Rising Vermont GOP star: Sydney Fuqua of Middlebury College.
Middlebury’s Republican Party members held their political caucus Sept. 28 to elect new local leaders. A surprise to some was the election of its new chairwoman, 20-year-old Sydney Fuqua.
Fuqua, a junior enrolled at Middlebury College, represents a growing, younger face to the Grand Old Party. She is a rising star within the campus GOP movement on a state level, too.
Also elected in Middlebury were outgoing chairman Jack Burkholder as assistant chairman, Pauline Paolini as secretary, Brian Bauer as treasurer, and Don Keeler as assistant treasurer.
Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas was guest speaker at Wednesday’s caucus. He encouraged party faithful not to “give up the fight” in attempts to balance state government.
“We need balance in Montpelier,” Douglas said, “and you just don’t see that with the current supermajority. Vermont has one party government and you see the result. Republicans need to get the message out: Vermont is better with balanced, two party government.”
According to GOP veteran Sally Foley of Middlebury—who championed Fuqua’s candidacy for local party chair—the Middlebury College student represents young people’s growing discontent with the Democrats, President Obama, and their inability to seriously tackle the nation’s debt crisis.
“The future of our party is with young voters,” she said, “and Sydney represents that new face. I think she and many other young people recognize our nation is in peril.”
Fuqua, a native of Tulsa, Ok., is a political science and economics major at the college. She is chairwoman of the Vermont College Republicans and co-chair, with Katie Earle, of the Middlebury College Republicans.
Fuqua became involved in politics in Oklahoma at the age of 9. She was active in the 2000 campaign to elect George W. Bush as president.
“My family is conservative and I am very interested in where we are going as a nation,” she said.
Fuqua noted that ex Gov. Jim Douglas, who is a member of the faculty at Middlebury College, is an inspiration to campus Republicans.
“I wanted to be in an environment where I knew my views would be challenged, so that’s why I love the college,” she said.
Fuqua said students, while mostly liberal in their political views, have been respectful of her rising star as a campus GOP leader. She said their are more students showing interest in the GOP than in recent years.
“Sure I get some negative comments about my views,” she said, “but most of my classmates are very accepting of me.”
She also said first-year students are more willing than others to consider Republicans when they vote in the upcoming election.
The Vermont Republican Party hopes to make gains in the Vermont House in the next election both over dissatisfaction with national politics and over how state funds are being managed.