The last time Los Angeles County voters favored the Republican party, the Olympics were in town and the first Beverly Hills Cop movie had just hit theaters.
Fast-forward 33 years, and the county is now blue, despite a Republican president being in the White House.
Most of the policies that President Donald Trump has implemented since he took office have been highly criticized by citizens and the media.
However, for Eileen Clary, legislative chairman for the Long Beach Republican Women Federated organization, Trump’s recent responses to North Korea, and his actions as commander-in-chief, are just what the Republican party needed to mobilize.
“I think he is doing an excellent job talking up to North Korea,” she said. “He’s bringing the Republican party in sync so they are obligated to start moving ahead and doing things. It’s not the party of ‘no’ anymore. It’s the party of ‘move ahead’ and ‘let’s get business accomplished.’”
In that spirit of getting things done, the Long Beach Republican Women Federated (LBRWF) celebrated the grand opening of its first official headquarters on Thursday, Sept. 21.
The headquarters, located in Suite 210 at 4195 Viking Way, serves as a central hub for members and volunteers as the LBRWF works to help elect Republicans running for office in Long Beach.
The LBRWF invited California State Sen. Janet Nguyen, Long Beach Councilmember Stacy Mungo, Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud and Long Beach City College Trustees Virginia Baxter and Jeff Kellogg as guest speakers for the ceremony.
“It’s a great honor for me to be here,” Nguyen said.
The state senator asked for support for herself and Mungo going into the next elections. She told those in attendance that she did not want to see a “2016 California.”
“Next year is going to be extremely busy and very difficult,” she said. “We don’t know what the landscape is going to be like.”
Nguyen’s comments about difficult times ahead for Republican representatives is backed by the fact that California has not voted in the party’s favor since 1988 during the Michael Dukakis–George H.W. Bush presidential race.
The last time Republicans had a foothold in Southern California was in 1984, according to the California Secretary of State’s Elections Research Center.
Despite previous election outcomes, the headquarters is the LBRWF’s answer to help get Long Beach Republicans into positions of power. Any representative of the Grand Old Party can visit the headquarters and receive campaigning help in Long Beach.
Part of a political campaign is to remind constituents of their representatives.
“Right here in my hand are people who live in the neighborhood that would love to get involved in our upcoming campaign kick-off,” Mungo said, as she referenced a stack of papers she was carrying. “Tomorrow, when you guys start your shifts, I’ve got call lists for you.”
Previously, the group would gather at the Long Beach Marriot hotel and conduct monthly meetings, or they would meet at different members’ houses.
“My idea was to totally facelift the organization, move it to the Long Beach Marriot and totally change everything around,” Susan Blair, ex-president of the LBRWF, said. “We then started to reach out to the community and let people know that we existed.”
The organization began hosting events, such as a presidential debate-watching party, to get community members to recognize the LBRWF. The organization also contributes to public institutions such as libraries and Long Beach City College.
The LBRWF is a subdivision of the California Federation of Republican Women– Southern Division, which has a total of over 85 clubs.
These groups are all under the umbrella of the National Federation of Republican Women, which was founded in 1938. It is the “largest all-women political organization in the world with thousands of active members in local clubs across the nation,” according to the LBRWF website.
The Long Beach organization is just a “cog in the machine,” according to Blair. The main headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia.
The LBRWF has recently increased to over 200 people.
“They just come,” Blair said. “It’s not like we hold an event once a year; every month, they come. Anybody that is running comes here, whether it’s a judge or somebody running for governor, they’ll come by.”
Blair, who was born in Long Beach, said the main problem Republicans face in the area is that they are outnumbered. Her organization helps Republicans get an edge over representatives from other parties during political campaigns.
Election day for the city council in Long Beach will take place on April 10, 2018. Organizations such the LBRWF will work the next several months leading up to the election to help their representatives get into office.
“We’re going to start making calls for some of the candidates,” Blair said. “They have events coming up so we have to get people there.”