Last night the Republican Club of Greater St Augustine held their annual meeting to install new officers for the coming two-years; but, this year, Historic City News learned that they made both news and history doing it.
A youthful Lee Owen came forward to win election as the next president of the local club that provides charitable and social support to members of the Republican Party. The group is sanctioned by the St Johns County Republican Executive Committee, an organizational affiliate of the Republican Party of Florida. In additional to the St Augustine club, there is an active club in Ponte Vedra Beach and northwest St Johns County as well as a Federated Republican Women’s club.
What is exciting about last night’s installation ceremonies, held at the St Augustine Shrine Club, Owen takes office three-months before his 23rd birthday; making him the youngest member to hold that office. He assumes the gavel from outgoing president, Frank Larizza, who said, “Lee brings new ideas, a fresh perspective, dedication to hard work, and a commitment to helping others.”
Owen said that he has been a lifetime resident of St Augustine, and is a proud descendent of its founders; the Ponce family. Owen traces his Menorcan ancestry back 9-generations in the St Augustine area, and he is an active member of the Menorcan Cultural Society.
Owen is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he majored in Political Science with a focus on American Government. While working at AD Davis Construction Corporation, Owen is preparing himself to take the LSAT in September 2014. He plans to attend law school in the next two years. “He is certainly bringing strong educational credentials to his new position,” said Pat Greenfield, club secretary.
While attending college in Gainesville, he assisted Representative Keith Perry’s office with legislative and district matters. He served in Representative Perry’s offices in Alachua and Dixie Counties. His duties included constituent services, case work, bill tracking, legislative updates and scheduling for Representative Perry.
Owen told Historic City News that he doesn’t plan to let any grass grow under his feet in the new position. He wants to engage and involve younger members of the community in the political process. Education and outreach programs are planned that will complement the club’s existing scholarship essay contest; where young writers complete for a cash scholarship by addressing themes of community and civic concern. The new president wants to expand the program, currently offered only to high school students, to also include college students.
Owen has been an active member of Young Republicans; where their president, Jaime Parham, told local reporters, “Lee is a goal oriented person who functions well in challenging and competitive environments.” Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, who is a voting member of the Republican Executive Committee and has known Owen for more than five-years, said, “Lee doesn’t just talk-the-talk”. We verified today that he has voted, and voted early, in every election since he registered in 2009.
The Republican Club meets the second Monday of each month at the St. Augustine Shrine Club and is open to all registered Republicans. Each month a guest speaker is featured and there is no charge for attending.