NEW BEDFORD - Local conservatives got a chance to meet Republican party officials during a Southcoast GOP Forum at the Valley View Condominiums Monday evening. 

MassGOP chairwoman Kirsten Hughes was joined by National Committeewoman & State Representative Keiko Orrall, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, State Committeewoman Jill Marie Ussach and State Committeeman Brock Cordeiro to speak about the current state of the party in Massachusetts and hear from members what can be done to ensure a better future.

Hughes said the state committee is currently building upon successful election cycles in 2014 and 2016, but still has work to do as it aims to command a powerful presence at the State House.

"Being a Republican in Massachusetts is hugely about balance and bringing balance to a much needed process up on Beacon Hill," Hughes said.

The general theme of the meeting was the need for more party members to get involved in races across the board: local, state and even national.

In response to many concerns over the recent pay hikes to legislators, Orrall told the group of about two dozen that things won't change until people step up to change them.

"We're not going to be able to stop the outrageous policies until we have more Republicans elected and that's why we need candidates that are running to say 'I'll step up,' 'I'll run for office,'" Orrall said.

Other key party issues came up, such as taxes and immigration, but Hodgson noted that the voters have made it clear in recent years that they will vote for whichever candidate offers them action.

"What people were saying in this election, time and time again, is 'You know what, I just want to see results. I want to see things happen. I want to see things move forward,'" said Hodgson.

MassGOP is already planning to hold workshops to teach perspective candidates how to run effective campaigns and how other party members can get involved in grassroots efforts across the Commonwealth.

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