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Newsmax's 30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30

Image: Newsmax's 30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30
From L: John McEntee (AP Photo/Alex Brandon), Hope Hicks (Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images), Christina Hagan (OhioHouse.gov)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 January 2018 10:08 AM

The Republican Party currently holds power in the United States presidency, both houses of Congress, and 33 governorships. In 32 state legislatures, both houses are controlled by Republicans. Even though popular culture appears to have moved significantly to the left in recent years, the electorate shows that it still values Republican principles like security, prosperity, and responsibility as much as ever.

The average age of the 435 members currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives is 57, and the average age among the 100 U.S. senators is 61. But a new generation of Republicans is rising to replace those soon to retire from office and, in some cases, even challenge those who would like to hold onto power despite advancing age.

This diverse group of Republicans under the age of 30 includes men and women of many different backgrounds, races, and areas of expertise. While some have been elected to state legislatures, work as commentators, and run nationally recognized, influential political organizations, others are sharing conservative ideas and commentary with non-traditional audiences on podcasts, social media, and other platforms where young people are more likely to tune in.

In their own ways, these Republicans are reaching a generation that must reconcile the apparent disdain for members of their party in the mainstream media with Republicans’ continued ballot box success. It will be their collective duty to educate their peers and show how Republican principles are not only worth considering, but also worth living out each day and voting to support.

Newsmax has selected these 30 Republicans under the age of 30 as the most influential in 2018:

1. Hope HicksA former child model and actor who became a public relations professional after college, Hicks, 29, joined Trump’s presidential campaign as press secretary after working on Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. She now serves as the White House communications director, the youngest person to ever hold the position. She is considered a top Trump adviser and is one of the most senior members of his administration despite her age.

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2. Mary Elizabeth TaylorThis 28-year-old found her way into the national spotlight during the Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings when the media began to speculate about the identity of the young woman of color sitting in the gallery day after day. Taylor is a former Senate cloakroom staffer who helped broker backroom deals to get legislation passed. After the November 2016 election, she became special assistant to President Donald Trump handling presidential nominations, with more than 100 confirmed nominees this year.

3. Antonia Okafor — This 28-year-old beauty queen is a champion of concealed carry and the Second Amendment. She started EmPOWERed, a nonprofit organization that seeks to train college women to use guns safely on campus. Okafor debuted at CPAC in 2017 on Katie Pavlich’s NRA panel "Armed and Fabulous" and shared the stage with President Trump in April at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. She is a frequent Fox News and Blaze TV contributor.

4. Lauren AronsonThe press secretary for the House Ways and Means Committee, 29-year-old Aronson worked to spread the word on the benefits of the GOP tax bill that was recently passed and signed into law. Previously, she served as press secretary for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and as a senior media relations associate at the American Enterprise Institute.

5. Kayleigh McEnanyA longtime CNN contributor who started out as a producer on Mike Huckabee’s Fox TV show after graduating from college, McEnany was famous for her confrontational style in debating left-leaning CNN commentators and hosts like Van Jones and Charles Blow. In August 2017, the 29-year-old left CNN suddenly to become the RNC spokeswoman. Her book, “The New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement,” was released in January.

6. Rep. Christina HaganIn 2011, while still in college and waiting tables at two restaurants, Hagan became the youngest woman ever elected to the Ohio House of Representatives and has been re-elected by larger and larger margins each year since. Now 29, Hagan has held multiple leadership positions including Midwest chair of the ALEC Women’s Caucus and chair of the Electoral College in Ohio for then-President-elect Donald Trump.

7. Charlie KirkIn 2012, at just 18 years old, Kirk founded Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives. Now 24, Kirk serves as the nonprofit's executive director and is credited with leading the "millennial assault" during the Trump campaign. Turning Point USA has a presence on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses across the country.

8. Rep. Aaron PilkingtonHealthcare policy is the issue that animates this 27-year-old, and Pilkington has wasted no time after being elected to the Arkansas House in putting forth innovative healthcare legislation that is expected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars while improving care at the same time. He also voted to cut regulations, protect the unborn, and promote constitutional carry in the state.

