When Lolita Mancheno-Smoak realized her community wasn’t headed in the right direction, she didn’t complain about it.
She decided to change it.
Mancheno-Smoak is the Fairfax County Republican Committee’s 3rd Vice Chairman, Community Engagement, as a volunteer with the Republican Party of Virginia, she works to connect with all types of voters and get out the vote in Fairfax County. Her goal is simple: introduce Northern Virginia’s diverse communities to the principles of the Republican Party.
“It is hard work. The shocked look in folks who see Latinos, Asians, and Blacks that are Republicans makes it all worth it. They say ‘why are you here?’ and we show them why we are there and share our message,” Mancheno-Smoak said.
Passion for principles and people is what keeps Mancheno-Smoak working, no matter the weather.
“I believe in the principles of the Republican Party and I think that here in Fairfax County especially, there is not enough understanding about what are the fundamental truths and direct differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties especially within the Latino community,” she said.
“I have a passion for making sure that changes and that is what I am involved in now. We need to be present and involved in every community in Fairfax. You have to invest time. You can’t just show up and say vote for me. It takes more than that. It takes respect and valuing enough to build long term relationships.”
As Republicans work to earn votes in every community around the Commonwealth, volunteers like Mancheno-Smoak are carrying the ideas of the Virginia Republican Creed into new communities.
“I enjoy sticking my neck out and being aggressive in engaging with diverse communities to try to earn votes and excite support,” she said. “Representing our local diversity is especially important in Virginia and also on a national level. Having Republicans in places of high visibility and leadership that reflect the richness of our diverse communities is so important.”
Above all, she said, the effort is about commitment — commitment to community, country, and principles. After all, unless Republicans are willing to engage with more communities over the long term, no effort to win votes will succeed.
“Sacrificing a weekend to just meet strangers is hard unless you have a real will,” she said. “People say they are willing to do things, but when it’s time to get the work done, then you really see who is committed.”