UConn College Republicans elect new executive board members

Newly-elected Chairman Gianna Bodnar addresses members of UConn College Republicans about an upcoming conference held in Washington, DC. UConn College Republicans, a conservative political group on campus, held elections for executive board positions in ITE on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (Akshara Thejaswi/The Daily Campus)

Members of the University of Connecticut College Republicans elected their next president, as well as their new vice-president of external affairs, at the organization’s meeting on Tuesday evening, after their former president’s resignation in November.

UConn College Republicans members elected seventh-semester business management major Gianna Bodnar to be the organization’s new president and third-semester international relations major Emilyn Tuomala to be the organization’s next vice-president of external affairs.

“I feel like both elected candidates will help bring about a bigger image for [UConn College Republicans] on campus,” fifth-semester undeclared major and UConn College Republicans member Joseph Gatti said.

The group held the election following seventh-semester political science and economics double major Paul DaSilva’s resignation as the organization’s president at their Nov. 15 meeting, due to Donald Trump’s election win.

DaSilva said in November that he resigned as he could not adequately represent the Republican party and the UConn College Republicans’ Trump-supporting members after Trump’s election win.

“My election is bittersweet,” Bodnar said. “I’m sad to see [DaSilva] leave. He’s been a great leader for our organization.”

Bodnar said her main goal as president is to increase the UConn College Republicans’ presence on campus.

“I want to make [UConn College Republicans] bigger, and for us to have a larger voice on campus,” Bodnar said. “I think we can accomplish this by bringing big-name speakers here and participating in campus activism.”

According to Tuomala, UConn College Republicans should strive to be a “conservatism hub” at UConn.

“With gubernatorial races coming up in 2018, it would be great to have some of the people who have formed exploratory committees come talk to us about what they want to do with their campaigns,” Tuomala said.

UConn College Republicans will continue adhering to the Republican party’s “traditional values” during Trump’s presidency, Bodnar said.

“As [UConn College Republicans], I don’t think we’re representing a candidate, but the party’s ideology,” Bodnar said. “For me, this means fiscal conservatism and family values, that goes along with social conservatism. I try to uphold these morals in my daily life.”


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.