UI College Republicans elect new Executive Board


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Yearly elections for the University of Iowa College Republicans occurred on Tuesday night.

The students selected a new Executive Board for the upcoming year. Because 2015 is an off-election year, members plan to focus more specifically on campaigning and raising supporters for the Republican Party.

“For all of us [new executives], recruitment this year is the biggest thing,” said Alexa Den Herder, the board’s newly elected vice chairwoman. “If we get people thinking about the election, they’re more likely to get out and vote.”

Growing up in a liberal town of Waterloo, sophomore Den Herder said she became engaged in the Republican Party when she was 5 years old as she watched the 2000 presidential election.

Her interest continued into middle school, proven when nicknamed “Politic” by some of her teachers. Her involvement in politics continued throughout high school and has continued in college.

Den Herder, a political-science and international-relations double major at the UI, was elected into her new position by a ballot vote among group members. After being nominated, she gave a speech and beat one other candidate.

The elected president, junior Janelle Smithson, is the only executive member to be re-elected on the board, she said. She has been involved in College Republicans since her freshman year and has served as secretary for the last two years.

This election, Smithson was unopposed and now will tackle new tasks as president, she said.

“As a secretary, I only sent out emails, and now I’ll be running the College Republicans meetings,” she said. “Being in charge, the Executive Board and I will decide where we want to do our work. I’ll also be talking to a lot more outside people.”

Though College Republicans doesn’t work as a group directly with Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, Smithson said many members choose to volunteer with that group. Additionally, they volunteer as a group in other events.

Den Herder, a Kappa Alpha Theta member, said she volunteered with Americans for Prosperity and knocked on residents’ doors throughout Iowa to survey voters. Additionally, she helped the Johnson County Republican Victory Office by making phone calls and organized a greek life educational career dialogue for Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican who has run and lost three times in Iowa’s Second Congressional District.

The off-election year has executive members excited to stay active on campus.

“One of our main goals is to not stay idle,” Smithson said. “We’ll continue to reach out and do work when we can by staying involved on campus. Also, [we’ll be] working on recruitment to get members to attend and incentive to stay in our group.”

Newly elected Secretary Jada Holst predicts the group will succeed in this area.

“I think we will stay successful on that because it’s on the forefront of all our minds,” she said. “We all discussed recruitment as the most important goal for us, and usually when a goal’s in mind, there’s pretty successful results.”

The UI College Democrats also holds yearly elections for its executive members, said current President Carter Bell. During election season, approximately 40 students attend meetings, and around 20 students attend off-year ones.

Elections for College Democrats will be held in April.

College Republicans has about 20 student members who attend the weekly meetings, former President Quentin Marquez said. However, through recruitment efforts and meetings, all members are encouraged to participate.

“We encourage everyone in the group to get involved in campaigns,” Marquez said. “Even if you’re not on exec, there’s time for vocal opportunities.”

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