Ellen Barrosse of Hockessin was recently elected unanimously to serve as National Committeewoman for the Delaware Republican Party. Barrosse is a businessperson and political activist, having founded a thriving global business – Synchrogenix – that has earned her multiple awards. Barrosse’s four-year term begins in September, following the GOP National Convention. TSD had the opportunity to speak with her about the challenge of turning the Delaware GOP around and her knack for organic farming.
TownSquareDelaware: First, what, exactly, are the duties of a party’s national committee person?
Ellen Barrosse: The National Committeewoman attends each of the four annual meetings of the Republican National Committee held around the country. She represents the interests of the state party then reports back on national business to the state committee. Each committeewoman stakes out different ways to contribute beyond that. In my business, I focus on putting together teams with the right people, giving those people the tools they need to do the job, then getting out of the way. I hope to be able to do the same thing to help build a winning team for the Delaware GOP.
TSD: What inspired you to serve in this role?
EB: I have always been interested in politics, but prior to seven years ago, I had not been involved at the state level. At that time, a bill was introduced to authorize destructive human embryonic stem cell research and human cloning via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). I led an effort opposing the bill, and against great odds, we succeeded. Since then, I have supported and raised money for Republican General Assembly candidates. I thought that someone with my strong business and conservative credentials might be able to help build a stronger, more cohesive party to give voters a real choice up and down the ballot, to offer an effective alternative to single-party rule.
TSD: The Delaware GOP holds only one statewide office and is the minority in both chambers of the General Assembly. What are your priorities as committee person to begin to make the DE GOP more competitive and even relevant again?
EB: As a party, we have not always done the best job in articulating an effective and meaningful message to the voters outside of the election cycles. I think that we are much closer today to being able to do so. As a party, we need to be able to connect with Independents and Democrats on a wide range of issues, from jobs to taxes to the environment. The question is, how do we best ensure a successful future for every American and every Delawarean? How do we ensure American leadership and the promise of opportunity that built this great country? The fact is, Republican ideas on these issues are better and more sustainable than Democrat ideas, but we have to make the arguments every day, 365 days a year. We also obviously need to recruit great candidates to take those messages to the voters.
TSD: You founded a successful business, Synchrogenix, that has brought you significant recognition including twice being named the Delaware Woman Business Owner of the Year. What is Synchrogenix?
EB: Synchrogenix is a global company with offices in four countries and five states in the US. We prepare the submissions to world regulatory agencies that get new drugs approved and keep existing drugs on the market. Most of our employees are scientists or doctors. We are growing rapidly, and we are the largest pharma regulatory submissions company worldwide. We will open a training office in Nashville in the fall, our ninth office.
TSD: Is it challenging separating your political activity from your business? That is, do you worry that your customers/clients might not agree with your political stands and take their business elsewhere?
EB: So far, it has not been an issue. The business world requires us to separate political beliefs from work. For example, many of my employees do not share my political views, but we have created an atmosphere of mutual respect and care, and each of us contributes to the success of the organization.
TSD: Tell us about Ellen Barrosse – where did you grow up and go to school?
EB: I was born in South Carolina to a DuPont engineer and a DuPont librarian, and I have lived in Delaware since the age of two. I am the oldest of six children. I graduated from Thomas McKean High School and the University of Delaware.
TSD: You are a busy lady – when you aren’t running an international business and helping get Republicans elected, what do you like to do?
EB: I love to read, and I spend a lot of time reading about politics and economics. I scour the Wall Street Journal, and there are several blogs I check out daily.
I love fiber arts – I’m interested in all forms, from sewing to spinning, weaving, knitting, etc. I also enjoy cooking.
I worked as a park naturalist in Brandywine Creek State Park when I was in college, and I met my husband there. We have a small organic farm in Hockessin – most years, I raise 100 chickens for the freezer, a dozen egg-laying hens, some ducks, two pigs, and 15 to 25 turkeys for my family and our friends. (Since my election to committeewoman this spring, I am outsourcing the pig raising to friends in Sussex County, but I will have turkeys this fall.) I am also a beekeeper, and I capture swarms to try to reproduce the wild bees that have some natural immunity to colony collapse disorder.
This winter we cleared three-quarters of an acre of woods on our property for an orchard, which I hope to plant this fall.
My biggest activity is working with my husband Paul to raise our youngest daughter, Sarah, who is 9. My older two are now independent — Laura, 27, teaches AP Chemistry at Sidwell Friends in Washington DC, and Mary, 23, is a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among other projects, she is working on developing a locally sourced feeding program for severely malnourished children.