Politically active young Republican and campus senior Claire Chiara, 22, is the youngest California delegate to attend the Republican National Convention.
Chiara, who is a former The Daily Californian news reporter majoring in political science and economics, was selected as one of the three delegates of District 13 to represent the Republican voters of her congressional district in support of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump at the RNC.
Harmeet Dhillon, vice chair of the California Republican Party, was among those who recommended Chiara as a delegate. When asked to identify potential candidates for delegates at the RNC, Dhillon said Chiara’s name naturally came to mind.
“(Chiara) is extremely professional and hardworking,” Dhillon said.
But before becoming a California delegate for District 13, Chiara had extensive experience as an active Republican in a relatively liberal community.
According to campus professor of political science Lowell Dittmer, the campus maintains an open and tolerant atmosphere, giving students with different ideologies opportunities to discuss them with each other.
“Conservatives and Republicans are in a definite minority and probably feel somewhat embattled,” Dittmer said. He added that the campus, nonetheless, remains a diverse and international environment that is understanding of those who hold different political beliefs.
Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Chiara moved to Los Angeles County when she was about 10 years old. She grew up in Redondo Beach and attended Redondo Union High School before coming to UC Berkeley as a 2013 spring admit.
In the fall of her sophomore year, Chiara decided to join Berkeley College Republicans. A year later, Chiara became president of the club.
“Berkeley is arguably the most liberal college in America, and I knew that coming into this school,” Chiara said. “I love Berkeley and, going back, I would not choose to go to a different university.”
Chiara is currently running for the District 15 seat on the California State Assembly, which she says is “more about making a point than electing a 22-year-old to lead the district.”
Chiara said her experience as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic region has given her unique insight into opposing perspectives, making her a stronger Republican.
“I feel that the adversity I experience on this campus strengthens my own resolve,” Chiara said. “It encourages me to research and understand the issue and truly grasp and convey my ideals with people who hold different beliefs.”
Even though Chiara is still young, Charles Moran, a political fundraising consultant and fellow Young Republican member, noted that her young age gives her an advantage to learn, gain valuable experiences and build up to a successful career.
“This is just an amazing week,” Chiara said. “I’m exhausted, but it’s a blast.”