Find what you stand for: Young Utah alternate finds strength from political parents

Katya Herrod’s dad wanted his daughter to be active and involved, so when he approached her to sign a few things, she didn’t think twice.

“I trust his judgment,” Katya Herrod said.

When he told her she “got it,” she didn’t know exactly what “it” was.

“You’re an alternate,” she said her father, Chris Herrod, former Utah representative, said to her.

At 19, Katya Herrod is an alternate representing Utah at the Republican National Convention. At first, she said she was a little frustrated by the news and nervous about what to expect. Now, she’s thankful for the opportunity to mingle with delegates, discover the issues and decide where she stands in the world of politics.

“I love his opinions, but I want to get my own voice,” she said. “That’s why I’m excited to go.”


Finding her voice

Katya Herrod believes that many millennials aren’t always taking the time to find their political stance today.

“I just think in the world today, you need to find your voice — find what you stand for — then when you’re tried or people ask you about it, you can tell them what you believe,” Katya Herrod said. “You can become a leader for those who don’t know.”

She said she feels that millennials who do have opinions need to discover their beliefs by looking at credible sources from a multitude of viewpoints — not just from one side.

“You can’t find your own opinion just by listening to one voice,” Katya Herrod said. “There’s a huge spectrum of things and you got to just listen, so you can kind of find where you’re at. No one’s political views are exactly the same, that’s why it’s important to figure out exactly what you are. The world will be different from what you are.”

Katya Herrod said she’s prepared to learn more about Trump’s views throughout the convention.

“I pledged to Ted Cruz, so I haven’t really focused as much on Trump as I should’ve,” Katya Herrod said.

“It’s hard, I feel like, for our generation to distinguish between people’s opinions and (…) what’s true,” Katya Herrod said. “I think it’s important to recognize once you know, if it’s an opinion or if it’s the truth, because then you can generally know what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Katya Herrod said she believes millennials are politically like zombies. She warned the generation not to “believe everything you hear because that’s what a lot of people want,” Katya Herrod said.

“They’re just kind of zombie-like, ‘Oh, he said that, so I’m going to do that,’” Katya Herrod said.


Reflecting politically deep roots

Both of Katya Herrod’s parents are delegates.

She said she enjoys hearing about her parents’ experiences in Europe.

She said her father went on a trip to west and east Germany with Brigham Young University as a 16-year-old and she said he felt oppressed while there.

“I need to run. I can’t stay here because it’s just I can’t do this. I need to have freedom,” she said he felt about the experience.

Her mom also grew up in the Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union. Her dad worked as an English professor at a university there.

“Both my parents have a strong, strong beliefs against socialism,” Katya Herrod said. “It’s interesting to hear how my dad talks about certain issues and freedom.”

Her two parents and three out of four of her siblings are attending the RNC this week. They drove to Cleveland, Ohio together from Provo, Utah.

Katya Herrod said her parents fear for the future of America and that is why they are motivated to continue their heavy political involvement.

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