University of California, Riverside
Strategic Initiatives Director, Colorado, Republican National Committee
Paulo Sibaja is the strategic initiatives director, Colorado, for the Republican National Committee (RNC), and he also serves as chairman of Latino NRC, Colorado. Prior to his current position, he was the director of coalitions for the Leadership Institute. Sibaja was deputy coalitions director in Colorado for Mitt Romney for President and state director of Hispanic outreach, New Mexico, for the RNC. He also worked as legislative director for Assemblyman Brian Nestande of Palm Desert, Calif. He has been published in the Orange County Register, cited by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, and has appeared multiple times on TV and radio stations.
Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or another capacity?
We must go into all communities, and we must lead or be led; but first of all, we must listen. We will not be heard unless we have a context. That only comes from listening. It starts at home and continues in our community, in our states, and beyond. Find your passion, discover your skills, and put them to use to advance the cause. Society is made up of individuals, and we must never forget that each person is unique. If we abdicate our responsibility, we lose our right to complain.
What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of-center message resonate with the Millennial generation?
We are motivated by positivity! A right-of-center message should, as Reagan so famously did, inspire people. However, it should also be [crafted] to relate to everyday Americans. Sure, we should audit the Fed. Sure, we should cut down the debt. Sure, we should repeal bad regulations, but what does that mean for the unemployed college student or the single mom?
Elected officials and others in positions of power should follow one simple rule: Politics is of the heart as well as of the mind; people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Terms like “discretionary spending,” “Federal Reserve,” “NSA,” and “sequester” don’t scream, “I care.” Rather, they scream, “I am out of touch.” Let’s first forge strong, long-lasting relationships before we get trapped in the minutiae of policy.
Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?
We must not throw up our hands and say that a community is too far gone to the other side, or that community doesn’t get it, or that they will vote against us. No, I refuse to believe that is the case. Why? Because on policy, more people of all stripes agree with conservatives. We simply do a poor job showing and proving that we care.
Conservatism in 10 years, I believe will — as MLK said in his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” — get to the Promised Land. The way we get there is through the streets of California, the mountains of the West, the deserts of the Southwest, the plains of Texas and the Midwest, the rivers and rolling hills of the South, the cities of the North, and most importantly the hearts and minds of all Americans.