Robert Andrews elected College Republicans chairman

College Republicans to focus on campaign efforts, establishing a debate committee moving forward

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Andrews ran uncontested for the position.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

Third-year College student Robert Andrews was elected Tuesday evening as the College Republicans Chairman for the 2018-19 academic year. Andrews will succeed third-year College student Adam Kimelman in the position.

Approximately 20 College Republicans members were in attendance to hear speeches from the candidates and vote for positions on the newly elected executive board. Along with Andrews, this board will consist of first-year College student Dan Nakasone as vice chairman of campaigns, third-year College student Tommy Zheng as vice chairman of events, first-year College student Riley Creamer as secretary, first-year Engineering student Gerardo Escobedo as treasurer and first-year College student Matthew Nalls as director of communications and recruitment.

Andrews — who was born in Virginia Beach and raised in Salem — currently serves as secretary of the College Republicans. He ran uncontested for the position.

Andrews said that one of his main goals as College Republicans chairman will be to increase active membership within the organization.

“Right now, we have about 150 dues-paying members, but we have … not as many people showing up to the meetings,” Andrews said. “That’s in part because it’s not a presidential election year, but I think if we can host different kinds of events with big speakers, host more inclusive events beyond just parties, but just different outings and activities like that to create kind of a social cohesion with other members.”

Andrews also said that he wants to increase the College Republicans’ campaign efforts as they prepare for future elections.

“We did a fantastic job last year despite the loss,” Andrews said. “We knocked on 80,000 doors in the Commonwealth. I think we can — with the types of people on the new executive board — we can up those numbers and contribute to really just trying to fight off the political wave that is coming up.”

Andrews joined the College Republicans in his second year after transferring to the University from Virginia Tech. 

During his campaign speech, Andrews said that one of his first initiatives as chairman will be to establish a debate committee, so that College Republicans can host debates with other organizations and between candidates for elected office.

“We’ll have a Q&A, we’ll have different people on the Republican side of the aisle with different views and ask them questions like why do you believe what you believe,” Andrews said. “I think that would be a great idea because if you get past the rhetoric, we really have sincere, and I think pure, reasons for why we do.”

Andrews added that the College Republicans needed to better communicate its fundamental message of liberty and equality for all.

“If you look at our creed, we believe in equal protections of the law, we believe that the free enterprise system is one of the best ways to help people to get out of poverty and prosper, and we want liberty for all of our citizens,” Andrews said. “So if we can just figure out a way to communicate that to people, I think that’s a message that resonates with the majority of Americans, and I would say certainly students, but we just have to be persistent in that effort.”

Andrews, who considers himself a libertarian-conservative in favor of limited government, thinks that the new College Republicans executive board will be successful in uniting politically conservative students because it contains a variety of different ideological perspectives. 

“We have folks that support the president of the United States more, [and] you could classify me as that, but I definitely have my criticisms of the president,” Andrews said. “But I think when you have the leadership like that, that has a diversity of views, we can also figure out what unites us and then create a model for our members and ultimately for all the conservative leaning organizations on grounds.”

Kimelman said he is optimistic that Andrews and the executive board will be able to communicate their message effectively to students and voters.

“I think there were a lot of things tonight in terms of doing more on-Grounds activism, and I think that the next executive board is very equipped to do that,” Kimelman said. “There were some very good ideas for different types of meetings that we could do, and that’s something I hope to see from them as well.” 

Andrews and the new executive board will officially assume their positions at the end of the 2017-18 academic year.

“I’m looking forward to restarting our campaign efforts in the upcoming election cycle — we’ve got [the] United States Senate race, then we have the [Congressional] race here in the Fifth District as well as statewide races so we will be very involved with that,” Andrews said. “It’s going to be a very exciting year and I’m looking forward to things of that nature.”

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