Members of the James Madison College Conservatives decided upon hosting a large event before the end of the year, early on in the semester. The idea originally for the event was to involve 6 candidates for Governor - 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats - as to promote a bipartisan event, and to provide an opportunity for the state to hear all the candidates at once.
The Michigan State Governmental Affairs Staff took up this idea with JMCC, and actively began working on plans of hosting this bipartisan event at the Breslin Student Events Center (Basketball Arena). WKAR/PBS was actively involved as well in the planning process, as they were secured to ultimately broadcast this large event to the whole state at once.
Planning for the event was a battle; a constant fight to attain the audience of the highest ranking member of each campaign team. Eventually, working our way to the campaign manager of all top campaigns for Governor. High level negotiations ensued, multiple meetings were had, and numerous conference calls were made in the process of convincing the campaigns to follow our organization into a never-before-seen event type in Michigan politics. The good news: 4/6 campaigns ultimately decided they were on board with the idea... the bad news: two of the teams on the Democratic side ultimately denied us. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we tried our very best to provide a suitable and equal opportunity to both sides of the aisle to present their points to the State of Michigan. With their declining responses however, we were forced to adapt into a new sort of event...
Following our attempts with the larger event at the Breslin Center, the MSU Student Union contacted JMCC and advised us on a possible opportunity to use their Ballroom as a place for a smaller event if we deemed it desirable. We took up this request and toured the ballroom - beautiful place we had never seen on campus - and figured this would be perfectly suitable for an event between just the Republican candidates for Governor. Three teams agreed to come - Lt. Governor Brian Calley, State Senator Patrick Colbeck, and Dr. Jim Hines. Unfortunately, we could not garner the support from Attorney General Bill Schuette for this event, but we carried on nonetheless as this would be one of the largest Conservative events MSU had come to its campus in recent years.
We set out than to plan our event as a Republican Gubernatorial Townhall as to give the campaigns an opportunity to be asked questions from JMCC and from the audience in attendance. We set up committees following our event announcement as to delegate work on this large event. The James Madison College even stepped up and offered to fully sponsor the event and pay for all the expenses we incurred from the MSU Union. This was a great moment for JMCC, as we were obviously recognizable enough in the University to give money to - so we could work on holding more events like this in the future. JMCC set out to promote this event to the entire campus!
Our advertising committee set out to hang fliers in every residence hall on campus, setting up tables at residence halls across campus, and got ahold of all the local newspapers in the area. State News, the Lansing State Journal, and many TV networks in fact ran stories about our upcoming event. Our conservative activism was something "MSU hadn't seen in decades" as put by one senior MSU Administrator. We knew the resources we had found, the contacts and relationships we had established, and the many connections we formed across campus in the formulation of this event and our last, was something very special - and we set out to use those connections in all possible ways to promote JMCC above all the rest.
With the help of our members, JMCC was able to provide for the candidates an intriguing opportunity for open discussion on campus - one they were all pleased to join in on. So, on April 3rd, JMCC along with many volunteers was able to host our townhall for Governor. With questions pouring in from the audience, JMCC President Adam Green and Vice-President Garrett Zylinski asked dozens of questions to the candidates on topics ranging from the economy, healthcare, education, and our infrastructure! An informative debate ensued, candidates clashing civilly back and forth as they jived for the votes of the audience-goers. JMCC is proud of our big first event on campus, and know that this event is not the peak of our success, but rather the ultimate foundation, as we move forward into the new year with new ideas for even larger stages... We advise you to stick around, enjoy the debates, and look out for JMCC in the near future.
A complete video recap of the 2018 MSU Republican Gubernational Townhall hosted by The James Madison College Conservatives. Featuring Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Senator Patrick Colbeck, and Dr. Jim Hines! We hope you enjoy the great commentary!