twitter, Facebook, etc.?
Short answer see The Brodigan’s Principles. But simply put its free. It is the single most important recruiting tool for YR group. You can quickly market events and disseminate other information while also vetting candidates, issues and ideas. We looked to what made the Dutchess YR’s and State YR’s successful and recognized they separated themselves in this category. I cannot imagine a YR group being successful without a vigorous social media campaign.
Besides the Presidential, we also have another shot to take out Sen. Kristen Gilligan in 2012. Do you have your eye on anyone who would make a good candidate to go against her?
I always have been and continue to be a Pataki fan. As much as admire him and think he would have made a fine President, he is a better fit for regional politics than the national scene. Most important is that he has won here before and has the ability to raise the money necessary to unseat Gillibrand. Having the opportunity to see Pataki interact with the YRs at the National Convention, I am extremely intrigued by the opportunity that would be available to the NYSYRs if he chose to run.
Outside of politics, what do you do in your down time?
Down time? Haha. I have a family–my wife of nearly 7 years and my son who is 3 1/2. I am 12 credits from finishing my law degree and will sit for the February 2012 bar. The rest of the time is spent working in our family law firm. I do manage to play soccer once a week, golf 10-12 times a summer and consider myself an avid runner. I also enjoy a nice craft beer and/or a cigar. Sadly I am realizing how boring on sound on paper.