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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 RodgersTrump 'baby blimp' flies in Washington state for Pence visit The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — FBI widens scope of Kavanaugh investigation | Nightmare vote for red-state Dems | Five weeks to midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam 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) GaetzFormer FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 House panels postpone meeting with Rosenstein Florida Dems attack GOP campaign as ‘racist’ after Republican labels Gillum 'Kill'em' on crime 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 StefanikRyan signals support for sanctions if Saudis killed Khashoggi Ryan on Trump’s ‘Horseface’ tweet: There’s no place for that type of language Cuomo: Driver in deadly limo crash did not have proper license MORE (N.Y.), Jamie Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Scott TaylorScott William TaylorHouse battlefield expands as ad wars hit new peak Overnight Health Care: Bill banning 'gag clauses' on drugs heads to Trump's desk | Romney opposes Utah Medicaid expansion | GOP candidate under fire over ad on pre-existing conditions GOP ad uses shark to hit Dem on 'government takeover' of health care MORE (Va.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherOvernight Defense: Details on defense spending bill | NATO chief dismisses talk of renaming HQ for McCain | North Korea warns US over cyber allegations NATO head shoots down idea of naming new headquarters after McCain Overnight Defense: Officials rush to deny writing anonymous op-ed | Lawmakers offer measure on naming NATO headquarters after McCain | US, India sign deal on sharing intel MORE (Wis.) and Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveRepublicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Poll: Republican Mia Love tied with Dem challenger in Utah House race 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 CurbeloDems see blue 'tsunami' in House as Senate path narrows GOP spokeswoman says Republicans will lose House seats in midterms Cook Political Report shifts 7 more races towards Dems 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.”