Leah LeVell is no stranger to politics. At 21, Levell is the newest member of the Strategic Initiatives team of the Republican National Committee. In her new role, LeVell is expected to help to craft a message for the RNC that will focus on engaging HBCUs and young Black voters this election cycle. LeVell is also a member of the advisory board of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump (NDC Trump), where her father Bruce LeVell serves as Executive Director.
Bruce LeVell made his fortune in the jewelry business and is considered to be a close confidante of Donald Trump as the former chair of the Gwinnett County GOP in Georgia. It was a natural fit to have his daughter “stump for Trump” as they, and others, take on the monumental task of proving Trump is concerned with issues facing African-Americans.
How did you get involved with the Republican Party?
LeVell: I first got involved with the Republican Party because of my father’s various leadership positions in the Georgia GOP. I grew up being able so see his passion for wanting to make a difference and stand up for those who don’t have a voice in our community.
As I matured, I examined my personal values and the differences between the two political parties for myself. I realized that I too, identified with the Republican Party, and wanted to be actively involved. Watching my father gave me the inspiration to want to stay engaged and end up working for the Republican National Committee.
What issues, facing Americans today, are most important to you and why:
LeVell: One of the main reasons why I am proud to support Donald Trump is because of his positions on the issues I most care about, which are job creation, criminal justice reform, and national security. There is no doubt that many Americans are having a hard time making ends meet because of our current economic system.
In order to Make America Great Again, we have to do more to help our job creators, our small business owners, entrepreneurs, and innovators. As a college student, I often worry about what employment opportunities will be there for my peers and me after we graduate. We go to college; many take out loans with an expectation that there will be good paying jobs for us. In many instances, people feel like they are at a disadvantage to achieving the American Dream because of our Criminal Justice system that is in desperate need of reform. Many right-leaning organizations are leading this fight for justice in a bipartisan fashion from the grassroots to Capitol Hill.
Lastly, the fear of another terrorist attack is on the hearts and minds of many Americans. The legitimate threat from ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorists organizations on our homeland reminds me that national security has to remain on the forefront of every local, state and national conversation regarding the future leadership of our country. We can’t compromise on our security.
Media reports mixed support for the Republican nominee. Do you feel the candidate’s positions reflect the Party’s values?
LeVell: There is mixed support for Donald Trump inside the GOP establishment as they start to get to know him and his positions. Hopefully by the end of the GOP Convention all Republicans will unite behind our nominee who beat 16 other candidates so we can have a fighting chance to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
I feel Donald Trump absolutely reflects the Republican Party’s values. The proof is in the millions of Republicans that voted for him all across the country. To me, the Republican Party is all about less government intrusion in our everyday lives, supporting a strong free enterprise system, individual freedoms. These are all things I know Mr. Trump supports.
What is the biggest misconception of a “black republican”?
LeVell: The biggest misconception of a “black republican” is that we are not involved or care about the black community. Just because we have an R next to our name does not mean we do not want the very best for our community, we just have different views on how we do it. Somehow if you are a Republican that happens to be black you are instantly labeled a “sellout.” If you read the backgrounds of many Black Republican leaders you might be surprised to know how connected they really are and how their experiences growing up Black help shape their conservative viewpoints today.
I am proud to be a young black woman and equally as proud to be a Republican. I am humbled to have the opportunity to work for the Republican National Committee during a Presidential election year. The greater reward is working on initiatives and action items for my community. The black community is better served when there are advocates for us, like any other group, working both sides of the aisle for our interests.
In 2016, I hope I am judged by the content of my character and less about my political affiliation. In the end, I am following my passion, trying to help advance my party while making more inroads to my community. This could only happen in the greatest country in the world, that is why I want to make America Great again for everyone, especially those in my community.