Republican Politics Today

Exploring the identity of the Grand Old Party

by Zita Petrahai '18

A panel of Republican insiders and leaders will explore what it means to be a member of the GOP in today’s widely divided political atmosphere during a discussion, Republican Politics Today, on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium. You can watch the discussion live online via livestream.

The panel will draw on state and national politics to explore the identities of Republicans today. It also will break down different definitions of conservatism and the challenges many Republicans face in Pennsylvania, a swing state, while adding context to political debates on the Dickinson campus.

The panel is composed of Reneé Amoore, deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania; Robert Borden, deputy staff director of the House Committee on Oversight; Jim Gerlach '77, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Brandon Ferrance, chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans; and moderator David O’Connell, assistant professor of political science at Dickinson.

Amoore was the first woman and African American to chair a Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the first African American elected to the Upper Merion School District School Board. She also did roll call at the 2000 RNC and was a keynote speaker for the 2008 RNC. 

Borden has served on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years, including as director of oversight for former House Speaker John Boehner, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He also served as counsel to the select committees that investigated the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Gerlach serves as president and chief executive officer of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). From 2003 to 2015, Gerlach represented Pennsylvania’s sixth district in Congress. He also served four years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and eight years in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Gerlach graduated from Dickinson in 1977 and received an honorary degree from the college earlier this year.

Ferrance serves as vice chairman on the executive committee of the Cumberland County Republican Committee and on the Credentials Committee of the College Republican National Committee. He was also named in PoliticsPA’s 30 Under 30 list as one of Pennsylvania’s 2016 Rising Stars.

O’Connell is a frequent media commentator on American politics, having written opinion pieces for CNBC, The Hill and The Washington Times. His expertise has appeared in outlets ranging from The Christian Science Monitor to the Associated Press. His research is published in Presidential Studies Quarterly, and his first book, God Wills It: Presidents and the Political Use of Religion, was recently re-released in paperback.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Division of Student Life, the departments of American studies and psychology and the policy studies program. The panel was initiated by Clarke Forum student project managers.

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Published October 2, 2017