The hiring Thursday of a recent college graduate, 23-year-old Elliott Echols, to serve as the Republican Party's first national youth director, is intended to burnish the GOP's image among millennials, The New York Times reported.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus termed the hiring a ground-breaking effort by the GOP to draw young voters into its camp.
Republicans aim to reverse the perception among many under-30 voters that the GOP is "old and detached" from popular culture by building "a grassroots infrastructure with the under-30 community" that includes campus-based groups and those involved in state politics.
"One of my biggest goals is to bring young, energized people to the GOP," Echols said. "There are a lot of young people who are eager to make a change, but they can't change anything if they're not a part of the process. My job is to get them more involved in the political process and to help them direct that eagerness to make a change into something tangible."
Echols had been active in Republican politics at Berry College in Georgia, where he graduated in 2012 with a degree in economics.
His appointment is part of a number of recent hires – Andy Barkett was lured away from Facebook to serve as chief technology officer – intended to implement the recommendations of a March 2013 GOP study
on how to boost its electoral prospects in the years ahead.
The report bluntly noted that many young voters are increasingly put-off by the GOP, seeing it as intolerant of youthful values and "rolling their eyes at what the Party represents." The Republicans acknowledged that "when someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us."
Younger voters, who comprise 20 percent of the electorate, have expressed stronger approval for Democrats than Republicans in recent polling, The New York Times reported.
Within a day of his appointment, Echols' Twitter account ballooned to over 3,000 followers from 700.
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