While this week was calmer in ISM than the previous set of weeks has been, I still learned an incredible amount of information about pursuing a career in public policy. My mentor introduced me to two of her colleagues that I was able to interview. From these experiences, I learned a lot about political campaign consulting and staff positions in the White House.
In my first interview, I talked with a local campaign consultant. She explained how she believes local politics is the most important level because it’s the springboard for politicians to reach Washington D.C. Additionally, she explained how involved campaigns are and how she has adapted to major changes in social media and population growth in the town. As I left the interview, I was intrigued. While campaigns are more politics than they are policy, I was still curious to learn more about how people work on campaigns to shape the policies after the election. From this interview, I decided that I want volunteer on a local campaign this year to further my research and studies in public policy.
Later on in the week, I interviewed a former student and colleague of my mentor. She managed Karen Hughes’s office during George W. Bush’s first presidential term, after having worked on his campaign. Throughout my entire interview with her, I was incredibly impressed with every aspect of her former job. She told me about how long the days were, while still being rewarding. I also learned about the shift from President Bush’s domestic political agenda to a White House at war after September 11th. After our interview, I felt as if I wanted pursue a staff position more than a campaign career. However, I am still open and excited to explore multiple different opportunities to work in public policy.