Young Carroll Republican's goal is to be involved Sauerbrey speaks to club that was founded by teen at Westminster High


Carroll County's position as a Republican stronghold in an overwhelmingly Democratic state is secure if Adam Grant Forrester sticks around.

The 16-year-old Westminster High School sophomore, and founder of a Young Republicans club at his school, managed to snag former Republican state gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey to speak at Friday's club meeting.

Carroll Republicans, State Sen. Nancy R. Stocksdale and Del. Joseph M. Getty, also showed up, as did W. David Blair, chairman of the county's Republican state central committee.

"Adam is a really dynamic young man," said Sauerbrey, who lost a close race for governor to Parris N. Glendening in 1994.

She said Adam asked her to speak at his club at a recent Lincoln Day dinner in Carroll. Republican clubs throughout Maryland hold such dinners.

"If you can get young people turned on to the Republican philosophy I'm convinced they'll be Republicans for life," Sauerbrey said.

Adam said he decided to get involved in the Republican Party after Sauerbrey challenged the results of the 1994 election, claiming that voter irregularities made it invalid.

"I decided it wasn't right and that I could possibly do something about it," he said.

Adam -- whose business cards describe him as a political activist -- has campaigned for former Republican presidential candidate Phil Gramm, attended two state Republican conventions and last month formed a chapter of the Young Republicans at Westminster High. He hopes to work with other student Republicans to set up similar clubs next year in all county high schools.

Adam said he developed his viewpoint from watching his parents run their business, Cranberry Graphics in Westminster.

"I think growing up and seeing my family trying to make it has given me very conservative views," said Adam, who works after school at the family business.

"We need to give the power back to the states and to the people," he said. "I think the government has gotten too big and too intrusive and we need to encourage businesses and investment."

Adam's father, Ron Forrester, said he's proud of his son's political involvement.

"He seems to be pretty serious; it's not just lip service or a superficial thing," he said.

Wearing a Bob Dole '96 campaign button, a nervous Adam greeted Sauerbrey in the lobby of Westminster High last week.

But he regained his composure to introduce her to the crowd of about 25, which included club members and his parents.

"In these days of big government we need someone who can fight it and see through the liberals' lies," Adam said, describing Sauerbrey as his "role model."

Sauerbrey told club members how a visit in the early '60s to her husband's family in the former East and West Germany opened her eyes politically.

"What I saw was a government that had taken away people's freedom to make decisions for themselves," she said.

Sauerbrey explained to students that the Republican Party supports lower taxes and advocates a limited government role in welfare, health care and business regulation.

"There are more and more people looking to government to do for them what they should do for themselves," she said.

One student challenged Sauerbrey on the Republican Party's position toward homosexuals and same-sex marriages.

"Would you veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriages?" asked the student, who is not a member of the club.

Sauerbrey said she wasn't aware of any legal precedent for same sex marriages.

"People have a right to the lifestyle they want, but I don't believe we need to change all of society's values," she said. "I have to say, I don't think this is one of the burning issues of our society."

Though he's passionate about politics, Adam has other interests, including languages and drama. He said he's considering a career in international law or business, but hasn't ruled out politics.

"I don't want to grow up with the intention of running for an office," he said. "My overall goal is to be involved; I want to know what's going on, know the issues and the candidates."

Pub Date: 5/13/96

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