Indiana Republicans launch program to increase diversity

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Republican Party is taking steps to add diversity.  

The party recently announced the launch of the Indiana Republican Diversity Leadership Series

“It’s hard if you are black in Indiana and you don’t see many people that look like you in the political party, it’s hard to really relate,” said Kyle Hupfer, Indiana’s Republican Party chairman. 

Hupfer added that the GOP wants to provide an opportunity for underrepresented groups who are interested in learning more about the party and potentially serve in positions. 

The series is a training program that will increase the engagement of minority Republican leaders in Indiana. It will consist of monthly classes that cover topics such as civic engagement, campaign management, communication, and state government. The classes are set up to be two-way communication between participants and elected officials from across the state and country. 

“It’s time for action at this point,” said Hupfer. “I think this is a real tangible step we are taking that is visible that shows that what we have been saying for a long period of time. We’re now going to put effort, dollars, and time behind this.” 

WANE 15 asked Hupfer if this prompted because of the recent Black Lives Matter movement. He responded that the party has been working on this series for the past two years.  

Only 20 applicants will be selected, and will have to meet certain requirements. 

Participants responsibilities include, but not limited to:  

  • Attendance and active participation during all IRDLS class sessions 
  • Timely submission of $500 Program Tuition  
  • Two-letter of recommendations and a resume  

Allen County’s Democratic Party chair told WANE 15 that she sees the effort but questions the financial responsibility. 

“I don’t necessarily know that having a $500 price tag on that participation is going to be beneficial to these underrepresented groups,” said Misti Meehan. “That’s a lot of money to participate in a program trying to get your voice heard by the very party which represents you.” 

Meehan added that she has taken part in programs similar to the Diversity Leadership Series and never had a sever financial requirement. 

“I never had a requirement to sell an entire table at my graduation luncheon, so is this trying to include underrepresented populations or is this a fundraiser,” asked Meehan. 

Congressman Jim Banks’ District Director, Tinsha Weigelt said that the $500 fee gives participants the opportunity to put their practice of what they are trying to achieve into action.  

“One of the things, when you run for office or help with campaigns, is fundraising,” said Weigelt. “It’s a chance and opportunity for you to go to donors, go to organizations, and ask them to invest in you.” 

The deadline to apply is September 1, 2020. To view the application, click here.

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