During the summer of 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to work for some two months as an intern in the Columbus Headquarters of ‘Organizing for America’, the Obama Campaign’s HQ in the key swing state of Ohio.
I have been interested in politics and government for several years, and I had worked for a Labour Member of Parliament in the previous summer, so I thought that I would take advantage of the opportunity to see the US elections and in particular the famed Democrat campaign in close-up.
The job was very hard work but it was also hugely interesting and exciting to be playing a (very small) part in a presidential campaign. My role was to help recruit and train volunteers from across the United States who wanted to work on the crucial Ohio campaign. This involved travelling around the state and also to the neighbouring states of West Virginia and Indiana.
It was fascinating to be in what was essentially the front line of the election in the single most important state to the President’s re-election campaign. Only two Presidents have been elected without winning Ohio – Franklin Roosevelt in 1994, and John F. Kennedy in 1960.
During my time there, I was flattered to be chosen to be the representative of the Ohio campaign to greet President Obama when he landed aboard Air Force One at Rickenbacker Air Force Base for a speech at the Ohio State University in Columbus. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak to the President for about two minutes, during which he shared his experience as a law student. I will forever treasure that unique memory.
The campaign experience will not only be useful in terms of my personal development, but it was also a fascinating privilege for me to be able to work inside what was, essentially, a billion dollar US corporation. My role involved working long days and under pressure in a fast paced environment. That is very useful experience for my future career. It has certainly given my motivation a boost going into my final undergraduate year to achieve my goals for the year.