College Republican Federation of Virginia To Hold Elections This Saturday: A Divided Federation – UPDATED
This Saturday, the College Republican Federation of Virginia will be hosting its annual convention to elect officers to the College Republican Federation of Virginia Executive Board.
And some of you wonder, why is that important? They are just college kids?
Of course, they are college kids, but they are also the workhorses of our party. They make sure the doors get knocked, the phone banks get staffed, the tweets get sent out, the campaign events are filled with young smiling faces.
Oh, and did I mention they get THREE seats on the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee?
Ok, now that I have your attention….
There are two slates of candidates for the officer’s elections. One of which is the “Embolden CRFV” Ticket, with Ian Waite of George Mason University as a candidate for Chairman. The other is “Rebuild CRFV,” with Alexander Rodrigeuz as a candidate for Chairman of CRFV.
This is where the madness starts.
The “Rebuild CRFV” slate made serious allegations about the CRFV Convention process and allegations against current CRFV Chairwoman Courtney Britt. The allegations are as follows.
The “Embolden CRFV” released a statement in response to the allegations.
CRFV Chairwoman Courtney Britt addresses these allegations in the following letter that was provided to BearingDrift.com.
In response to this article, the “Rebuild CRFV” ticket sent this response:
“Friday afternoon, our ticket released a statement regarding the legitimacy of the annual CRFV convention. We did this in an effort to promote transparency and make concerns to all relevant parties. As stated in our original statement, we recognized and believed that several decisions were made in good faith, but as the convention approached, we felt this was no longer true. The CRFV did NOT administer chartering and consequent delegate allocation in a transparent and ethical manner. Specifically, JMU being reduced to two delegates from twenty is utterly ridiculous. Especially when the chapter roster remained the same, over 200, throughout the entire process. It is time we as a federation put aside our differences and empower all chapters, in Virginia by allowing proper representation at Conventions and allow each and every member eligible a spot at the CRFV table. We wholehearted believe that something should be done. This convention and its delegate allocations are not only unethical but unconstitutional. That is a serious problem and goes against our fundamental beliefs as Republicans.
Looking to the future, the Federation needs a major rebuilding. Over the past year, five chapters have chosen to not recharter; while only two new chapters have been formed. I believe that Rebuild CRFV is the ticket for the job to grow individual chapters and start new ones. We plan to do this by building a greater sense of community among the CRFV, by supporting ALL chapters and increasing inter-chapter communication. Particularly, I am excited about the creation of Small School Advisory Council and Regional Coalitions. The Small School Advisory Council, will discuss problems facing small school chapters with the aim to develop and implement solutions. Regional Coalitions, will connect schools in close proximity to one another (ie. JMU, EMU and Bridgewater) and encourage their collaboration and support for one another. I am also excited to foster transparency between the CRFV Executive Board and the rest of the Board (all chapter Chairs). This will occur by our reliance upon public Executive Board meetings and public roll call votes and meeting minutes, which will be sent after each Executive board meeting. Upon entering office, we also plan to immediately create a Groupme and a chapter chair directory, to encourage inter-chapter communication and collaboration. This will not only create and foster a community, but increase opportunities as well. I am excited for what the future of the CRFV holds and look forward to working with ALL chapters to ensure we rebuild the CRFV and ultimately Republican majorities in Virginia.
Devan A. Coombes
I am very excited about the prospects for growth and rebuilding CRFV! Growing the conservetive movement and the Republican Party in particular is a huge passion of mine. I am honored to have the opportunity to run for a position on the CRFV executive board. Our ticket is full of amazing people with amazing ideas and I can’t wait to start implementing them! Particularly I am most excited about our Energize and Results pillars! Everyone on our ticket is exceptionally talented in the area of their chosen position and know how to get results. Most of our ticket have been through tough elections and come out on top. We know how to win! To be able to do that, we have to energize our Federation. Throughout the last cycle we saw a low of voter contact and deployment efforts. While we had three deployments, turnout was very low. We as a Federation also lost five chapters in the rechartering process and only gained two during the same time. That is five schools and a countless number of volunteers that are no longer active! We must re energize the CRFV if we want to win in 2020. This is essential. We will do this by building more of a community through unity within the Federation. We want the CRFV to be a family. I know that as a Federation, we can move past this last year and become better, we just have to Rebuild!”
