In Focus: CR President Karen SwangoBy Brad Holtz
The swirling winds of change in the Republican Party haven't necessarily been confined to those involved in the national scene. The College Republicans of Indiana University have also undergone a change with the naming of a new President. Karen Swango has taken office following the departure of former College Republican President Robert Brothers.
Swango has been an active member of the College Republicans for five years and has seen five Presidents. She says she is extremely proud of College Republicans as a whole. The daughter of a Democratic father, Swango became interested in politics during high school, when she attended the Indiana Youth Leadership Conference and was a delegate at Hoosier Girls State.
Swango is a senior majoring in SPEA and Management and Public Policy. She is set to graduate in May, after she completes her last required class, calculus. It may seem to be a difficult position for Swango, a senior, to be taking over the reigns of the College Republicans with only one semester left in school. But she had to comply with the IUGOP Constitution, which mandates that, the internal Vice-President steps in at the event of the President leaving office.
One may wonder what can be accomplished in only one semester in office. At a recent meeting with Swango, she expressed an ambition to work hard for the upcoming elections. "That is the main goal right now," Swango stated. "We're going to be working on the elections." She also expressed an interest in helping students, especially those involved in the College Republicans, find internships and other opportunities to get involved in the political process. She is interested in helping students find various opportunities with local, even national candidates.
At a recent officers meeting of the College Republicans, she discussed an opportunity for CR's to intern for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar. It seems apparent that Swango takes a deep interest and concern in informing College Republicans of all the opportunities that are available to them. Swango also has a great interest in more than the basic Republican matters at hand. She is very involved with local candidates. She is currently contemplating making another trip to Washington D.C. for the swearing in of 8th District Congressman John Hostettler. She has made this trip before to see the Congressman's swearing in and she hopes to make it again this January.
The new role of College Republicans President brought on an entire new set of responsibilities for Swango. "I was nervous at first and I was concerned with the initial response," said Swango. "I was worried about the response from the county." Swango was also apprehensive about how the press would handle the entire situation. She felt that many College Republicans had been "let down" by the "performance" of former President Robert Brothers. But the transition would be a surprisingly easy one for Swango. Following the move, positive feedback and support started to roll in. "I was getting good comments from other campus leaders. It seems to have been a pretty good move," stated Swango.
When asked about the biggest problems facing Republicans in college today, Swango had several issues that needed to be addressed. Swango is concerned with the scare tactics used by liberals around campus and around the country. "These scare tactics they use just are not true," said Swango. One issue she addressed was the vision that Republicans oppose student loans and opportunities for all. "I am receiving student loans and they claim that that is not a Republican thing to do."
Swango finds it important to recruit new members for the College Republicans and to spread the message across campus about what the Republican Party stands for. She believes that there are many changes facing the party and that the party needs to get out and inform students about what the Republicans believe. Swango seems to be out to set the record straight for the Republicans in the face of liberal opposition and "scare tactics."
Along with the beginning of a new year, the College Republicans are off to a fresh, new start. Leading this new start is senior Karen Swango, the new President of the IU College Republicans.