9. Rep. Niraj Antani — At 26, Antani is already serving his second term in the Ohio House, where he is the youngest-serving member. He received the Legislator of the Year award from the AMVETS organization in Ohio for helping veterans and the Distinguished Government Service Award by the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools for his work to make higher education more accessible to the middle class.

10. Rep. Chuck Gray — Being the youngest member of the Wyoming State Legislature didn’t stop 27-year-old Gray from becoming lead sponsor on Wyoming’s first pro-life bill in more than two decades, which was signed into law in 2017. Gray also advocates controlling state spending and working against tax increases. He communicates his conservative principles by hosting two local radio programs.

11. Ryan Fournier — Still a political science major at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, 22-year-old Fournier founded and served as national chair of Students for Trump and has been frequently featured on Fox News, CNN, NBC, and many other media outlets. Fournier will graduate college in 2018 and is working on launching a nonprofit, Generation Onward, to advocate for America First policies on U.S. college campuses.

12. Joseph Picozzi — Elected as the youngest-ever chairman of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, 22-year-old Picozzi took a team of campaigners to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to stump for Donald Trump, Sen. Pat Toomey, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in 2016. A graduate of Georgetown University’s government program, he recently landed a job as staff assistant in the Office of the House Majority Leader. 

13. Diante Johnson—At only 21 years old, Johnson has already founded the Black Conservative Foundation, a millennial-targeted organization that promotes policies that lead to economic stability, educational opportunities, and community service and leadership. The Chicago native has run for local office in Illinois, served as a field director for the Trump campaign, been featured on CNN and other media outlets, and recently wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner about the benefits of the tax reform bill. 

14. Michael Knowles—This 27-year-old burst onto the scene in early 2017 by making The New York Times Best-Seller List with a book called “Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide,” which was endorsed by President Trump in the early months of his administration. The book’s pages were all blank, but Knowles went on to become a political commentator and managing editor for Ben Shapiro’s site, The Daily Wire.

15. Lawrence B. Jones III — Working with Project Veritas in 2013, Jones was involved in exposing fraud by vendors enrolling individuals in the Obamacare marketplace plans. Only 25, Jones has his own show on TheBlaze Radio Network and is a contributor for Blaze TV, Fox News, and other media outlets. In 2016, Jones exclusively interviewed the parents of Micah Johnson, a Dallas resident who ambushed and shot police in a much-publicized incident.

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16. Tomi LahrenIt was a tumultuous year for Lahren, 25, who reportedly lost her job at TheBlaze for publicly supporting pro-choice views during a guest appearance on “The View,” and then later sued her former employer for wrongful termination. Meanwhile, she became a Fox News contributor and spokeswoman for Great America Alliance, a pro-Donald Trump super PAC. She continues to provide commentary on conservative issues and is a strong millennial voice within the Republican Party.

17. Gus Portela — In 2017, the 28-year-old went from executive director of the College Republican National Committee to director of external affairs and operations at the Hispanic Leadership Fund in Washington, D.C. Portela has worked extensively to foster online engagement about voting among millennials and has been actively involved in several major political campaigns, including Rick Santorum’s presidential primary campaign in 2012.

18. Juan Pablo Andrade This 23-year-old has worked with Trump and the RNC since the 2016 campaign as an adviser on the National Diversity Coalition and at the nonprofit America First Policies as a policy adviser. Andrade has appeared on NewsmaxTV, CNN Latino, Univision, Telemundo, and The Hill on issues like immigration and diversity.

19. Katie PavlichA journalist who writes regularly for Townhall.com and The Hill, Pavlich is also a National Review Washington Fellow and television commentator on Fox News’ “The Five.” The 29-year-old wrote “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up” and “Assault & Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women.” Pavlich also speaks on college campuses across the country about conservative issues. 

