As many of you know, earlier this week the State Chairman for the Colorado Federation of College Republicans, Vince Szilagyi, released a press release asserting that the Federation “support[s] Civil Unions more strongly than ever.”
The problem is, it’s not true.
In fact, this was merely a statement made of the State Chair, by the State Chair, and for the State Chair. Despite this, it was made to look like the announcement was, in fact, on behalf of a united College Republicans.
As the former chair of the Regis University College Republicans, a continued advocate for College Republicans across the state, and a member of the media, I feel compelled to shed light on what really happened.
At the Federation Convention in 2011, during my tenure as President of the Regis University College Republicans, a strong majority of those in attendance approved a resolution favoring civil unions. That same resolution, to my knowledge, was not considered a binding resolution to be used for the future CFCR boards.
(As a side note, I voted for that resolution, and have been on the record as favoring civil unions on television and on the radio for some time now. That is a debate that I have had with fellow Republicans and conservatives, and one which I am ready to continue to have.)
Regardless of my personal views, as chapter chairs and representatives of our respective schools’ Republicans, again, our understanding was that it was a short-term resolution of the Federation as represented at the convention. We knew that this may or may not be continued at the 2012 state gathering and at future conventions, and understood that future groups of College Republican leaders may have differing views on this and other issues.
At the state convention in 2012, there was no such vote on resolutions. There was no extension of support by the chapters, individually or at large. There was no discussion on the issue whatsoever.
And my friends who are still in the College Republicans (both at the chapter and state leadership levels) tell me they hadn’t discussed the subject at all.
In fact, I haven’t heard a peep about civil unions from my friends in the College Republicans in a long time.
That is, until last Tuesday – when the State Chair unilaterally sent out his press release.
I have since been informed that not a single chapter chair I know, nor those I know in the chair’s own state leadership team, were made at all aware that this public statement would come out. Nor did they give their consent or even have the opportunity to do so.
Let me repeat: this press release, which seems to represent Colorado’s College Republicans on the whole and gives off that impression, was made without consultation with or the support of the member chapters and other state leaders of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans.
Yet it was made to seem as though this was the case, and the Chair spoke on behalf of the Federation.
I am a proud former chapter chair, who still has many friends in College Republicans, and has opened his arms to help any CR who needs it.
I maintain a deep faith and a sincere belief that this organization has an outstanding record of training the next generation of Republican leaders to successfully elect conservative candidates to office, engage them in the political process, and teach our future leaders the importance of collaboration and teamwork to get things done for the good of both party and principle.
Consequently, I am extremely disturbed and disappointed by this development, which I feel cuts into that very notion of what the CFCR stands for..
Although many College Republicans do favor passage of civil unions, it was inappropriate and incorrect for the State Chairman to publicly and unilaterally make this broad statement on a controversial issue such as this. He was not at all ‘clear’ that other chapters did not favor this announcement or declare support for this position.
That a State Chairman of the College Republicans – in this case, Vince Szilagyi - would unilaterally send out a press release taking a stand on an extremely controversial issue, on behalf of his constituents, without so much as talking to his fellow College Republicans or even attempting to do so – it surprises and disheartens me greatly.
I have already talked with a number of people in different political circles who have heard about this news, as word has gotten around, and I’ve even read that this statement was even referenced in testimony before the state legislature. As a longtime supporter of CR’s, I think the record needs to be set straight.
Please let your friends know that, while many (I’d say most) College Republicans may support civil unions in Colorado, their voices were not heard. They had no say. They did not consent.
The press release was both inaccurate and did not appropriately represent the views of Colorado’s CR’s.
Whether you favor civil unions, as I do, or you do not, there can be no doubt that this is not the appropriate way to advocate for an issue given such a position of leadership.