Too many Californians — Americans for that matter — see the Republican Party as a group of old white men, when in fact the party is more diverse than ever.

One only needs to look at the GOP presidential debate stage to know that times have changed. While the number of candidates is dwindling on a daily basis, we are being represented by a range of ages and ethnic backgrounds, and until just recently by both men and women. While the Democratic stage will also have female representation, that’s where the diversity ends.

Closer to home, the party also reflects that diversity. Just look at our state legislature. Due in large part to strong leadership, Republicans today are more energetic, forward thinking and promoting innovative ideas. And with each new election, we are seeing a body of representatives that more closely resembles our electorate.

In a region built on its reputation for high-tech startups, we understand the importance of innovation and the new economy, and for the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to have members of our party’s leadership focused on fostering meaningful work, not just in the Silicon Valley but for all Californians.

We’ve seen a new focus on critical issues such as honoring California’s immigrants, supporting efforts to combat poverty and promote gender pay equity, just to name a few.

These are issues we can all get behind, regardless of where you live or party registration.

Former Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen was just one champion of the party’s forward thinking and is just one of many great models for today’s Republican party.

Olsen’s former counterpart, Republican leader Senator Jean Fuller of Bakersfield, is another. Fuller is actually the first female elected Senate leader in either party. The fact that until recently, both Republican leaders were women shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, because women comprise such a large percentage of our caucus — larger than our friends across the isle.

We are also honored to be represented by so many veterans, including our two female members, Assemblymembers Shannon Grove and Melissa Melendez.

And the new Republican party isn’t just about gender. Look a few hundred miles south of us and you’ll find State Senator Janet Nguyen in Orange County, the first Vietnamese-American in the country to be elected to a state’s Senate and the highest-ranking Vietnamese-American elected official in the United States.

As a millennial Republican, I want my elected leaders — from city council to president — to be inclusive and focused on core principals that we can all support, regardless of gender or ethnicity: good schools for all students, meaningful job opportunities and government that works for the people, not against them.

I’m excited to see what a youthful new member like new Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes can do to further develop the party and carry on the mission of modernizing and taking our winning messages to all parts of California. And I’m excited to see how our party will continue to change in the coming years.

Megan Range is the Executive Director of the Lincoln Club of Northern California.

Originally published in Inside Bay Area News.