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ND Republicans gear up for election

Erickson, Beth | Friday, August 27, 2004

This summer, while incumbent President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry were hot on their respective campaign trails, several of Notre Dame’s College Republicans were arming themselves with political experience for their upcoming campus campaign.

Tom Rippinger, co-president of the College Republicans, spent his summer volunteering for U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola.

“What we do is basic, old-fashioned ‘grassroots’ organizing,” he said.

Rippinger participated in weekly phone banks to recruit party support across the district, distributing free promotional materials and soliciting volunteers.

In addition to canvassing Notre Dame’s campus and registering Republican students for absentee ballots this semester, the club will also focus on the battleground state of Michigan, which is divided between a strong union labor force and a rural conservative base Ripp-inger said.

“Our club will follow the [Republican National Convention] closely, and use it as a springboard to launch republican grassroots support to keep our Congressional majority and the White House,” he said. “We come to the table with Washington experience, dedication and the will to fight this battle to the last punch.”

Jaimie Feltault, vice president of College Republicans, worked for the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in his congressional office in Washington, D.C.

While there, she attended speeches and gatherings on Capitol Hill with prominent members of congress, committee chairmen and officials in the Bush administration.

“One of my best memories was seeing President Bush address a gathering of thousands at a fundraiser put on by the National Republican Congressional

Committee at the Washing-ton Convention Center,” she said.

Her various duties for the speaker inc-luded conducting research, attending committee hearings and drafting letters detailing the speaker’s views or actions on various policy issues.

“The next 10 weeks will be a crucial time in our nation’s history, with much riding on the outcome of November’s election,” she said. “Political activism, whether it’s in local contests, national campaigns, or with senators and congressmen in D.C., will be a turning point in this milestone election year.”