It goes without saying that this year’s municipal elections were a resounding victory for Connecticut Republicans, maintaining control of the majority of towns and cities across the state. But perhaps the bigger victory is the party’s strides in embracing new and diverse members that ordinarily don’t gravitate towards the Republican Party.
Young candidates and elected officials around the state ran most overwhelmingly on the Republican ticket. Mayor Erin Stewart in New Britain was not only returned to office, but voters also rewarded her with a 12-3 majority on the city council – something almost unprecedented in New Britain.
In addition to Mayor Stewart, the New Britain GOP ticket also included young and rising politicians such as Daniel Davis and Kristian Rosado, lending a youthful face and fresh perspective to governing in central Connecticut’s new Republican majorities. Over in Trumbull, Tim Herbst – who was narrowly defeated in his 2014 race for state treasurer – was reelected for another two years as first selectman.
The statewide Republican Party has established benches of up-and-coming candidates – from the local town committees, all the way up to the state party.
In last year’s legislative races, fresh, young Republicans were elected to the statehouse from all corners of Connecticut. To just name a few, we have Rep. Aundré Bumgardner in Groton, and from Westbrook, Rep. Jesse MacLachlan. Bristol elected Rep. Cara Pavalock, and Sen. Art Linares comfortably won reelection in the 33rd Senate District.
Connecticut Republicans are led by the innovative leadership of our new chairman, JR Romano, a 37-year-old from Derby.
The stark difference between Connecticut’s political parties and the new generation of candidates each is cultivating has not gone unnoticed. The country’s youth offer modernized methods of reimagining obsolete methods in the state capitol. Instead of accepting the inutile governance, they aspire to change it. And they don’t wait for permission to do so. And that initiative is most evidently rooted in Connecticut’s Republican Party.
College Republicans are on ten different campuses around the state working to promote Republican policies and responsible governance at the university level. A few College Republicans even ran for office this past election, including Mark Sargent, former president of UConn CR’s, who won a seat on the Mansfield town council.
As college students looking forward to 2016, we will continue to work with the state party in recruiting new people to the Republican banner, and these new trends will continue to grow. After all, there is room for everyone in today’s Republican Party of Connecticut.
Emmakristina Sveen is chair of the Connecticut Federation of College Republicans.