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Joel Pollack, VSU College Republicans president, is running for vice president of the Georgia College Republicans Association. (Image provided by @RealJoelPollack)

Student politician seeks statewide office

Written by Gabe Burns, editor-in-chief

Already chairman of the VSU College Republicans, Joel Pollack has set his sights higher.

Pollack, a junior, is running for vice chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans. He currently serves as the GACR’s southern regional director, overseeing five chapters.

He and the candidate chairman, Joshua Aaron of ABAC, are running on the unprecedented “A Better Way for GACR” ticket. The ticket emphasizes three points: unity, growth and fiscal responsibility in the Republican Party.

“We have certain points we’re trying to incorporate to help the party grow,” Pollack said. “This past election was a very divisive campaign, and we all know that President (Donald) Trump won. We want to use that same passion to give back to the party. We’re trying to unite the College Republicans to come out and prepare for the midterms.”

Pollack said he believes he’s the right man for the job. His position is an expansion of his incumbent role, focused on monitoring the different regions and chapters of Georgian College Republicans. The ticket intends to preserve Georgia as a conservative territory, per Pollack, as well as expand the party’s reach.

Since the early ‘70s, Georgia has been a dependably red state. Just three times since 1972 has Georgia voted Democrat: Twice for native Jimmy Carter (1976, 1980) and once for Bill Clinton (1992).

Trump won Georgia in the 2016 election, though Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the Atlanta metropolitan area with 66 percent of the vote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Among the blue counties were Gwinnett and Cobb, two of the state’s largest that had been red for a generation.

“Georgia is slowly leaning blue, and our job is to keep it going red,” Pollack said. “As College Republicans, we believe in hard-work, helping things go farther. We want to unify our college republicans, and grow and develop our organization. Part of what I’ve put together is helping the chairman candidate grow his platform on those three topics. Part of my job will be to oversee the different regions and chapters throughout the state.”

Pollack said most GACR meetings are via conference call. The group meets physically three or four times a year, in addition to a convention, two retreats and summer meetings. As vice chairman, Pollack would coordinate the retreats. He said rather than the relaxing events of year’s past, he wants them to be an opportunity for training, networking and leadership development.

“We want Georgia to be the biggest, best, boldest state organization there is (nationally),” he said.

Networking isn’t a new concept to Pollack. The GACR is part of the larger College Republican National Committee. While he works closely with the Florida committee, he’s met several political figures and up-and-comers based elsewhere. A few weeks ago, he chatted with Alex Walker, chairman of Wisconsin’s committee and son of Gov. Scott Walker. He’s previously interacted with then-candidate Trump, Sen. David Perdue, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Gov. Nathan Deal.

Pollack praised his party for its passion in the 2016 election. He said he wants to see it continue.

“The idea is to bring a bond together, to work together,” he said. “So we can bring the same fire and passion of this past election all the way up midterms and beyond.”

The nation is often considered at a crossroads following the 2016 election. Pollack said he wants citizens to stay positive about President Trump.

“Hold optimism,” he said. “It’s important to be positive. He’s done some things the public hasn’t agreed with, but he’s also done a lot of good so far for the American people. He’s brought down those regulations so people can have those jobs; not worry if they’re able to put food on the table. He’s helped bring those jobs and that opportunity back to the table. Keep being optimistic, and I do see our country going on the upwards.”

Pollack will learn the results at the GACR convention April 28-29 in Atlanta. As a healthcare administration major and political science minor, Pollack said he’s intrigued by eventually assisting legislators in healthcare policy.

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