by: Derek Murphy
The Benedictine College Republicans celebrated the start of the new school year by hosting their first event of the semester on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. Around twenty-five Benedictine students gathered at the local Buffalo Wild Wings to meet two special guests, State Senator Michael Connelly (R- Lisle) and current DuPage County board member and 11th congressional candidate Tonia Khouri (R-Aurora).
The theme of the event was referred to as “pitchers and politics” a common theme among college/young republican organizations. The event focused on having the elected officials meet with the students in a more informal capacity.
“Most often politicians are known for being in the Capitol, on the floor in a suit and tie. This more relaxed setting puts the students and elected officials in an environment that is less stiff and more about various conversations,” said Senior Student Chair Stephanie Rhinesmith.
Tonia Khouri, who is challenging incumbent congressman Bill Foster in the 2016 election, spent her time speaking with students about the challenges of running against a billionaire in an extremely diverse district. Khouri stressed that she was the right individual for the congressional district, compared to the incumbent. Khouri referred to the incumbent congressman as the “do nothing congressman” and stated that she is involved in all communities within the district and wants to provide them with what she can do to better help their families.
“We are going to win this race by having boots on the ground across the district. We are not going to have the same amount of money as the incumbent does, this is a classic grassroots effort and we will be better equipped than the former two candidates against Foster before me,” said Khouri.
Senator Mike Connelly has been actively involved in Benedictine’s organizations and events, emphasizing the need for the youth to get involved in state and local government.
“Senator Connelly has supported the College Republicans at events, participated in the Center for Civic Leadership events and even gave Benedictine’s Model Illinois Government Delegation a tour of the state capitol two years ago” said Rhinesmith.
Since Connelly does not face reelection for another four years his political conversations rested on the questions asked by the students. Connelly’s conversations with students ranged from the Illinois government shutdown, Benedictine’s history, best TV shows on AMC and even the 2016 presidential election.
“I’m supporting Senator Marco Rubio for President. He is the only Republican running who can win the three states in the general election that are a ‘must win’ for any candidate- Nevada because he had lived their during his youth, Florida because that was his birthplace and where his political career blossomed and Ohio due to his ability to convey a message independents can relate to,” said Senator Connelly.
The College Republicans first meeting of the year will be held Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm in Kindlon 021 followed by the College Republicans and the Political Science Student Association hosting of the Republican Primary Debate Watch Party (location TBA). For more information on the College Republicans, meetings and future events please email the Chair Stephanie Rhinesmith at firstname.lastname@example.org.