Republicans focus on sending message

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The Routt County Republican Central Committee was dismayed by the 2004 election.

"Routt County was one of the blue counties," said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairwoman of the committee. Schubert-Akin was referring to the mostly Democratic victories for national and state offices within Routt County.

"In the sea of red, there was this little strip of blue in Colorado, and we said, 'You know, we need to focus our efforts on changing that,'" she said.

The election results in Routt County and statewide "really got people's attention, that they just can't sit back and take things for granted," she said.

The committee's focus this year is on getting the Republican message out in Routt County, she said.

One way to do that is to bring nationally known conservative speakers to the area.

Another way is to pump up fund-raising efforts. The committee's major fund-raiser is the Lincoln Day Dinner, which is scheduled for May 14. The keynote speaker this year is Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

Also important to the committee is helping with a new, student-initiated club at Steamboat Springs High School.

Allie Fete, a senior at SSHS, started the Young Republicans Club as her senior project.

Fete said the time to propose senior projects came in the middle of the 2004 election season. The atmosphere at the high school and college campuses during that time was unbalanced, she said.

In an effort to change that, Fete decided to start the club. She also wanted other young Republicans "to know that they are not alone."

More than a dozen students have attended each of two meetings.

"I think it is important for people of all ages to be informed voters," Fete said. "It is especially important for young people to be aware of the issues facing the nation because they are the future of this country."

The Routt County Republican Central Committee was inspired by the new club, Schubert-Akin said, and decided to give an annual $1,000 scholarship to a high school student in Routt County.

"The younger people are the future of the party," Schubert-Akin said.

There are various criteria, such as good citizenship, community service, extracurricular activities, grades and essay questions applicants have to answer. The deadline for applications is April 30.

The scholarship will be awarded at the committee's Lincoln Day Dinner on May 14.

Routt County Republican Central Committee officers also were elected earlier this year.

Schubert-Akin was elected chairwoman and is joined by three vice-chairmen, one for each county commissioner district. Those are Eric Berry, District 1; Jeff Fry, District 2; and Paul Strong, District 3.

The committee's secretary is Paul Epley, and the treasurer is David Nagel.

The Routt County Republican Central Committee meets every first Wednesday of the month in the Commissioners Hearing Room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

Overall, Schubert-Akin said the committee is excited about everything going on with the Republican Party statewide.

"I just think the future is bright," she said.

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