COLUMBUS He's barely old enough to vote, but the new chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party doesn't consider his age a liability.
To the contrary, 19-year-old Jacob LaTurner thinks he's the right Republican for the job of rebuilding an organization he describes as "nonexistent for the past couple of years."
LaTurner is a freshman at Pittsburg State University, majoring in political science. He said his youth would be a benefit in the position.
"I think young people should get more involved," he said, adding that many issues in local, county, state and national politics affect young people. "I think a young person's point of view is necessary. Young people's opinions should be valued."
LaTurner, of Scammon, was chosen as chairman during a meeting he arranged last week at the courthouse in the southeast Kansas county. He said the state Republican Party had asked if he would set up the meeting.
"I was interested in it," LaTurner said of the chairmanship. "I had an idea that would happen, and I welcomed it."
He said his goals as chairman are filling vacant party committee positions, raising money and recruiting good candidates to run for office. LaTurner said only 18 of the 78 committee positions are filled.
Democrats once had a stranglehold on Cherokee County politics, but all three current county commissioners are Republicans.
"It's not the Cherokee County it used to be," LaTurner said. "This is really a good time for Republicans."
LaTurner is the son of former Galena city commissioner Mark LaTurner and grandson of former county magistrate judge Joe LaTurner, who was a strong Democrat.