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 RodgersThree scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House The Hill's 12:30 Report Top aide in Kenneth Starr investigation will vote for Dems for first time 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 SmithRecord numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress House GOP starts summer break on a note of friction Overnight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms 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) GaetzElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP leader wants Twitter CEO to testify on ‘shadow banning’ Here's why social media users need a ‘bill of rights’ 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 StefanikThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Trump signs 7B annual defense policy bill into law The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts MORE (N.Y.), Jamie Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Scott TaylorScott William TaylorPentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket Democrats find dead man’s signature on petition gathered by GOP volunteers MORE (Va.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherStop the tariff madness The Hill's Morning Report — Battle lines drawn: Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight gets under way On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers MORE (Wis.) and Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveUtah newspapers slam GOP’s Mia Love for 'deliberately deceptive' mailers 10 dark horse candidates for Speaker of the House Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax 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 CurbeloCatholic advocacy group to protest Trump tax law at Mar-a-Lago Cook Political Report moves 4 GOP seats to 'toss-up' category GOP lawmaker: Every white suburban district in the country will be a swing district this year 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.”