Last month the Central Committee voted UCSB freshmen Devin Ramos and Brock Lynch as well as third-year Nick Onyshko into their ranks. All three students are now voting members of the third district of Santa Barbara County which incorporates Guadalupe, Goleta, and the largely collegiate town of Isla Vista. Nick Amboy, an SBCC student and member of Santa Barbara United College Conservatives, was officially appointed to an alternate position.
Kevin Walsh, a Committee member representing the third district, believes college students are the ideal candidates for his district’s vacancies in an effort to best serve the university area with representatives their own age. Furthermore, he sees their appointments as one of the first steps in repositioning the Republican Party, a topic of media discourse both preceding and following the November election. “Brock and I are not so much concerned with changing the values of the individuals who make up this Committee,” said Ramos, “but rather, we are more interested in the modernization and efficacy of our party’s visage.”
All four student representatives have attended UCSB College Republicans meetings on campus, a Club whose main focus this year has also been re-branding from the bottom up. “In the past we’ve had controversial speakers which is great for creating a dialogue but also loses us potential members who don’t always want to be on the defensive,” said UCSB College Republicans President Christopher Babadjanian. “We’re trying the make it ‘Okay’ to be a young Republican again. I’m happy to see the same sentiment at the county level.”
The County’s intention to rejuvenate the party is not confined to the lower ranks, either. Kristine Mollenkopf, a 43-year old attorney from Santa Maria, was unanimously elected as Chairman for a two-year term at last Wednesday’s monthly meeting. Mollenkopf is the youngest Chair in the history of the county party. “The appointment of three students is directly in line with my goal to modernize this committee, and prove to our community the Republican party has a positive, relevant message,” she said.
Ramos, Lynch, and Onyshko will all attend the statewide California Republican Party convention on March 1-3 in the state capitol. Secretary Gregory Gandrud is glad to have them there as members of the Committee. “We are delighted to have the support and participation of so many fine college students,” he said. After all, “Our youth are our future.”
The Central Committee will continue to meet on the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton. All Republicans are welcome to attend and are encouraged to volunteer for various committees including fundraising, communication, voter registration, and precinct organization.