GOP conference flies in staffers

While Republican House leaders make a coordinated appeal to their conservative base this week, the Republican Conference office will be teaching district staff how to target a wide range of minority groups.

The conference office is flying in district representatives from 85 member offices for a two-day seminar tomorrow and Thursday to discuss minority outreach.

The assembled staff members are scheduled to attend outreach seminars for Asian-American, African-American, Hispanic, Jewish and American Indian constituents. They will also attend seminars with members, staff and political operatives, including Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman, to discuss ways GOP offices can tout Republican achievements among these minority groups.

“Just as the landscape of each congressional district is different, so are the people who live there,” Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) wrote in an e-mail. “I hope that through the fly-in we can communicate that reaching out to all communities is important, not only to House Republicans but for the entire Republican Party.”

In addition to the seminars, Pryce hopes district offices can share notes with one another.

During the last election, President Bush gained significant support from the Hispanic community and made small gains among African-American voters. The RNC has made minority outreach a priority this year, and the conference office will continue hosting conference calls and distributing materials to individual member offices to further that outreach goal.

The district-offices staffers will meet at the White House with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, hear from minority journalists and get policy and communications updates from GOP Hill staff during their two days in Washington.

Patrick O’Connor