After the 2012 election, Republicans knew we had to get to work growing our party. The election exposed trends showing we must reach more voters. So the Republican National Committee (RNC) launched the Growth and Opportunity Project in December to get input from across the country. What could the party do better? How could we better communicate our message where it's not being heard?
On Thursday, the Growth and Opportunity Project came to Atlanta. We gathered with local African American leaders and political activists to solicit answers to those questions and more. The feedback we received -- along with information gathered from similar meetings and thousands of individuals -- will help guide the Republican Party as we work to be more welcoming and more inclusive.
Republicans want to be a party for every American in every neighborhood in every state. That's why we must end the practice of labeling states red and blue. That's why we must build relationships in communities where we haven't been. That's why we must stop talking about "reaching out" and start working on "welcoming in."
We need to get to know voters where they live and work and worship. We need to build our presence in minority communities and urban centers--not just in election years, but in ever year.
This is not just about winning elections. It's about doing what's right for America. Republicans know our principles, when applied through smart policy, can do the most good for the most Americans.
Republicans stand for individual liberty and equal opportunity. Government should not stand in the way of your ability to achieve the American Dream. But that's what happening today. Misguided liberal policies crush the economy with a larger bureaucracy, limiting job opportunities and restricting families' choices. Unlike Democrats, Republicans recognize that if government is not limited, opportunity will be.
Liberal Democrats' solution to any societal ill is a government bureaucracy -- fueled by more of your tax dollars. But in the modern age, old-style bloated government is as outdated as it is misguided. When Americans put bureaucrats in control of more of our lives, opportunity becomes less accessible.
Republicans believe the economy should be grown by the innovation of enterprising Americans -- not kept afloat by the meddling of big government. In education, we believe parents and teachers should mold a child's future -- not union bosses and government workers. Families, not government, should decide what healthcare and energy is best for them.
But what good are these principles if we cannot demonstrate to voters -- in their respective communities -- how we can take them to a better future? The Republican Party must do a better job of explaining our values.
We want to be a party for everybody, but that requires earning the trust of voters who have left the party and of those who have yet to support us. We have work to do. No voter should be taken for granted, and no voter should be dismissed.
This month, America celebrates Black History Month. As Republicans, we're especially mindful of African Americans' significant impact on the GOP since the party's very beginning. And as we begin the work of writing the party's next chapter, we look forward to building a stronger future together.
Ashley Bell, a former Hall County, Ga., public official, is an organizer of the Growth and Opportunity Project. Rance Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.