Ohio Northern University alumna Miranda Wade attended the 2008 Republican National Convention through TWC's Campaign Seminar. The experience served as the foundation on which she's built her career in politics.
The 2008 RNC was the next stop after a political internship in D.C. for TWC alumna Miranda Wade. The lessons and connections from working the convention with the state party have kept her involved in political campaigns across her home state and the country ever since. The seminar was the switch from school-focused student to politics-focused professional.
What college/university did you attend? What was your major?
I attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio and majored in Political Science. A lot of students from ONU were doing The Washington Center programming as there has always been a great relationship between the school and TWC.
Which convention (site and year) did you attend? What was your work assignment there?
I attended the 2008 Republican National Convention held in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. At the convention, my initial work assignment was with former-Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. He was a professor at our university and I asked if I could volunteer on his staff, at the convention. The Ohio Republican Party (ORP) sort of absorbed me from there. ORP put me to work in operations. I walked in with a certain credibility because I came from the DeWine group. I helped put together delegate welcome packets before they arrived and then the next morning, welcomed the delegates as they came in. I was basically one of the people who helped keep the delegates organized. I was really focused on getting into the convention with the delegates each night, if possible. I made sure every time I heard there was a pass available, I got it.
What excited you about participating in the Convention Seminar? Why did you choose to make this part of your college experience?
I was going through college as a political science major excited about the campaign process. It was George Bush’s second term at the time. The Convention Seminar was something talked about on campus and I was familiar with TWC from my Academic Internship Program (AIP) internship the summer prior. During AIP I worked at GOPAC, a political action committee in D.C. TWC taught me during that summer the importance of networking, networking is everything. This industry is based on who you know, not what you’ve done. Degrees are a dime a dozen, but the networks you get into during college or post-college guide you through your career. TWC was really everything as far as that was concerned and I wanted to apply the skills I developed during AIP at the convention.
What was the most remarkable experience or unforgettable moment you had during the convention?
The night we put together the welcome packets we later on had a staff get together. We got to hang out and relax in preparation of the crazy week ahead of us. At the party, I realized what a small world it really is, one of the guys from GOPAC walked into our staff party. I recognized him from my internship and rushed over. I didn’t know what kind of VIP they viewed him as within the party and I didn’t realize what effect him recognizing me and having a conversation with me had on my credibility. I instantly became more ingrained with the ORP. I had the image of an insider, as “one of us,” not merely a previously unknown student who came to volunteer. It was because of TWC and taking advantage of the opportunities it made available.
That was the tipping point with everything for me. After that, ORP sent me to the hotel where John McCain was staying to give something to Colonel Tom Moe, who is from Ohio. McCain and Moe were close because they were in a prison camp together during Vietnam. He was mentioned a lot during the campaign. It turned out we needed to get some credentials to him so I was sent to deliver them. As a young person, it was really cool that I got to go through the VIP gate, the Secret Service screening and meet him. That was awesome. Doing those gofer errands, and it wasn’t the errands themselves but where the errands took me, were the best things to happen to me that week.
What was your most valuable takeaway from the Convention Seminar?
The seminar itself was really informative. I got really good ideas from it. The speakers and the way they changed our thought processes was really valuable. TWC brought Mickey Edwards, a former U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, in to speak with us. He explained the very important distinction between two types of politicians that go from their state to the U.S. government. The first is a person who wins their election, leaves their home state and wholeheartedly sinks themselves into Washington. Once in D.C., the state becomes an afterthought. The second has the mentality of a trustee and respects the fact that the voters chose them so they make it a point to return to the state often. They really value their constituents. I’ve been looking at things through that filter since the seminar and I’ve put it to work in campaigns since.
How would you describe the value the seminar added to your career decisions?
My focus really switched hardcore from going to school to getting involved in politics following the seminar. When I got home I got involved with my county party. They then exposed me to the state party from their angle. I was doing things with the state party while helping my county party. I’ve made very valuable contacts and gotten into a network that has led to so many places. I wanted to do political campaigns and have moved from state to state the past few years as a result. The seminar created so much value for me. It remains the gift that keeps giving.
The seminar created so much value for me. It remains the gift that keeps giving.Miranda Wade
What are you doing now and how does it relate to your convention experience?
I’ve always had a job in politics. My relationship with the state party parlayed into my heavy involvement with the gubernatorial campaign in 2010 and that parlayed into me getting picked up by the state auditor campaign. My boss at the time became the chairman of the state party in 2012. He got me onto the presidential 2016 RNC field team. Since then, I worked for the field team in 2018 and I worked for the upcoming North Carolina field team. The Convention Seminar lit the spark that led to the rest of my career. TWC really has been the foundation I’ve built my career.
Why would you recommend a current student participate in the Convention Seminar?
The mission of TWC to connect students with D.C. and political process is awesome. TWC is extremely helpful when it comes to identifying the organizations that will be present at the convention and matching them with students based on students’ interests. If you think you want to get involved in the media aspect of things, TWC will try and facilitate a job assignment with a media company. If you want to generally be involved in the political process in your state, they can facilitate an assignment with your state party. Whatever draws you to the convention, tell TWC what you want, what you’re interested in, and they’re really good at identifying the areas where they can put you so that you have the best experience, the best opportunity to learn and grow in your chosen profession. The TWC Convention Seminar has turned out as one of the greatest investments made in my life.
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