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City council member speaks on campus

The PLNU College Republicans are gearing up to help campaign for another local election. They’ve wasted no time in showing continued community involvement following the success of Kevin Faulconer’s mayoral race. This time the group is teaming up with Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who is campaigning to take over Faulconer’s old seat in District 2.

Zapf visited campus on March 25 to address the College Republicans and to seek student support in her preparations for the primary election on June 3.

“This city is in a world of hurt and we desperately need volunteers. This isn’t something you can do alone,” said Zapf.

Many of the club members have volunteered in the past on various campaigns by interning, making phone calls, and walking the neighborhoods prior to elections. Students who have participated know the benefits of being involved:

“Well, for one, going door-to-door is great exercise,” said Kris Ashton, volunteer for the Faulconer campaign. “It helps with communication skills and puts you in touch with the community.”

The club has not been able to meet regularly this year due to the members’ roles as volunteers; ten of the 30-40 members were paid staffers for the Faulconer campaign working up to 30 hours a week, making a consistent meeting nearly impossible to schedule. However, newly appointed president Robert Contreras does not see this as detrimental to the club.

“We may not have orthodox club meetings, but we have a collective effort towards campaigns,” said Contreras.” Since many of us were working on the campaign, we got to hang out at the offices anyway.”

The club’s purpose was not intended to be merely meetings, but to get students actively involved in politics and to provide new opportunities for its members. They believe that strong networking relationships, internships, and job opportunities await those who are willing to put in the time and effort into campaigning. Ashton sees involvement in politics as vitally important for college students.

“Students have lost the ability to have a voice. This is an opportunity for us to get out and get to know our leaders, and relate our concerns to them about our city,” Ashton said.

Contreras points out the difference in helping with a city council election as opposed to another campaign.

“City council campaigns are about city issues, not heated social issues,” said Contreras. “You’re not trying to convince people to change their views on abortion or gay rights. You’re raising awareness about the potholes on Rosecrans and the cleanliness of the beaches–things that apply to everyone in the city.”

Zapf’s platform is to put families first, protect resources, ensure safe neighborhoods, and hold City Hall accountable financially. She has a long-standing history of community involvement, a background as a small business owner, and has served as councilwoman in her previous district. She considers herself a fiscal conservative, but is very much an environmentalist as well, having been involved on projects like Keep Tahoe Blue.

As president of the club, Contreras’ goal for the College Republicans moving forward is continued participation in campaigns such as Zapf’s.