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For One Young Delegate, Social Issues Are Not A Litmus Test

Alexander Reber may not be the youngest delegate at the Republican convention — that honor goes to his fellow Virginia delegate, 17-year-old high school senior Evan Draim.

But Reber, 21, who is an alternate, is certainly doing his part to lower the average age in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention opened Tuesday.

We asked Reber, a University of Virginia senior and head of the school's student legislature, how he came to be such a committed Republican. He had a ready answer: "Bob McDonnell."

Reber said that when he first saw McDonnell, Virginia's governor since 2010, he "focused on higher education, transportation, infrastructure — all the issues I care about."

He wants his party to do the same.

As for the social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage that often seem to dominate the political conversation, and are of top importance to part of his party's base, Reber said this:

"I like a moral compass in a candidate, but I don't litmus test a candidate on those issues," he said. "They're part of a calculus, but not litmus."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.
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