BY LEAH WILLINGHAM '17
President of the Mount Holyoke College Republicans Kassy Dillon ’18 has been appointed to the board of directors of the Western Mass Republicans political action committee with a focus on leading the organization’s youth engagement efforts.
Dillon’s team will be reaching out to voters ages 18–35 to encourage their involvement in state and national elections. Dillon said this is a huge necessity in a region where republicans “aren’t as engaged in politics” as they could be.
While Young Republicans chapters exist in the larger cities of Boston and Worcester, there are not many organizations in western Massachusetts geared specifically towards young Republicans, Dillon said.
“There is definitely a huge need for a group to come out and say ‘We’re here for you’ to millennial Republicans,” Dillon said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do now with this coalition.”
A Middle Eastern studies and international relations major, Dillon has been involved in politics since she arrived at Mount Holyoke in 2014.
This was an adjustment for Dillon. Dillon, who grew up in Chicopee, said she never devoted much time to politics in high school. That all changed at Mount Holyoke when she responded to a post by her classmate Yvonne Dean-Bailey, who later went on to leave Mount Holyoke and run for New Hampshire state representative, in the Class of 2018 Facebook page.
“[Dean-Bailey] said, ‘I’m sort of a risk taker, but are any of you guys Republicans?’” Dillon remembered.
Dillon responded, saying that yes, she was a Republican. But after that, she immediately felt like she stood out at the college.
“My first week at orientation, people would see us, and say, ‘Oh, it’s the Republican girls,” Dillon said.
But she soon gained confidence, and Dillon has been fearlessly outspoken about her political beliefs since then.
She has worked for the Charlie Baker campaign, and the Council for National Policy in Washington D.C., and also founded Lone Conservative, a right-wing commentary site for conservative students on liberal college campuses.
This semester, Dillon wants to encourage more Mount Holyoke students to participate in the College Republicans. She said she had around 30 people sign up for the group at the organization fair.
One way she’s thought of encouraging participation is inviting more Republican speakers to campus. She currently has her eyes set on Ben Shapiro, Editor in Chief of the Daily Caller, who she hopes to see on campus in November. She is also working with the College Democrats to see if they can get a speaker to debate Shapiro.
“Ben Shapiro is the guy that all young conservatives look up to,” she said. “Hopefully that will encourage some more students to join our organization.”