College Republicans volunteer, network at state GOP convention

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Members of K-State’s College Republicans organization met with top party officials and helped register participants at the 2017 Kansas GOP Convention Friday and Saturday.

“We did registration for people as they were coming in,” said Brandon Rein, senior in agriculture economics and College Republicans treasurer. “We got IDs from everyone to make sure they were registered, because we did have some people that were protesting outside, and we wanted to make that the people that were getting in were supposed to be there. We tried to take some burden off of the shoulders of the executives of the state party.”

Although the group did volunteer work at the GOP convention, the College Republicans played a more participatory role at the event, Evan Steckler, junior in architectural engineering and College Republicans vice president, said.

“Beyond our roles as volunteers, we were just participants, like everyone else,” Steckler said. “We were just celebrating the fact that it’s a good time to be a Republican. There’s a broad diversity of opinions concerning the president, but we control Congress — the Republican Party does — we control more than 30 of the 50 governorships and a majority of the state legislatures, so this weekend we celebrated the successes of conservatives in Kansas and across the country.”

Steckler said College Republicans joined GOP discussions for future legislation at the convention.

“There was a lot of great discussions of how we build off of this success to create conservative reforms that make life easier for Kansan and American families,” Steckler said.

Talking about a discussion with Gov. Sam Brownback, Steckler said Brownback vowed that amendments to campus concealed carry law would not be passed.

“He’s pretty confident that the movement in the Legislature right now to change campus carry law isn’t going to be successful,” Steckler said. “I think that’s good for students, that they should be able to carry on July 1, and the governor reaffirmed that this law’s sticking around.”

The event was also a great opportunity for the young Republicans to meet and network with older and more influential party members, which offers the possibility of volunteer opportunities and internships in the future, said Cody Dillon, sophomore in entrepreneurship and College Republicans membership coordinator.

“(Being a part of College Republicans) helps us get in contact with politicians in Washington, especially if they need volunteers for campaigns or need interns,” Dillon said. “We can connect through that and get in touch with people that we need to if we need political experience.”

Convention attendees had the chance to speak with Brownback, secretary of state Kris Kobach, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Roger Marshall, among other Republican officials.

“We had the great opportunity to talk with and confer with elected officials,” Steckler said. “You’re free to come up to them and talk about the issues, or their family, or K-State football or whatever you want to talk about.

Chapters of College Republicans also voted on new leadership for the state’s Federation of College Republicans. Representatives voted Austin Gilpin of Wichita State University as the new chairman of the federation.

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Rafael Garcia
I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.