In Monroe County, the Grand Old Party, the Republican Party, appears to be getting younger. The Republican Party dates from before Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860; some 160 years ago. Although many believe the “old” is an adjective describing the members, it really describes the longevity of the political party. In recent years many are calling the GOP the Grand Opportunity Party.
In Monroe County, there is an air of youthfulness considering some Republican candidates and even some office holders. The youngest candidate is Brett Larkin, a Tomah High School Senior. He was on the Primary Ballot for Mayor of Tomah and placed a respectable third of four candidates. Larkin is now a registered write-in candidate for the Monroe County Board of Supervisors where there will be no candidate on the ballot in April. Larkin comes with the experience of working last summer for Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steinke (R-5th) in Madison, speaking on timely topics, and writing opinions and letters for print and social media. He has become active in the Republican Party of Monroe County.
Sparta’s Alderman Matthew Hoffland is a candidate for election after being appointed to the City Council less than a year ago. He earned his college degree on-line while working full time and is a well-respected sports official. He is active in his church and has been active in Republican grass roots activities for the past six years; and is currently on the Republican Party of Monroe County Executive Board. Hoffland was recognized as the 3rd Congressional District Republican Volunteer of the Year for 2018. Hoffland is 26.
Jason Church is the 30-year-old that lost the Republican Primary for the open 7th District Congressional District Representative. He is a UW-L graduate, a Veteran with combat action in Afghanistan, and has worked for over 5 years for US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Capitol Hill. Republican 3rd District Congressional Candidate Jessi Ebben will soon be 30, and has public relations experience in both the public and private sectors. She earned her degree at UW-Eau Claire and has relatives all over the District. If elected, she is projected to be the second youngest GOP woman ever elected to Congress and potentially will be the third youngest female member of Congress.
Even some of the Republican incumbents have a youthful image. State Senator Pat Testin (R-24th) who represents Sparta and Tomah and much of northern Monroe County is a youthful 31 years old. Sparta Mayor Kristen Gust and Monroe County DA Kevin Croninger are both in their mid-thirties and are both on the Republican Party of Monroe County Executive Board.
It appears that the Republican Party, often called the Grand Old Party, in Monroe County is getting younger and can certainly be considered the Grand Opportunity Party!