College Republicans name five U students to statewide offices

The University chapter is the largest College Republicans group in the state.

Hayley Odom

The University’s College Republicans helped elect a new state board and one of its members won an activism award at the organization’s state convention over the weekend.

Two University students were elected and three were appointed to positions at the club’s state level. University junior Tony Zammit walked away with the George W. Bush Activist of the Year Award.

“I had no idea. I put in a lot of hard work – not just me, this entire chapter has,” Zammit said.

Zammit said people are surprised that one of the University’s largest student groups is Republican. It has more than 500 members – making it the largest College Republican chapter in the state.

The University chapter represented approximately 20 of the 250 participants – which made it the biggest convention in the club’s history.

“We’re really proud of Tony,” said Tyler Richter, the University chapter chairman and newly elected political director at the state level.

“He really has sacrificed a tremendous amount and, if that’s any indication of what we can do on campus, then we’re going to be in great shape and continue to be the most successful chapter in the state,” Richter said.

Other members were excited to represent the University at the state level.

“It’s really nice to be the best College Republican organization in the nation,” said Kyle Wilson, a University sophomore who was made the club’s state technical director. “You really feel like you’re making a difference.”

The convention featured Republican officials including Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., who encouraged the grassroots activism that led to the club’s increase of 2,500 members statewide this last year.

“We live in the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world, and with that comes responsibility,” Pawlenty said. His speech kicked off the weekend.

“And with responsibility, you have to give something back – (so) let’s go win this thing for our great President George W. Bush,” Pawlenty said.

Most of the speakers rallied around the presidential race and said College Republicans are essential to winning elections.

“We need you all to work your hearts out with us, (to win the presidential election) this fall,” Kennedy said.

“If President Bush is defeated in the election, it will be

perceived as a victory for the terrorists,” Rep. John Kline, R-Minn, said.

David Sturrock, a Southwest Minnesota State University political science professor running for election in the 7th

Congressional District, said student volunteers would make a huge difference in his campaign.

“Last time, Minnesota sent a political science professor to Washington with the help of misguided, idealistic young people wearing Wellstone green. This time, we can do it wearing Republican red, white and blue.”

Jordan Sekulow, Students for Bush national chairman, said young voters are the president’s secret weapon, and Minnesota is an important state because of the number of colleges here. He also cited a CNN poll, which stated 61 percent of the nation’s college students support Bush.

A new College Republican chapter was established last fall at the University Law School.

“We’re the fastest growing organization in the Law School,” co-founder Chris Mumm said.

The group has approximately 50 members.

“We noticed there were students with a conservative mindset,” Mumm said. “We wanted to take advantage (of the

situation).”