Millennial GOP lawmakers pleased with McMorris Rodgers meeting on party messaging

Millennial GOP lawmakers pleased with McMorris Rodgers meeting on party messaging
© Greg Nash

Young lawmakers said they were pleased after a Thursday meeting with House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe Hill's 12:30 Report Will guns be an issue in midterms? You can bet on it in these districts Time to set politics aside to move ahead on criminal justice reform MORE (Wash.) about the party's messaging efforts.

"Members discussed that they want the millennial voices to be more part of the decisionmaking as policies come together,” a GOP source who was briefed on the meeting told The Hill. "That's the first step before a messaging strategy can ever even be built, and so those policy decisions aren't happening at conference.”

The outreach effort comes after The Hill reported last week that younger members are frustrated with the party’s messaging.

Rep. Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithMillennial GOP lawmakers pleased with McMorris Rodgers meeting on party messaging House Republicans prepare to battle for leadership slots Young GOP lawmakers want more power MORE (Mo.), who serves in leadership as GOP conference secretary, said the meeting focused on how they can become a stronger conference. 

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Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP lawmakers demand drafts of DOJ report on Clinton email investigation Live coverage: IG releases watchdog report on FBI, Clinton probe Ryan remarks on Trump ‘spygate’ leave conservatives fuming MORE (R-Fla.) said McMorris Rodgers was “very eager to receive feedback” and discuss their concerns.

“She got feedback about how we can make messaging be more relevant to younger folks. The lexicon that we use, you know, young people don't typically use the word 'fiscal,'” he told The Hill. “I don't know many people under the age of 40 who walk around and use the word 'fiscal.'”

According to the Florida Republican, the group said they expressed their desire to incorporate different voices on issues like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and environmental policy.  

“I think that the younger members of Congress feel a real personal connection to the immigration issue, for example,” he said. "We're a more multicultural generation, and so, you know, having some of the members that are a little longer in the tooth serve as the principal messengers is something that I think we can flavor with some younger faces.”

Others who attended the meeting in McMorris Rodgers’s leadership office in the Capitol were: GOP Reps. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikPoll: More Democrats than Republicans say US would benefit from more elected women GOP doubles female recruits for congressional races Overnight Defense: Fallout over Trump tariffs | Pentagon says 'too early' to know impact on defense industry | Pompeo touts 'real progress' toward Korea summit MORE (N.Y.), Jamie Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Scott TaylorScott William TaylorRNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart House panel rejects war authorization sunset it passed last year Trump loyalty tests, surging number of women winners defines Tuesday's election results MORE (Va.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherLawmakers target ZTE, Huawei in defense bill GOP rep calls on House to cancel August recess Overnight Defense: Senators to unveil bill to rein in 'national security' tariffs | Over 100 lawmakers urge Mattis to reverse transgender ban | AI debate flares at Google MORE (Wis.) and Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveDems best GOP as Scalise returns for annual charity baseball game Mia Love to join GOP men's congressional baseball team House immigration fight could boost vulnerable Republicans MORE (Utah).

The group of lawmakers has expressed interest in getting a member under 40 into a leadership role in an attempt to have a younger voice at the table when policy and messaging decisions are being made. While a number of names have been floated to potentially replace McMorris Rodgers as conference chair, members said their push to have more influence isn’t an attempt to oust the Washington state Republican from her leadership role.

“I don't think there was a desire, at least certainly not on my part, to replace Cathy," Gaetz said. "I think there's a desire to have the young person at the table when decisions are being made."

Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloThe Hill's 12:30 Report Few voice support after House GOP releases 293-page DACA bill GOP immigration compromise faces more hurdles in House MORE (R-Fla.), who couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting, echoed Gaetz’s sentiments, telling The Hill, "This is not directed at any one member of the leadership team. This is not against anyone, it's for the rising generations.”

Curbelo said he does believe leadership hasn’t been as open as they should be to younger members' ideas in the past.

“I just think leadership likes to feature young members, it's interesting, it's a good narrative and we do have more young members than Democrats — I like that, but that's not enough,” he continued. “We need to show younger generations of Americans that this institution, and more specifically, that our party can respond to their worries and their hopes.”