Rapp, a Galax native, is in the midst of a grassroots campaign to earn the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States. To that end, Rapp is visiting younger voters on college campuses to create a groundswell of support.
“It seems like the college students who are most actively thinking about their careers and how they’re going to get jobs or start businesses in their future are the ones obsessing over these type choices every day,” Rapp said while visiting Galax at the head of the New River Trail. “It’s common for unemployed people to think about how they’ll find a job but I remember when I was a college student, I was always thinking what will the future hold and how will I be successful in it. I think they’re the population that makes the most sense for me to get a base of support.”
Rapp grew up in Galax before attending the University of Virginia. After graduating from UVa in 1995, he spent time in England, Minnesota, Chicago and California. Rapp attended the Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. earlier this year and that’s when he decided he would launch a bid for the highest office in the land.
Rapp said he believes the problems the country is facing today have their origins at the federal level, which is why he’s turning his attention there. He said that’s where he can best cause positive change.
“I feel the federal government is the source of the problem right now,” Rapp said. “The presidential office and the U.S. Congress seem to be too strong compared to state level government and most significant to me, at the local level. I have experience in local government in a suburb of Chicago and I’ve been paying attention as a property taxpayer in Minnesota in how strained local governments are right now. I’m jumping to the presidency because this year in particular, people are very upset with that layer of government. I want to attack the problems in society where the problems are occurring and in my opinion, that’s at the federal layer.”
A fiscal conservative and an advocate for smaller government, Rapp is a registered Republican in California. He said he also wants to bring a new look to the Grand Old Party.
“I knew I was for limited government but I wondered why I was a bit ashamed to say I was a Republican. When I thought deeply about it, I think the Republican party reflects a lot of values that people in my generation and younger don’t want to hang on their own personal profile,” Rapp said. “For example, Republicans overall are the conservative party because they’re conservative, fiscally, but they’re also conservative, socially. It’s OK to be conservative, but sometimes social conservatism ends up being a judgmental face that a lot of young people today don’t appreciate. I want to be a part of this new face of Republicanism that is more open to diverse opinions and diverse spiritualities. I think the only way local economies can thrive is if they’re diverse and open-minded to people that aren’t exactly like they are.”
Rapp said he plans on visiting campuses for most of this month and hopes to garner enough support in that manner.
“My goal is to have a groundswell of Internet support and early media exposure by Thanksgiving,” Rapp said. “From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I’ll have to work hard to make sure I’m on some of the early primary ballots. I have an easy to remember name but I don’t want to rely on being a write-in candidate.”
Rapp said his message has been positively received. He said his past experiences have opened his eyes to what gets people talking, and he’s hopeful that word of mouth and social media can land him in the Oval Office.
“I’ve been in California helping early Internet companies get started so I know a lot about what it takes to get on the street and get people interested in your product. It’s much easier to sell me as a problem solver for the government than it is for me to get somebody to use a website,” Rapp said.
For more on Rapp’s presidential bid, visit lanerapp.com or rapp2012.com.