The Chronicle talked to Duke College Republicans Chair Taylor Imperiale, a senior, about the state of North Carolina politics and what the group's goals are for the coming year.
The Chronicle: What are your plans for the year?
Taylor Imperiale: A lot of what we’re going to try to do is find like-minded students who can talk about politics. At the activities fair we [had] a straw ballot for the 2016 presidential candidates. We also have a variety of social events for our members to not only have a group that’s about politics, but also a group that’s formed a social group based on similar views. We always try to influence people and make it known that Duke has a variety of opinions on campus and we’re not necessarily in the same boat.
TC: How many active members do you have?
TI: It varies and it’s hard to know at the beginning of the year. Our executive board is comprised of nine members. We have about 30 to 40 students who tend to show up to events. Our listserv has over 400 people.
TC: What is your biggest political issue right now?
TI: The state government has obviously passed laws that I think are very important and very good as the voter ID law, for example, which I think are very beneficial. Immigration reform is probably the most important issue right now. It’s the Republican Party’s best issue. In the interest of policy it would be best to adopt some kind of immigration reform.
TC: You mentioned you support the voter ID law. Can you elaborate?
TI: In this country to do just about anything you have to have some kind of identification. It’s pretty strange to me that the most fundamental aspect of being an American citizen is something you don’t need an ID for. [The government] makes it incredibly easy to get an ID for free. It makes sure there is no voter fraud going on. It’s certainly helpful to make sure people have one.
TC: What are your thoughts on Moral Monday?
TI: The demonstration I think is a good part of democracy. I disagree with the stance they take. They continue to have the right to protest and say what they want— I just fundamentally disagree with what they have to say.
TC: Can students actually make a difference by being politically involved on campus?
TI: I think of course they do. It’s one of the most important things you can do as students and as Americans—becoming informed and becoming adults. Voting is important but voting can only do so much. To express yourself and be honest—the way to do that is to be involved in the community.
TC: What is your relationship with Duke Democrats?
TI: We haven’t had any collaborations yet. Obviously it’s still very early. I certainly hope that we… can have bipartisan support. I would always look forward to a lively debate. We had two campus debates last year and we would gladly take that up again.