Meet Zoey Kotzambasis, the chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans.
Kotzambasis, a political science senior, became a member of the UA College Republicans the second she set her foot in bear down country, saying, “All right, sign me up! Got to find the College Republicans.”
During her freshman year in the club, she was the director of communications; her sophomore year, she was vice president; her junior year, she became president; and now she’s the chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans, the group that oversees all the College Republican clubs in the state.
Kotzambasis said she remembers first feeling a connection to politics during the straw poll in second grade when Bush ran against Gore. A young Kotzambasis felt an obligation toward the Republican Party because her parents were Republican, but didn’t actively become involved in politics until she co-founded the teenage Republican club at her high school.
In eighth grade American History, she had a favorite teacher whose liberal point of view brought her an understanding of her political beliefs. She never considered herself anything other than Republican. She said she remembers her grandfather telling her over Tim Russert on Meet the Press before church, “When in doubt, vote Republican.”
Kotzambasis reflected on her favorite parts about the UA College Republicans, saying that the Conservative Political Action Conference is “Christmas happening in Disneyland for conservatives.”
The club has shooting days where members go out to the range for Second Amendment days, and said she remembers the excitement of the first time she shot an automatic rifle. Through the club, she was interviewed by The New York Times when they did a voter profile series, which she said was an exciting time for her.
She is working for the Ducey for Governor campaign and McSally for Congress campaign. She said she values executive and business experience, and believes that with Doug Ducey’s work as treasurer and his business experience, he has the experience necessary to help the state’s economic future.
“What’s not to like about Martha?” she said, concerning McSally. “She’s a really good example of women in the party, and she’s a counterexample to the war on women.”
Kotzambasis said that she has never felt like the party has looked down upon her for her gender. She added that she is a Republican for equal rights.
“I’m a 21-year-old woman,” Kotzambasis said. “I should be, by most stereotypes, a liberal, and I’m not.”
She said that she feels that fiscal and national security issues outweigh social issues on her scale of priorities, but she does disagree on the Republican platform of traditional marriage. She said she is using her involvement in the party to try and change that. She said that she believes many conservatives have hijacked the word conservative, highlighting that the word means limited government — and that includes not placing limits on marriage.
“The youth are talking about how they don’t feel as though the GOP is in touch with them,” she said, “and the GOP is responding.”
She reflected on last year, when Brother Jed and his wife were calling themselves Republicans, and the UA Republicans stepped up to the plate and told them that they reject his hateful speech.
“I’d much rather be a part of the change and help the change from within,” Kotzambasis said.
She said she hopes that, through her activism and diligence in the community, she can reach out to more aware voters who are willing to invest their time into creating a government that will pay off in their best interest in the future.
Kotzambasis said she stresses to her peers that their votes and tax dollars are an investment.
“You are a shareholder in this country,” she said. “You can make a difference.”
Follow Christianna Silva on Twitter @christianna_j