Welcome to JMCC!
My name is Garrett Zylinski and I am a third-year student in the James Madison College, dual majoring in International Relations and Finance with a minor in Spanish. I have the privilege to serve as JMCC’s President at a period in this group’s short history that is extraordinarily exciting—characterized by rapid growth, unhampered ambition, and an eager member base that is dedicated to challenging the status quo for collegiate politicking!
As an Eagle Scout who has served in several administrative leadership roles, I intend to work diligently with the elected board and group members to continue JMCC’s tradition of encouraging bipartisan, civil discourse within the college setting and beyond. My vision for the group this year includes: continuing to attract high-grade political and academic speakers, organizing thought-provoking peer to peer dialogue, and adding a community service element to the club.
Our organization's nameksake James Madison once wisely stated,
"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."
In the year to come JMCC will be on the frontline of the mission to encourage our peers to take an active and thoughtful role in the politics that govern us. I look forward to meeting new members and sharing ideas that will meaningfully contribute to our student body.
Outside of the group I enjoy skiing, golfing and camping. Currently I am interested in pursuing a career in wealth management.
My name is Alex Jasukaitis and I am delighted to serve as the James Madison College Conservative’s Vice-President. Prior to my involvement in this club, I organized a local bipartisan “Rock the Vote” discussion at one of the largest high schools in Michigan, Eisenhower High School. I first became involved in politics during the 2016 presidential election, as the tensions between both parties became clear to me that our country is at a vital point in politics.
I am thrilled to be able to serve in the James Madison College Conservative’s because we insist on having a conservative and liberal voice to be shared in our numerous bipartisan debates on campus in the James Madison College. Our group strives to foster an environment where civil political discourse can be shared in an intelligent manner. I am honored that our club’s core values of civil discourse will continue in the years to come, and am proud of our accomplishments so soon after our founding; these include our numerous bipartisan debates, speakers affiliated with both major political parties, and the 2018 Republican Gubernatorial debate.
It is important to remember that even though our core members are generically conservative in nature, we all have different stances on political issues. The fact that our members even disagree with each other on many public policy issues explain the need for an organization that encompasses all political ideologies, and can promote civil discourse in the way that JMCC does. Let us all have another successful year everyone!
In my free time I enjoy hiking, kayaking, skiing, and reading a good book by the fire! I love the many people in JMCC already, and cannot wait to meet many more!
My name is Katie Kobiljak and I have the privilege to be JMCC's secretary for the 2019-2020 year! I am currently a junior studying Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy with a minor in Public Relations and a place in the Honor's College. Being a part of this club during my three years at Michigan State has been amazing, and having an elected position really gives me the opportunity to give back to both the club and the university by ensuring we stay true to our values and encourage bipartisan discussion on campus!
Promoting bipartisanship within JMCC through our events is something very important to me. Seeing how polarized our government has become to the point where compromise is practically impossible has made me so incredibly frustrated throughout the years. I have always thought of myself as willing to listen to anyone and everyone's opinions so that I can work with them, and the fact that seeing that sort of mentality rarely reflected in our government is very disheartening.
However, seeing all of the members of JMCC so willing and eager to promote bipartisanship with different debates and speakers from every party gives me a lot of hope for the future of our country-- I believe that people like us who are interested in politics and willing to work and interact with people with all sorts of mindsets is exactly what America needs.
Outside of JMCC, I work as a tour guide for Michigan State and as a ski patroller at Boyne Highlands. I am also involved in a couple other clubs on campus, like Club Tennis and CHAARG. In my free time, you can normally find me watching tennis or Friends with my cat, Ivan!
My name is Mark Bassett and I am the Treasurer of the James Madison College Conservatives, and I look forward to continuing to serve this great organization as we as an organization look forward to and plan our second year. I am entering my third year as a student of Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy with a minor in European Studies. I currently do not have any work experience in politics, but I am hoping to change that this upcoming year.
When JMCC first started I was most excited about having a conservative think tank, but when we really got going the open discourse across the political aisle became the best part. Having grown up in upstate New York I have constantly been around people with differing views from myself, and most of the time discussions would quickly devolve from policy and become personal attacks. At JMCC we have fantastic discussions amongst ourselves and with others to help tear down the barriers separating those from the left and the right.
I am really excited for what this next year holds for our organization. In past years we hosted a republican gubernatorial town hall as well as an array of other speakers. This year we are hoping to hit the ground running and are planning some HUGE events across campus. I hope to see a lot of new faces at our meetings this year!
My name is Gavyn Webb, and I have the pleasure of serving as James Madison College Conservatives Communications Director this year. I am a sophomore in James Madison double majoring in Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy and International Relations.
This year I hope to use JMCCs social media platforms to help expand the membership of this club by promoting our bipartisan debates, and other events we put on throughout the year.
In todays political climate having civil political conversations is essential, through spreading, challenging, and strengthening our ideas with once another our generation can be the generation that works across party lines, and different ideological beliefs, to strengthen our democratic principles.
I look forward to seeing what this year has in store for this organization, and I look forward to getting to know all of our new and returning members.
My name is Jack Harrison and I am honored to serve as the freshman representative for the James Madison College Conservatives. I plan to double major in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy and Journalism.
In high school, I strived to communicate the conservative message in a very liberal community. I wrote an award-winning column for the school paper, “The Conservative Corner,” with the goal of addressing the misconceptions about conservative viewpoints among my peers and educators. As part of my effort, I reestablished my high school’s Young Conservative club, providing a safe zone for conservative students to have open dialogue and engage with local conservative leaders and speakers. As a club, we coordinated and engaged in debates with the Young Democrats, demonstrating that civil and effective bipartisan discussions are possible. We also worked together annually to register students to vote.
I have already had the pleasure to be exposed to Michigan politics as I worked for two summers in the office of former State Representative Laura Cox, who is our current party chair. I also assisted with her state Senate campaign, as well as the campaigns of other Republican candidates during the 2018 election year. Finally, this past summer, I interned for the state party, where I helped develop youth programs and got more involved with party operations.
I am looking forward to furthering the efforts of the club, and I plan to focus on increasing freshman engagement in club activities. I am committed to helping foster an environment where conservative students feel safe and comfortable to speak openly about their views. I also want to promote the club as a resource for students to become better equipped to address misconceptions about conservative policy. I am excited to continue pursuing bipartisan forums and want to expand fund raising efforts.
We must continue to fight to preserve free speech, while exercising respect and compassion for everyone. In my free time I enjoy writing, golfing, biking and hiking.