For the College Republicans at USF, the location of the Republican National Convention couldnt be better.
The campus conservatives will be attending and volunteering at several events downtown throughout the week.
The Tampa Bay area is crucial to winning Florida, he said. Given how important Florida has become in recent elections, I would argue that the White House runs right through our city. So the excitement that comes with such an important political event in our own back- yard could be one of the factors that swing Florida from blue, as in 2008, to red.
One of the first events the College Republicans attended is Lashing Back at Backlash, whichwas held yesterday (Sunday). Kristin Bradstreet, a senior majoring in political science and chair of the College Republicans, said this event is geared toward young, conservative women. She said she identifies herself as a conservative because of her beliefs in the simple ideas of smaller government and individual responsibility.
Were really excited because one of the panelists is Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin, Bradstreet said. This summer there was a recall election Wisconsin, but Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch both retained their governor and lieutenant governorship.
The College Republicans also will get a chance to volunteer for Florida and Pennsylvania delegate parties, which will take place on Monday and Wednesday.
Bradstreet said the host for the Florida and Pennsylvania delegate parties was one and the same person who contacted them to volunteer at both events. The venue will be JC Cigar Company, where Bradstreet said they will meet the delegates, help with registration
and guide them around the party. Two days later, they will partake in two major events, Conversations with the Next Generations and theMav Bash.
Jessica Heartwell, a junior majoring in political science and vice chair of the College Republicans, said the Conversations with the Next Generation focuses on stu- dents because the election is going to be about the youth.
I believe that that was the reason Obama got elected, she said. The youth jumped onboard his campaign, and so this year the Republicans are doing the same thing. Theyre trying to attack the youth vote.
Heartwell added that the main goal of this event is to get the young peoples perspective on the RNC and the upcoming election. Bradstreet said it would also present a networking opportunity for college students because local business leaders and people from Washington D.C. will be there.
On Wednesday, at 10 p.m., the College Republicans will volunteer for the Mav Bash, which is an event hosted by the Maverick
Political Action Committee (PAC). The event will be held at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art and will feature speakers like George P. Bush, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and representatives from Georgia, Florida and Illinois.
Youth Radio, from Oakland, CA, will meet with and interview the College Republicans at Conversations for the Next Generation and the Mav Bash.
Theyre just following us around to various events to try to see how we interact and to understand Florida politicians here better, Heartwell said.
One of the members of the College Republicans, Ralph Delia, started a separate student organization in the past few weeks to concentrate on Romneys campaignfor president. Delia said that Bulls for Romney wants to spread the message of Governor Romney.
We want to inform the students at USF and young people throughout the community that they dont have to vote for Barack Obama, that they dont have to settle for the Obama record, he said. Unfortunately statisticshavent been looking good over the past four years. Half of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.
Mitt Romneys plan is to open up the free market essentially, he said. He wants to support small businesses by lowering taxes on middle income Americans and small businesses. There will be more incentive (for students) to go out and start their own businesses.
In addition to participating in many of the same events as the College Republicans for the RNC, Bulls for Romney intends to raise student and community support for Romneys candidacy by making phone calls, going door-to-door and waving signs.
I have two separate strategies, Delia said. One that focuses on the school and direct voter contact with the students and the other one that focuses on the communi- ty because Tampa bay is one of the most important areas come this November. I think if Mitt Romney ended up winning Tampa Bay in the I-4 corridor, I think he wins the election.