Published: Fresh U. July 24, 2016. Viewable here.
At just 22, Claire Chiara, a political science and economics double major at UC Berkeley is experiencing politics first-hand, although perhaps in a positions many of her more liberal peers would frown upon – she is a delegate for the Republican National Convention and a proud supporter of Donald Trump.
Chiara is the youngest California delegate for the RNC.
Although she fully supports the RNC’s presidential nominee, her beliefs differ somewhat from her party’s own platform. Chiara is pro-choice and pro same-sex marriage.
According to the LA Times, she started her high school’s Republican organization and is involved with several Republican groups at Berkeley, including one that supports LGBT+ rights. She is also president of the Berkeley College Republicans.
Though Chiara says supporting Trump is “a little tougher than just being a Republican,” her reasoning is clear and definite.
“He’s a businessman who cares about performance and results,” Chiara told Berkeley News. “He has a track record of hiring women. There’s an old quote of his about… hiring anyone who can get the job done.”
The process of becoming a delegate is complex and unlikely. However, one recommendation for Chiara came from the vice chair of the California Republican Party, Harmeet Dhillon, who said she was “extremely professional and hardworking.”
In addition to her selection as a Republican delegate from her congressional district, Chiara is also running for office. When she discovered that Tony Thurmond, a Democratic incumbent currently representing her district – District 15, which includes Berkeley – was running unopposed, she decided to drop her name in the hat.
Though a win is not anticipated, Chiara said Thurmond’s lack of opposition was “undemocratic and un-American,” and decided to run in an effort to expose voters to differing stances and positions.
“Even if I don’t win the election, I truly hope to start a conversation and remind each and every constituent of Assembly District 15 that they can ask questions,” Chiara told The Daily Californian. “They can decide whether they are being truly represented.”
Chiara has received criticism from her peers and online because of her status as a Berkeley student supporting Trump and the RNC, but she has affirmed her decision and stands strong in her beliefs.
“For me, being a Republican as a young person, as a woman, as a Californian, it all is very natural and feels appropriate,” Chiara told California Magazine. “I’m not questioning that identity at all, despite other people wanting me to.”