One of the Republican Party's main goals this election cycle has been on how to attract a more diverse group of people. Not only has the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign had this as a focus of their outreach efforts, but so has the GOP at the state and local level.
It's because of these outreach efforts that the Indiana Republican Party decided to launch their Diversity Leadership Series, which is a leadership training program and seminar rolled into one.
The idea is to recruit 20 diverse, conservative-minded Hoosier minorities to take part in the eight-month-long program, which begins at the beginning of December and ends next July. The class will meet once a month to cover a variety of topics, including authentic communications, diversity and civic engagement, multicultural messaging, as well as state and local policies.
The program focuses on major policies that the Trump administration has advocated for and achieved, like criminal justice reform, bolstering employment for minorities – which led to record-low unemployment numbers for blacks and Hispanics – and recognizing opportunity zones. On a more local level, the program emphasizes policies Gov. Eric Holcomb has advocated for, like reducing infant mortality, strengthening school choice, and lowering recidivism.
Throughout the series, elected officials from every level of government in Indiana will take part. Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, U.S. Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, and Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Brian Bosma are slated to participate. Members of the State Senate and House, as well as county commissioners, are also expected to play a role in the program.
Those who apply will build their personal network, meet with state leaders, and receive mentorship while developing additional avenues to become civically engaged in the Hoosier state.
At the end of the program, the class will travel to Washington, D.C. where participants will have a chance to meet and engage with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The goal is for the class to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana.
"I've had this idea for about four years but have spent the last two to two-and-a-half years meeting with blacks and Hispanics across the state, trying to get an idea about how they feel about the Indiana Republican Party," Chairman Kyle Hupfer told Townhall. "One of the real barriers we faced was having a high-degree of minority visibility on the forefront."
The series was developed, in part, so Hoosiers recognize that they have a place in the Republican Party, where they are traditionally told they don't belong.
"There's a real stigma, especially in the black community, for folks to stand up and say, 'I'm a Republican,'" Hupfer explained.
There has been a focus on recruiting voters in more urban areas, like Indianapolis, northwest Indiana, Fort Wayne, and the southwest suburbs of Louisville.
"We're trying to get advisors from all across the state so it's well-represented," the chairman said.
Having participants from every part of the state, of all races, genders, ages and backgrounds can be a game-changer for the party, on every level of government. It means they are more likely to talk to their friends, family and community about conservative policies and principles.
"We're hoping this will be a long-term effect," Hupfer said about the inaugural class. "They become multipliers for us in their own communities, talking about what they’ve seen and learned throughout the program."
Those who are interested in being part of the program can apply here.