Recently I had the privilege of listening for a few hours to two freshman representatives to the Iowa House of Representatives. They talked much about their new day to day work lives as public servants, speaking at length about their committee assignments and bills they have been assigned to, but also discussing how they got there. One representative, 23 year-old Adam Zabner from Iowa City, had gotten into politics largely via the ‘campaign route’. At 19 and 20 years of age he worked full time for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign in his 2020 bid for democratic nominee for president. Here he built connections and the gained experience he used to run for office himself and win. He described relationships he has with friends who work as staffers and speechwriters in DC. It was all very fascinating, and made me wonder, as a young person considering a career in politics, what might be the best path and position for me?
When I first heard about speechwriting from Jon Favreau, President Obama’s director of speech writing and one of the youngest people to ever receive the job, I knew immediately that’s something I’d be extremely intersted by. Speechwriting combines my most inexhaustible interests and longest lived passions, politics and writing. I’ve been consuming politics for as long as I can remember. In 2012 I saw Obama speak at the Pentacrest in the University of Iowa. In 2016 I watched the election results arrive on a laptop with my little brother in my mom’s bed. In 2020 the democratic candidates came to speak in Iowa City, and I wrote political opinion pieces for my high school newspaper about their debates. Being a positive part of the political process, enacting change from the inside sounds like an amazing career choice.
This could also be done as a staffer. Negotiating, briefing, drafting legilsaiton, researching and reporting – seems to me like this is where it all happens. And I want to be there for it.
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