Young Republican talks present & future of party

ISHPEMING — According to a study last year by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, 61% of voters under the age of thirty supported the idea of putting a Democrat in the White House.

That number for the Republican Party? Just 33%.

The study went on to show that more and more millennials support the Democratic Party. But not Baraga native Jake Putala.

He supports a GOP message that you don’t normally hear and see on TV or read about online.

“Ultimately I’m fighting not for the generation right now, but for future generations,” said Putala. “One of the big issues that is important to me is fiscal responsibility. Right now (as a country), we’re $20 trillion in debt.”

Putala serves as the Youth Chair for the Baraga County Republican Party. He’s been involved in politics since middle school.

“I just started off going door to door, doing parades, delivering campaign materials,” he said. “But what I really fell in love with was the person to person contact that you have when you’re talking about issues that are important to them.”

Like many constituents on both sides of the aisle, Putala believes the divisive culture and rhetoric of politics is turning off young people from getting involved and interested in either party.

“I think we need the younger generation, people from the younger generation to get involved if they want to make sure they have a sustainable future,” said Putala.

With many news outlets displaying polls and stats that have the latest wave of young voters supporting the Democratic Party, you would think that Putala has a hard time getting people his age involved in the GOP. But he says that’s not the case.

“Actually I’ve been surprised, especially in Houghton and Baraga County. There a lot of young conservatives, but sometimes there almost afraid to admit that because there’s a stigma that goes along with being a young republican, especially on college campuses,” he said. “It’s a hard time for people to say they’re a Republican. They have a lot of professors and friends who are liberal.”

A 2016 study by Econ Journal Watch determined liberal professors outnumber conservative professors by a margin of nearly 12 to 1. Speaking of college, Putala, a recent graduate from Baraga High School, plans to study political science at Lansing Community College and Michigan State.

“What motivates me to continue to do it is that I’m fighting for what I believe in,” said Putala. “In the end, it’s what you believe in and what you fight for. If you know you’re doing the right thing, it gives you piece of mind.”

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