In response to this article, the “Embolden CRFV” ticket had this response:
Let me begin by stating my thoughts. I will not provide an endorsement to either ticket. We do, however, want to call balls and strikes. Meaning that I think it’s only fair for our readers, especially those young College Republicans who will travel to Richmond, Virginia, this weekend, to elect their leadership with a fair assessment to the goings-on of the Federation.
As a former member of the CRFV, I hope to provide some clarity on this issue.
1. First and foremost, both sides have legitimate concerns about the direction of the College Republican Federation of Virginia.
I want to make something very clear. These allegations are not to be taken lightly nor should we read this like a trashy supermarket tabloid. These allegations are serious. The actions of the College Republican Federation of Virginia can have a ripple effect into the entire Republican Party of Virginia. The actions of the leaders of our party, no matter if it’s our senior leadership like Morton Blackwell or Wendell Walker, all the way to youthful leaders like Courtney Britt and Thomas Turner, the actions of our party leaders will be important.
The concerns of Mr. Rodrigeuz and his ticket are important. I have spoken with him on multiple occasions and his love for Virginia shines through with every conversation. I truly believe that Mr. Rodrigeuz has the best intentions for CRFV and he wants the organization to grow.
The same can be said for Mr. Waite. Ian Waite is a Virginian’s Virginian, the kind of person who wants to make his home state shine through. He, much like Alex, loves the state of Virginia and wants to see the best in every College Republican chapter in Virginia.
2. There is an organizational ROT inside of the College Republican Federation of Virginia
Nothing pains me more as an alumnus of the CRFV to say that it has problems. Every single person I talked to about the current state of affairs at CRFV, with the notable exception of Chairwoman Britt, has stated that there is a severe lack of transparency in the Federation. Both tickets are talking about measures to ensure transparency because of the severe lack of dialogue between the Federation leadership team and its members. Decisions are being made without notification. Things are being done for the organization without votes. This organization that made me into the Republican I am is in a free fall.
It is imperative that the new leadership fix this organizational madness, and fix it fast. Dysfunctional party auxiliary organizations cannot and should not be tolerated, under any circumstances! There has to be work done to ensure secure yet open methods of communication between board members, chapters, and everyday members. From the interviews with members, there is a severe lack of communication with the CRFV leadership and chapters. CRFV, no matter who it elects, needs to take a laser focus on fixing this transparency issue.
3. The Kids Are Alright.
I want to make one final point; otherwise, I will let the candidates and their speeches on Saturday make their point. I have spoken with both candidates for CRFV Chairman at length. They are both Virginia gentleman. They both will make our party and our Commonwealth proud. They both believe in the organization in which they are running.
And let me address a point to the readers of Bearing Drift. In the past, specifically about the time that I was in CRFV, there were bad people trying to take over both it and the YRFV (cough, Ken Cuccinelli, cough again). That is not the case this time. No one is being a puppet candidate of some evil, nefarious person. No one is running to change the Republican Party of Virginia into something that it should not become.
Both candidates have the best interest of the organization at heart. It is my hope that whoever takes over the College Republican Federation of Virginia will know why I love it so much.
College Republicans become family. College is confusing as hell when you are a conservative. You are thrown into an environment where everyone wants to do drugs and have the political views of Mao Tze Tung. College Republicans provide a family to go to where it’s accepted that you wear a blazer and a bowtie to class. It’s where you go to talk about what Lilly Pulitzer pattern is your favorite, where you argue over which Ben Schapiro book is better, and why you all think that Nikki Haley should be President.
You make lifelong friends and in some cases find your soulmate. I can’t tell you how many people who have made lifelong friends or met their spouses, myself included. My best friend in the College Republican Federation of Virginia introduced me to the best thing to ever happen to me outside of my faith in Christ, and that is my wife Lauren. Three out of four of my groomsmen at my wedding were guys that were in College Republicans. These are the people who will be your best man at your wedding, the godparents to your kids, or in some cases end up being the person you choose to marry.
I would ask that all delegates to the CRFV Convention consider the friends they have when they go to vote Saturday at the convention. Don’t get consumed in the arguments; vote for the person who cares about your future the most. The future of the organization is in your hands.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Chairman-elect Ian Waite and the Embolden CRFV ticket.