CONNEAUT, Ohio — Two elected Republicans in Ashtabula County said as young members of the party, they are focused more on local politics than national issues.
"Our county has voted a little more Republican every single year,” said Casey Kozlowski, a county commissioner.
"So, if you were to ask me about 10 years ago, I would have said ‘what Republicans,’” said county auditor David Thomas about the political makeup of the northeasternmost county in the state.
After two elections of voting for former President Barack Obama, in 2016 voters switched and voted for President Donald Trump.
"So I think we've been seeing especially, you know from 2000 on, some of that shift as jobs are leaving, (voters) are questioning what policies are being passed on a national level that's helping us,” Thomas said about the flip from one party to the other.
Thomas is 27-years-old and Kozlowski is in his early thirties. As young voters and young elected officials, they are happy with the party.
"As a young person. I'm proud to be a Republican. I'm proud to be active in the party and proud to stand behind many of the core convictions that we as Republicans, certainly believe in," Kozlowski said.
But, Thomas said he knows what Republicans want in Ohio may not be the same thing as other states.
“We're all Republicans,” he said. “And we all have some of those shared values but, you know, do I wish that we had a little more differences in some of our platforms, absolutely.“
Kozlowski said when he talks to voters his age, he talks about jobs.
"I would say that in the Rust Belt the economy is probably one of the top issues,” he said. “Because, you know, they've been hit hard lost a lot of industry, a lot of jobs over the years."
Both point to the USMCA trade deal signed by President Trump as a positive for the county. Thomas said, despite the rhetoric coming from the White House, Thomas is happy with the Republican Party platform.
"I'm worried about not now, but I'm worried about 10, 20, 30 years from now, and what's our county going to look like,” he said.
During the Republican National Convention this week, both men think local leaders will be front and center.
“Specifically about many of the policies that have been active over the last four years that have helped many of our communities, make positive strides,” Kozlowski said.