WASHINGTON, February 13 -
Mr. Speaker, last November, we once again witnessed a remarkably low turn-out among this nation's youth. Sadly, the majority of the youngest demographic group, our nation's future, Republican and Democrat alike, failed to take part in the democratic process. I met a group of young high school students trying to buck that trend.
The Bellaire High School Young Republicans, led by Michelle Knesbach, Jennifer Knesbach, and Michael Scheinthal, push to create a spirit of activism at their high school, in the city of Houston, and around the state of Texas. At the age of fourteen, these three students began working on local campaigns, block walking on weekends and helping fundraise on school nights. Soon after, the three started the High School Republicans of Texas, an official auxiliary of the state party which focuses on giving a voice to those too young to vote, and encourages activism among their schoolmates. Through voter registration drives and get out the vote campaigns in their community, the Bellaire High School Republicans engage young people in the political process, making a difference on Election Day.
I met this group at a dinner I spoke at and was impressed by their initiative. I was invited to speak at their school, and when I walked into the building, taking me back to the days of too much homework and pop quizzes, I was surprised that around 300 students came to the event during their lunch break. We had a discussion, about Hamas, about drug cartels, about policy and bipartisanship, topics that I often find bore people twice their age; yet they were intrigued. An age group, often over-looked, often deemed to not care, was just as fascinated, cared just as much, about these vital topics as anyone. The Bellaire Young Republicans and the High School Republicans of Texas are changing the status quo by inspiring their classmates to avoid being a part of another disappointing statistic.
Campaign events of the future will be full of young faces. Students too young to vote learn that they can make a difference, impact their state, and impact their country. Further merit should be credited to the Bellaire Young Republicans as they fight for ideas that are widely rejected by their peers as they work to end the ``youth involvement drought'' slowly eroding the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement. Looking into the young crowd, I knew there was hope for my party and for my county. And that's just the way it is.