The Youngest Republican Chair in State Party History Is Done With the GOP
Kolby LaMarche was a star in the making, but he could no longer support a party pushing the politics of division
Kolby LaMarche is in his first year at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, where he’s studying communications and law. He enjoys food, hiking, and playing with his cat — and until last week, he was the chair of the Burlington Republican Party.
LaMarche was elected to his role in January 2019, when he was 17, which (he’s pretty sure) makes him the youngest chair in state party history. But LaMarche grew concerned with the growing extremism within his party’s ranks, and posted on social media and wrote several op-eds for the local website VTDigger demanding party leaders distance themselves from former President Trump. Finally, after months of criticism by local GOP leaders, LaMarche announced his resignation on February 18. “As a result of [the state Republican Party’s] fixation on loyalty to narcissistic national leaders and their adoption of a politics of personal revenge, I am disappointed to conclude that it is no longer productive for me to serve the remainder of my term as chair,” LaMarche wrote in a letter addressed to Burlington Republican Party Committee Members. The letter marks the end, at least for now, of one of the Vermont GOP’s more promising young political careers. We spoke with LaMarche about his party’s sycophancy for the former president and what he plans to do next.
GEN: You wrote a number of op-eds criticizing your own party, including one shortly after the Capitol riots demanding the resignation of Deb Billado, chair of the Vermont Republican Party, for her support of President Trump. What prompted you to publish?
Kolby LaMarche: I used to be a Trump supporter, but I began to have hesitations about supporting him around mid-2019. When I became chair in September 2019, I started to voice my concerns about him.
At that point, it seemed like every time I disagreed with the president, my friends in the party — or people who I thought were my friends — wouldn’t allow me to criticize him. I needed to have undying loyalty to him if they were to tolerate me. It was at that point that I saw our…