By Elley Myers
Alicia Starko is a 25-year-old graduate student at the University of St. Thomas–Houston who has led a “BabesForTrump” crusade to put Donald Trump in the White House.
A legal immigrant from Canada, Starko grew up in a household where her father leaned right and her mother was neutral. Starko said she was raised to reach her own conclusions on political policy.
“I have always stood for small government, strong family values, God and a free market,” Starko said.
Starko passionately advocates Trump’s vision for immigration. When Starko was 2-years-old, her family hired an immigration lawyer and went through the process of becoming legal citizens.
“We need to stop the tidal wave of illegal aliens pouring into this country who are eviscerating our economy and bringing crime with them,” Starko said.
— Alicia Starko (@AliciaStarko) May 18, 2016
Starko has received media attention for her support of Donald Trump and calls herself a “BabesforTrump” girl.
#BabesForTrump became a social media hashtag after women posted pictures of themselves in bikinis and “Make America Great Again” hats. After Starko posted her “BabesForTrump” picture, the photo went viral.
“BabesforTrump wants to make it clear that young women do support Trump, despite the media spin,” Starko said.
Starko began using the media attention to cultivate a platform that would encourage women to be more active and opinionated when it comes to the presidential election.
Starko said she strives to embolden women to speak out about their beliefs when it comes to political policy.
University of Houston’s College Republican organization is one of several Republican student organizations that have chosen not to endorse Trump. Jordan Smith, University of Houston’s College Republican president, shares a different opinion concerning the #Babes4Trump campaign.
— Alicia Starko (@AliciaStarko) September 5, 2016
“This is a dumb idea,” Smith said. “It’s a millennial tactic that makes Trump look like what Donald Trump is.”
Starko said she felt it was necessary to expand her political views beyond “BabesforTrump” into another organization called Students4Trump in order to broaden her scope.
Students4Trump is a nationwide student organization that seeks to inform people about Trump’s policies and principles in the hope that Trump will win the presidential election. Starko continues to be an advocate for Students4Trump despite the opposition it faces from neighboring College Republican campuses that do not endorse Trump.
The Republican student organizations at Texas A&M, Rice University and the University of Houston have made the decision to not endorse Trump as the Republican candidate.
Elana Margosis, a Rice University student reporter, wrote an article this September regarding Rice University’s College Republican’s decision to reject a Trump endorsement. Margosis interviewed several student Republicans at different campuses as well as members of the Rice chapter of Students4Trump.
— Alicia Starko (@AliciaStarko) June 2, 2016
“Club leadership was split at Rice while Students4Trump had a much more unified position.” Margosis said.
According to Margosis, Rice’s Republican organization’s decision not to endorse Trump was democratic. Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters had the chance to debate their views before a vote was taken.
UH Republican organization’s decision to not endorse Trump was made by its board members, Smith said. This was in an effort to bring unity to the Republican group.
In an email to Margosis regarding Rice’s Republican organization’s decision, Starko stated that she believes anyone who is against Trump is automatically a Hillary Clinton supporter.
“We fear that your negative influence upon your conscience will cost us this election, allowing the radical left to hang onto the Oval Office.” Starko said in an email to Margosis.
Smith maintains that organizations like Students4Trump have become too aggressive, and that Students4Trump only supports one view-point. Smith believes that groups like Students4Trump promote authoritarianism rather than democracy.
— Alicia Starko (@AliciaStarko) June 28, 2016
For Starko, this election cycle has developed her interest in public policy. She said she is excited about having the opportunity to share her views and will continue to use the media to extend her reach.
Starko said she will remain involved in politics after the election.