SHU Hosts Connecticut GOP Panel for Students

On Oct. 24 in the Dr. Michelle Loris Forum, a panel of Connecticut Republicans attended a discussion on “The Future of the Connecticut GOP.” GOP stands for Grand Old Party, also known as the Republican Party. Moderating the discussion was Dr. Gary Rose, a political science professor at Sacred Heart University, and Ben Proctor, chair of the Connecticut Republican Party.

Some of the panel members included Laura Devlin, former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and 2022 candidate for Lt. Governor, Senator Ryan Fazio, 36th District, and Senator Tony Hwang, 28th District.

Rose recently published his 15th book “Connecticut Republicans” on Jan. 1, 2023, which was the inspiration for the panel coming to Sacred Heart. Rose wrote this book because he believes in a two-party system and is concerned about the quality of our democracy, especially in Connecticut.

“For years, Republicans have been the minority in Connecticut and that threatens democracy in the state,” said Rose. “The purpose of bringing the panel here was not an attempt to promote the party but to bring attention to how important it is to understand state politics and how troubled the party is.”

Along with Rose, during the discussion, the members of the panel agreed that the cause of the Republican Party being a minority is due to the media.

“When you really dig down to understand the facts, the labeling that the media gives the GOP has an agenda. The media really buys into it,” said Hwang.

Not only does Hwang attribute national media, but he talked in the forum about how young people today rarely turn on the news, and instead get their news from a 15-second video on TikTok. Hwang does not believe this is enough time for people to stay informed on an issue. He encouraged the strengthening of local news outlets.

Rose, knowing how important it is to present students with a balanced view, makes the utmost attempt to remain unbiased when teaching.

“Unfortunately, now politics is rhetoric, labels, villains, and victims,” said Hwang. Hwang explained how these labels cause extreme frustration to politicians like himself but are a cause of the disparity between parties. Hwang suggested a change in this narrative that is

recently portrayed in politics can be fixed, but is caused by candidates not narrowing their focus to what is going on in their backyard.

“No longer do you have candidates that have served the community and focused on representing, but just about their agendas,” said Hwang.

“Starting small and having a local focus is a way to not only grow the party and change the narrative but also strengthen democracy and the party in the state of Connecticut,” said Devlin. “It’s those incremental wins that will make a big difference.”

The GOP of Connecticut does not expect to win every city, however, starting small and working their way up is their goal.

“We need to start from the ground up. We need a strong base for a party to grow and develop.

Students like you are the future,” said Rose.

About the author

Staff Writer

Leave a Reply