CLERMONT, FL (WCMH) — Breann Bates is a 19-year-old college freshman and member of Turning Point USA, a nonprofit that trains and organizes conservative activists on high school and college campuses.
Bates and her fellow Turning Point members spoke with NBC News and TODAY about being a young Republican today.
“Family, faith, and freedom are kind of the key words that people always think of, but it’s definitely something that really represents that’s important to me,” she said, adding that she turns to her faith first when thinking about politics.
Bates said she has made some of her best friends through the Turning Point organization, adding that is important to her to represent women in the Republican party.
Turning Point has made headlines for protests against “safe spaces” and for controversial initiatives like its Professor Watchlist, which keeps tabs on educators who “advance leftist propaganda.”
Bates says she voted for President Donald Trump, but is still critical of him. Bates told NBC News she supported Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz during the primaries
“I think that it’s important to stay critical and not just be a fan of any politician—to hold him accountable,” she said.
Bates says that in this divided time, she is hopeful people like her will be able to communicate across the aisle.
“I want to sit down and have a calm, cool and collected conversation,” she said to NBC, “and figure out why people believe what they believe and where that comes from.”
In a study by the Center for Generational Kinetics, a millennial and Gen Z-focused consulting group, only 26 percent of Gen Z respondents said they trusted elected officials.