NRCC's Walden Says GOP Must Focus on Minority Outreach, Communication

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATED 5:00 p.m. | WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said one of his priorities this cycle will be reaching out to minorities, something he said Republicans have not done well.

The Oregon representative said he plans to make inroads into minority communities and said the party needs to figure out better ways to communicate its message there.

“We recognize that Republicans have good answers; we just have bad communications in many cases,” Walden said at a panel discussion during House Republicans' annual retreat. “We may not understand how what we say is interpreted by others. And we have to be sensitive and understand other issues that different communities face.”

The issue is particularly important after the 2012 elections, when President Barack Obama and Democrats overwhelmingly won the Hispanic vote.

“Obviously we’ve got to address this. We’ve got 50,000 young Hispanics reaching voter age every month. This is important to us. We think we have a better set of values and propositions to help them have a better life,” Walden said.

Walden appointed Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who is Hispanic, to be a vice chairwoman at the committee and said she will help with the outreach. He said Reps. Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin, both Native American members from Oklahoma, are leading an outreach effort to that minority group.

Meanwhile, the NRCC announced its vice-chairmen for the 2014 cycle:

  • Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will be vice chairman for digital
  • Georgia Rep. Tom Graves and Herrera Beutler will be vice chairs of the coalitions department
  • Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin will be a vice chairman focusing on communications and strategy
  • Georgia Rep. Tom Price will be vice chairman for policy
  • North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry will be vice chairman for recruitment
  • Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers will be vice chairman for finance
  • Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner and Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble will be vice chairmen for the Patriot Program, the NRCC's incumbent retention operation
Joshua Miller contributed to this report.