Teenagers form their own Republican club here

Dec. 26, 2012 @ 11:30 PM

Republican Party Chairman Sonny Coane has announced the formation of the Sevier County Teen Age Republican organization.

“We are excited about the first TARS chapter to be chartered in Sevier County,” said Coane.

He was contacted by Davy Thomas last September indicating that his two daughters, Makenzie and Madison, along with some other students, were interested in helping with the presidential campaign. Coane suggested the formation of a teen Republican chapter would be an excellent way for them to become involved in the political process on an ongoing basis.

“That idea has now become a reality and the group is up and running,” Coane said.

Elected chairwoman of the organization by her peers, Makenzie, a student at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, said the teens became engaged with politics during the course of the presidential campaign of 2012 and were looking for an organization that welcomed their participation and interest.

“We want to reach out to teens in the area, especially those who are politically undecided, to share our values, and encourage students who are interested in politics as a career,” she said. “We’re focused on service and information.”

The Sevier County TARS has received a charter from the Tennessee Republican Party recognizing it as the official teen Republican organization in the county.

The executive board of the teen organization consists of students from Sevier County and Gatlinburg-Pittman high schools.

“We want to expand, though,” said Callie Deanda, who serves as the board’s recording secretary, “and hope to have students from Pigeon Forge High School and Seymour become active.”

Among the service projects the Sevier County TARS will take on is a card program for the community and families of Newtown, Conn., site of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Another project is to send cards to the military on duty in Afghanistan during the holiday season.

The TARS students are planning to help with a food service ministry coordinated by the Gatlinburg First United Methodist Church, and to volunteer at the Sevier County Food Ministry.

The TARS students are also interested in learning from established political figures in the region. At their next meeting in January, the teens will host Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Warner. The students will be seeking information on how to become political candidates, to run a campaign, and the responsibilities involved in serving while in elected office.