20. John McEnteeA former starting quarterback for the University of Connecticut's football team and viral YouTube trick-shot star, this 27-year-old first joined the Trump campaign as a volunteer in 2015. He worked his way up and now serves as the president's body man and personal aide. As Politico put it, "He’s one of the few White House staffers who gets his calls answered on the first ring."

21. Kassy Dillon — This Mount Holyoke University senior created Lone Conservative, a platform to give conservative students a place to voice for their opinions and report liberal bias and abuse. The 21-year-old has also been a staff contributor at Campus Reform and contributor to Red Alert Politics, The Daily Wire, Fox News, and The Hill. Dillon focuses on free speech and cultural issues as they impact college students.

22. Gabrielle Boschè — A 28-year-old expert on the millennial generation who has written four best-selling books on millennial issues, Boschè founded and runs The Millennial Solution, a training and consulting company that uses her expertise to help companies understand and motivate millennials who work for them. Boschè also gave a now famous TED talk about the millennial generation and encourages entrepreneurship and free-market principles whenever she can.

23. Kristin Tate — At age 25, Tate has already published her first book, "Government Gone Wild," and has a second, "How Do I Tax Thee?", being released in March. Tate is also a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, and NewsmaxTV, where she offers conservative views on the issues. She also writes a regular column for The Hill.

24. Cabot Phillips — The 24-year-old media director of the online publication Campus Reform and director of campus outreach for the Leadership Institute also worked on Marco Rubio's presidential primary campaign in 2016. Perhaps most famously, Phillips is also a YouTube partner with videos that have more than 100 million views. He created "man on the street" videos during the election season that were featured on Fox News and other radio and TV shows and is a regular contributor to Fox News, TheBlaze, and NewsmaxTV.

25. Chelsi Bennett — A motivational speaker, political strategist and commentator, and pastor’s wife, Bennett, 29, has her hands full but seems to handle it all with grace and competence. She was the youngest elected official in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2010, all while earning her law degree and serving as a campus missionary. She also helped found 20/20 Leaders of America, a bipartisan criminal justice reform organization. Bennett remains a busy professional while living in Richmond, Virginia, and running a young adult ministry with her husband. 

26. Sadie RobertsonLike her famous father and grandfather (Willie and Phil Robertson), the 20-year-old “Duck Dynasty” — and “Dancing With the Stars” — star publicly endorsed Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election. Robertson does not focus as much on politics as some of her other family members, but makes no secret of her conservative, pro-life views or her Christian faith as she speaks to young audiences across the U.S.

27. Lila Rose — A leading voice in the pro-life movement, Rose started the organization Live Action when she was only 15. The organization made a series of undercover videos at Planned Parenthood locations showing that the organization often failed to report illegal situations like a purported prostitution ring or women who were abused. Now 29, Rose writes regularly for The Hill, Politico, USA Today, and First Things. She also speaks internationally on culture and family issues.

28. Chandler Thornton — In June, Thornton was elected national chairman of the College Republican National Committee after serving as the Northeast regional vice chair. The CRNC has more than 250,000 members on 1,800 college campuses and has been active for 125 years. As national chairman, Thornton, 24, wants to advocate for conservative policies that will bring about positive change for the country and appeal to young voters.

29. Thomas Hern — The 25-year-old former youth organizer began a new adventure in November as grassroots director at ACT for America, an organization of 750,000 conservatives that advocates for legislation to promote conservative policies. This position builds on Hern’s experience as director of field operations for Turning Point USA, which holds youth conferences to mobilize young adults and educate them about conservative issues.

30. Eli Nachmany — After taking time off to work as a full-time, paid staffer on the Donald Trump for President campaign as an advance press lead, Nachmany graduated summa cum laude from New York University at age 21. He has been accepted to Harvard Law School but is deferring his start date to work as a political appointee in the Trump administration, specifically as a writer with the Department of Interior.

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A new generation of Republicans is rising to replace those soon to retire from office and, in some cases, even challenge those who would like to hold onto power.
30 under 30, influential, republicans
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2018-08-30
Tuesday, 30 January 2018 10:08 AM
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