The Alaska Republican Party convention wrapped up in Fairbanks on Sunday after drawing nearly 400 people to the Golden Heart City. Attendees spent hours in committee meetings, debating party rules, principles, and the political future.


“It’s painful, it’s arduous, it’s time consuming, at times it’s frustrating,” said Bruce Schulte, an Anchorage district chairman. “But it’s essential.”


It’s a process political parties have used for nearly two centuries. In the modern era, conventions start at the district level. Across Alaska, communities select delegates to represent their region at the state convention. Together, they work on a series of resolutions for the party that they bring before the entire group for approval.


“At the end of the day, nobody walks out of here having gotten everything they hoped for,” said Schulte. “But we all know that we’ve had at least some small input into the conduct of the state, our community, and of the country. And that’s what American citizenry is all about. Some people die for that right, and we just have to choose to exercise it.”


Trevor Shaw echoed that sentiment.


“We’re a representative democracy; it’s not a direct democracy,” he said.


At just 20-years old, millennials like him are minorities in the process, but he says that’s changing.


“It’s just making them feel like they can be involved and have a positive impact in the process. And they can. We just have to project that a little bit better,” said Shaw, who joined the Republican party two years ago. “I couldn’t wait. It’s the first thing I did on my 18th birthday.”


Shaw was quickly elected to the local school board for his district, which includes Ketchikan and Wrangell.


“Politics is a huge part of my life,” he said.


On Thursday, the Republican party decided to allow Marco Rubio to keep the five delegates he won in Alaska earlier this year. Shaw will be one of them.


The handful from Alaska could play a key role in deciding the next presidential candidate if Donald Trump doesn’t reach the necessary number of delegates to become the party nominee at the Republican national convention in Cleveland in July.


Shaw will be bound to Rubio for the first two rounds of votes. After that, he can vote for the candidate of his choice.


The young Republican says he doesn’t see himself supporting Trump.


The convention in Cleveland takes place July 18 through 21.


At the state convention, Alaska Republicans also chose a new chairman. Tuckerman Babcock replaced Peter Goldberg, who’s held the position since 2013.


KTVA 11's Liz Raines can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.


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