Smith aims to grow membership, engagement with Republican Women of Bossier

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Ali Smith recently became president of the Republican Women of Bossier. She’s come a long way since her first Republican Women’s meeting.

“I first got involved with the Republican Women of Shreveport, and I had not even registered to vote,” she said. “I was one of those who felt like my vote didn’t matter and I was just a number.”

She said that after that first meeting a friend of hers asked Smith to join the organization with her. That’s when Smith discovered that you had to be a registered Republican voter to join. And since she agreed with the Republican platform on social and fiscal matters, she saw no reason not to register and join.

Smith that shortly after joining in 2011, a quest speaker summed up the motivation that has kept Smith involved since those early days.

“She said that, with the way things were, she didn’t want to feel like her daughters and granddaughters would have to go through the same things,” Smith said. “She wanted a better future for them. As a mother now, that’s exactly what I want — a better future for my daughters and my family in general.”

When Smith’s family moved to Benton, she caught up with longtime friend Mary Margaret Ray, who recruited her to join the Republican Women of Bossier in 2013.

One of the things Smith said she sees within the organization that she wants to work on is a wide gap in the ages of the membership.

“Women my age are busy with young kids,” Smith said. “We’re going to soccer and dance, gymnastics and all that. So I think it’s hard to find the time for this. But I think it’s really important for people to realize how important it is not just to vote but to also get involved in the whole process.”

Smith got involved herself working with Rep. Mike Johnson’s campaign. She learned form that campaign that she enjoyed state-level politics. When she learned fellow church member Raymond Crews was running for state representative, she asked to work on his campaign as well. After his election, she stayed on and works in his Bossier City office.

As president of the RWB, Smith sees the key role of the organization to inform constituents on issues big and small — everything from candidates coming to town or the impact of a millage increase.

“We’re voting on this millage, that millage, what does that even mean?,” she said. “We’re voting on these constitutional amendments. What do those mean? How are we as a conservative Republican group supposed to feel about this?”

The RWB also provides candidates and other speakers a platform to speak. The club is also “rallying the troops” to get behind the Republican platform.

Smith said her plans for 2018 include growing membership by changing the perception that RWB is “just another meeting” by hosting more social events.

“People who are younger really just don’t get involved because they’re like, ‘Ugh, another meeting. I go to meetings all the time at work. I don’t want to go to meetings at nighttime, too.’ So we are doing more socials this year,” she said.

She also has plans to bring in more statewide speakers who would draw a larger audience. She also wants to unite with Republican Women’s organizations in Shreveport for events, allowing speakers and candidates to reach an even larger audience.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Republican Women of Bossier is invited to the organization’s social Jan. 11 at Flying Heart Brewing. More information is available at the group’s Facebook page. 

*Note: The Republican Women of Bossier organization meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday of each month (at 6:00pm) in the Clubhouse at the Golf Club at Stonebridge.

By Scott Anderson