First Posted: 8:04 am - August 6th, 2015
By Stephanie Carson - Ohio News Connection
CLEVELAND – Ohio is Ground Zero today for the 2016 presidential campaign as Republican candidates for president square off in the campaign season’s first debate.
With a full spectrum of GOP contenders with various priorities, Young Republicans are reminding candidates to pay attention to issues important to them. Michele Combs, founder and chair of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, says one of those issues is the environment and renewable energy.
“We think it is an American issue, it’s a patriotic issue, it’s a conservative issue to use our homegrown resources,” she says. “We’d like to see more renewables, solar, wind, so we’d like the Republican Party to embrace more of that.”
Tonight the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, Young Conservatives for Energy Reform and the Christian Coalition of America will host a GOP primary debate watch party in Cleveland to see which presidential candidates will earn the support of Republican voters concerned about clean energy and other key conservative issues.
The debate gets underway tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
According to the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of millennials are Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party, and 34 percent support the GOP. Some experts suggest the Republican Party could see more support from younger voters if they include the protection of the environment in their discussion.
Combs says while the parties may disagree on how to best implement energy reform, protecting the environment is something that appeals to both sides.
“The whole issue, the main issue, they do agree on that,” she says. “Especially among the young people, they get it, they understand it.”
Tonight’s debate is scheduled to run two hours, with three Fox News hosts asking questions of candidates. Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich will appear in the debate. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry will be among those left out of the mix.