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    LB Young Republicans Launch New Local Chapter, Plan To Build Political Voice For Long Term

    (Sept. 1, 2005) -- Seeking to build an effective, influential voice for local young Republicans for the long-term, a number of LB GOP activists have formed a new Long Beach Chapter of Young Republicans...and have scheduled a kick-off launch party/mixer for all prospective members (ages 18-40) today (Sept. 1) from 6-8 p.m. at Smooths Sports Grille, 144 Pine Ave. in downtown LB.

    "For years, the strongest presence has been the Long Beach Young Democrats...They're very organized, they do good work, they register and they get people out there...I have found that so many people that are Republicans that are interested but there was nothing to bring everybody together, so that was the impetus," co-founder Robert Garcia told

    And Mr. Garcia added. "It's going to be huge. I honestly believe that within a year or two, this is going to be the most influential Republican organization in the city."

    Organizers have issued a written release saying the new group will "provide members with an opportunity to establish contacts and foster relationships with their peers, the political decision-makers of today and the future, and members of the Long Beach business, civic, and government community."

    The group's founding members [we identify them as indicated in their release] include Milton Arcos (Chapman Law student/former Pres. CSULB Law Society); Robert Garcia (former Communications Director Nixon Presidential Library, CA Chair 2000 Students for Bush/Cheney); Noel Hacegaba (political strategist/commentator); Lisa Herbst (Svorinich & Associates), Michael Johnson (former CSULB student body president); and Marisa Perez (former advisor to President George W. Bush).

    Some names are recognizable from their "day jobs" or political work. Mr. Garcia is an aide in Councilman Frank Colonna's office. Mr. Hacegaba is media spokesman for City Prosecutor Tom Reeves. Ms. Perez is Executive Asst. to LBCC President Jan Kehoe. Ms. Herbst helped run the Kuykendall for Assembly campaign.

    [The group's release came via private email, not from any gov't/public office.]

    "The interest level for our club is huge. We are prepared to take an active and strong stand in the interest of Young Republicans in Long Beach," said Mr. Garcia in the release.

    The LB Young Republicans stated mission is "to recruit, educate and engage like-minded individuals who live, work or study in Long Beach; who demonstrate a strong connection to Long Beach, a passion for politics and a sincere interest in the future of the community by explaining and promoting the core principles of the Republican Party." The group recently received its charter (a long process) from the L.A. County GOP HQ.

    So is the group related to any particular candidate(s) in the 2006 LB elections? No, said Mr. Garcia (a Colonna for Mayor supporter), who stressed:

    Because we're a new organization, we're not going to get extremely active per se for candidates in this 2006 race...We're all on different pages, but our focus is going to be registration, get out the vote and those types of things.

    Now beyond 2006, it's going to be up to club. But our goal is...we're in a building phase.

    We're welcome to everybody...The club is very open. It's not a club where everyone's conservative or very liberal. If you want to affiliate that way, it's a great place to network, to meet people.

    Mr. Garcia said the group has deliberately NOT invited elected officials or candidates to today's launch party. "It's about starting the club," Mr. Garcia said. He said the group's focus now is on bringing people into the group who want to become active. In the future, the club would likely be a venue for candidates, he added.

    We asked if the new group was simply resuscitating some previous Republican group. "No, this is an entirely new group," Mr. Garcia said. "None of us [co-founders] in the steering committee, executive committee of the group, are involved with any other Republican organization," he said, while adding "we're definitely going to work with existing groups in the future."

    Organizers say in an emailed release that they "plan on educating members on public policy issues, current legislation and the workings of the political process. In the future, the group will expand to grassroots politics, including registering voters, walking precincts, and getting out the vote on Election Day. A written release says members of the founding committee "see great potential in bringing people together from diverse backgrounds behind the principles of the Republican Party and the desire to put them into action in Long Beach."

    Ms. Herbst said in the release, "Voter education is an important piece of our political process. We wanted to create an energetic organization that would bring Young Republicans together socially but also educate them about important issues we're facing today."

    Mr. Hacegaba said, "I am hopeful and optimistic that the passion and energy behind this club will get many more young people interested and engaged in the political process and in the civic issues that affect our great city."

    Mr. Garcia added to us, "This organization is going to be very well organized. The people behind it are very well organized, and we're here to stay."

    Long Beach Young Republicans Kick-Off Mixer
    Sept. 1, 2005, 6-8 p.m.
    Smooths Sports Grille, 144 Pine Ave., downtown LB

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