September 22, 2017

FMU students elected to lead S.C. College Republicans

FMU students elected to lead S.C. College Republicans

Much can be said about the merits of taking chances and seizing opportunities in college.

Just ask the three students from Francis Marion University who are now the highest-ranking members of the South Carolina College Republican apparatus.

Tyler Hughes, a senior from Cane Branch, was elected the South Carolina College Republican’s (SCCR) chairman over the summer. Austin Halliburton, a senior from Goose Creek is the second vice chair and Kylie Cracknell, a senior from Murrells Inlet, is the membership director.

SCCR records aren’t comprehensive of the organization’s history, but the ascent of an FMU student to the chairmanship is a rare event, as students from the state’s larger universities have long dominated the SCCR.

Hughes, who has volunteered for various political campaigns since his freshman year, says it was just a matter of seizing an opportunity.

Hughes says that is what and his friends have been doing since they arrived at FMU.

“We all kind of met at the student involvement fair when we were freshman,” says Hughes. “We went to the first chapter meeting (of FMU’s College Republicans) and were just about the only ones there. We saw that wasn’t going to fly, so we wound up running as a ticket.”

The trio helped build the membership of the FMU College Republicans – the group now boasts more than 100 members and regular meeting attendance of 20 to 30 students – then set their sights on the state organization.

All three FMU students have been political junkies since high school. They say that more students ought to take an interest in politics.

“It really does make a difference,” says Cracknell, a political science major. “There are politics in almost every part of life. Being involved is important.”

Halliburton is replacing Hughes as the chair of the FMU chapter of the College Republicans. Cracknell is the local chapter’s vice chair.