T.W. Shannon Oklahoma House Speaker
In a fresh effort to present a more diverse tableau to the American voter, the Republican National Committee is rolling out a "Rising Stars" initiative this week in Boston, the site of the party's summer meeting.
The aim of the program, a party official said, is to leverage the party's resources and national media connections to highlight Republican candidates, elected officials, writers and activists who rarely surface in the national political conversation.
The RNC will put its institutional muscle behind the new bench of Republican voices -- many of them women, minorities and young people -- by booking them on television and radio as surrogates for the party.
The program begins Thursday with a panel discussion featuring RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the first four Republicans spotlighted as rising stars: T.W. Shannon, Oklahoma's first African-American Speaker of the House; New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia; conservative writer Scott Erickson; and Karin Agness, the founder of a group for conservative college women.
"If you've met these impressive individuals, you've met the future of our party," Priebus said in a statement.
"Rising Stars is about spotlighting some of the incredible talent in our party -- from activists and authors to candidates and elected officials. Karin, Scott, Marilinda, and T.W. are already making names for themselves, and we're excited to share their stories and accomplishments with the rest of the party and the country."