Young Republicans

Primarily associated with the image of an elephant, the Republican party, otherwise known as the GOP, is the chosen party of President Donald Trump. However, that isn’t the only person or political stance that they represent.

The High School Conservatives of Texas club was formed to create a place for those with similar political views to be able to get together and talk about current issues.

“[The club] is a great way for high schoolers to express their political views with their peers and get more engaged in the political process,” senior Gavin Dring, vice-president, said.

Students with particularly strong opinions have found a place where they can voice those opinions and also listen to other viewpoints.

“Someone should join the club for the same reason I did, to get a much more broad sense in more of the discussion and to meet people you can befriend and have an interest with within the group,” senior Diedrich Welling said.

Not only discussion based but also informative, the club was formed during the preliminaries of this past presidential election.

“The club gives students a place to discuss their ideas with like-minded individuals as well as educating young people on conservative ideals,” senior Danner Hutch, president, said.

To help with this process, the club often has speakers come in from the local government.

“We’ve actually had several local Republicans that are in the local races come in and talk to them, so, for instance, Robert Abram who is running for Justice of the Peace, he came in to talk to them and also to enlist their help in possibly canvassing neighborhoods and things like that,” Cindy Reynolds, club sponsor, said. “They’ve been invited to the Lincoln Reagan Dinner which is a huge fundraiser, but Hays county provided a table for them.”

The club meets biweekly, though infrequently due to busy schedules.

  “It’s not just to get students involved in the political process, but to understand the differences as to what the Republicans viewpoints are and to what Democrats viewpoints are,” Reynolds said. “It is really just to enlighten and to educate students about what do the political parties really stand for.”

Young Democrats

Often recognized by the image of a donkey, the Democratic party is one of the two largest political parties in the United States next to the Republican party. Like any organization, there are stereotypes made about the Democratic party and their views on elections, but they don’t always have to apply to everyone.

Young Democrats is a club at the high school, formed to give any students interested in politics a safe place to express their opinions, discuss current events and other political issues with their peers, and participate in local political activities such as rallies, marches, campaigns, and volunteering.

“This club was created to promote political activism among youth and to establish a voice for Democrats in a largely conservative community,” senior David Garcia said.

The club meets every other Friday to discuss current events, eat donuts, and plan for upcoming events.

“We’ve helped with local political campaigns by building signs and participating in blockwalks, where we knock on doors and encourage people to vote,” senior Mia Haraguchi, co-president, said. “We’ve also attended several marches and rallies in Austin, such as the No Ban, No Wall Rally, the PRIDE March, and the Women’s March. Finally, we’ve participated in service projects—last year, we helped the Wimberley Democrats with their highway cleanup effort.”

As well as going out into the community, they have also had speakers come to them.

“We’ve hosted Kathi Thomas, Steve Kling, a local candidate for Texas Senate, and Taline Manassian, a current Dripping Springs City Council member,” Haraguchi said.

Bipartisan is defined by Merriam Webster as “marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two major political parties”. The club is currently working towards bipartisan actions with the Young Republicans club, by setting up a joint meeting where they can discuss their opinions and see how the other side thinks. Haraguchi Hopes that things like this will help break down some of the barriers that exist between the two parties.

“By being part of the club, you get access to a ton of local opportunities to get politically involved,” Haraguchi said. “You also get to talk about current events with people who are just as passionate about the issues as you are.”

In addition to community service projects and helping with campaigns, they also helped initiate the organization of the Stoneman Douglas walkout.

“Talk to anyone in the club and we’ll add you to the GroupMe, where we do most of our planning,” Haraguchi said. “Alternatively, you can just show up to a meeting. Our meeting dates for the rest of the year are 3/2, 3/9, 3/23, 4/6, 4/20, 5/4, 5/18, and maybe 6/1. We meet at 8:20 am in Mr. Adams’s classroom (C.202). The club presidents are Josh King and I, so you can always find one of us if you have any questions.”

Turning Point USA

While the Democratic and Republican parties are the most well known, there are also 20+ minor parties that cover a whole range of political views. Yet still, some students might not be sure which party is right for them, or maybe they just want to know more about the government and its politics. Well, guess what, there’s also a club for that.

Turning Point USA (TPUSA) is a national, non-profit youth organization founded on June 5, 2012, by Charlie Kirk with over a thousand chapters in both high school and college campuses. The high school has its very own chapter here, in the form of the Turning Point USA club.

“The point of TPUSA is to educate students on the ideas of free markets and limited government, as well as fiscal responsibility and the importance of freedom,” sophomore Addie Mae Villas, president, said. “We educate in a nonpartisan way, meaning we never endorse political candidates or parties.”

The club has bimonthly meetings where they learn and talk about various topics such as capitalism, socialism, and philosophy.

“We usually will go through a presentation presented by the club leaders and discuss whatever the topic is for that meeting,” sophomore Maddy Brandt said. “We recently got two books by Ayn Rand donated to the club, and we will be reading them throughout the semester.”

While they do not currently have any students who work or intern in the local government that is apart of their chapter, members such as Villas hope to have an internship at the capitol one day.

“With being in TPUSA, you have access to their various resources, as well as acceptance into their various conferences throughout the year,” Villas said.

The club leaders don’t require an expertise on any of the subjects previously mentions, the club is meant to take an interest in the government and expand on it and inform the student.

“You don’t need any knowledge about government to join the club,” Brandt said. “As long as you are interested in government-related topics. You should join because it would be a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded people and a chance to explore topics not discussed every day.”

While it is a relatively new club, having just formed back in September, there are already big plans being put into action.

“I hope to grow the chapter to have people from all different backgrounds and grades,” Villas said. “As well as doing more activism events to educate more people on our organization and the ideas we advocate for.”

For more information on TPUSA as a whole, go to

https://www.tpusa.com/.

 

Written by Giselle Galletti, Features Editor