Magazine Feature / People

Alum leads national committee, attends GOP convention

Presidential hopeful John McCain wasn’t the only star in St. Paul, Minn., during the Republican National Convention.

Charlie Smith (BSBA ’07), national chairman of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), attended his first GOP convention this past week and wasn’t just an attendee — he was invited to speak.

Because of compressed scheduling due to Hurricane Gustav, Smith’s scheduled Sept. 4 speech got cut that day.

Although he wasn’t a primetime speaker, Smith still rocks — at least CNN thinks so.

Smith recently was listed on CNN’s “Young People Who Rock,” a segment that recognizes people under 30 who do remarkable things. As chairman of the nation’s oldest youth political organization (CRNC was founded in 1892), Smith leads 250,000 College Republicans across the county.

Smith has been spearheading efforts for McCain and singing his praises on online videos and in media interviews. “He’s been an independent thinker and a political maverick for years,” he said in a CNN interview Sept. 4.

His speech intended to state the importance of young voters and explain McCain’s appeal: an active senator with a “tremendously inspiring story” and policy issues that often line up with a younger generation.

“I think Senator McCain is going to do a lot of the work for me in reaching out to the young vote,” Smith said. McCain’s ability to put country above his own self-interest makes him likeable and respectable, he said.

Smith has always had an interest in current events, but said Sept. 11 really “crystallized” the importance of politics for him. At DU, he became the president of the College Republicans chapter as well as a two-term state chairman of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans.

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