When thousands flocked to Tampa, Fla. for the Republican National Convention last week, junior James Reed worked behind the scenes ushering delegates to their seats, handing out paperwork and collecting signs across the arena.
He was one of five young Republicans selected from California’s convention page program this year, beating out nearly 100 applicants for the spot.
“I had the experience of a lifetime. The environment, the people, everything. I didn’t want to leave Tampa or the convention,” Reed, a political science and history major, said. “You don’t get much sleep that week.”
The Los Angeles native said his passion for politics ignited during the 2008 election, though he grew up in a split-party household where his parents did not discuss politics.
After watching Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fall four years ago, Reed said he was fired up about the conservative base and decided he wanted to run for office himself one day.
When he came to GW, he joined the College Republicans, Knights of Columbus, GW Catholics and Colonials For Life, an anti-abortion organization, to keep up on the issues and energize his peers on campus.
“The government shapes our lives minute-by-minute,” Reed said. “I think it’s unfortunate when people don’t know the basic functions of our government, especially youth and students our age.”
“At GW, even though we’re a political school, a lot of people still don’t know much about politics. [In Tampa], I wasn’t considered odd for knowing a lot. Everyone knew what I was talking about,” he added.
The junior will graduate early this spring and plans to apply to the Graduate School of Political Management to continue a dual degree program in legislative affairs.
Senior Vincent Bennett, an international affairs major, also attended the convention as a guest with an organization he interns with called Republicans Abroad, which helps guide Americans abroad in the election process.