Stephen McDuffie, a 24-year-old born on a U.S. Air Force base in West Germany just months before the Berlin Wall fell, is now state chairman of the Florida Federation of College Republicans (FFCR).
“My role is to lead and be the face of the College Republicans to our state,” Stephen explained.
As chair – a role he started in April – he manages the executive board and officers and represents FFCR to all external entities, including the media, the Republican Party of Florida, the Republican National Committee, and the College Republican National Committee.
“The College Republicans strive for liberty and small government that is accountable to the people. With our conservative leadership, we show that personal responsibility, sound fiscal policy, and a passion to succeed are the guides to our future success,” Stephen said.
Stephen explained that the FFCR’s role is to bring together Republican college students to work as a group and support the party’s activities.
The group does this by promoting Republican principles to college students in Florida and presenting the views of the college community to the party leadership. FFCR also provides aid to the party in elections.
This summer Stephen interned for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-26) in her Miami field office, where he assisted policy staff.
“Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has pushed me to pursue bigger and better things,” Stephen said. "Senator Marco Rubio is also a great inspiration to me. He teaches at my school and is an honest conservative leader."
During the spring 2013 semester, Stephen served as president of the College Republicans at Florida International University, the college he transferred to in the fall of 2011.
“I led the College Republicans at FIU,” Stephen said. “I grew the organization from 100 to 160 people and l led the fight for conservative principles on a liberal campus.”
Stephen is also a member of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee. He received the Most Patriotic Award and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his community service from Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.
Before politics, Stephen worked at Wendy’s, Food Lion, Dot Foods, and Walmart.
“These past jobs taught me how to work,” Stephen said. “Each job I had served as a learning experience showing me how to incorporate different skills into my professional and personal life. Each job was always a stepping stone to the next great job, which would lead to another opportunity.”
At 21, Stephen married his wife (pictured right). “It was the greatest decision of my life!”
“I first learned of the Leadership Institute from working on some 2008 campaigns and again during the 2012 campaigns,” Stephen remembered.
At the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he took his first training.
“I attended the Leadership Institute’s How to Land a Job and Internship Workshop, the Elected Officials Accountability Workshop, and the 2013 CPAC Job and Internship Fair where I got to meet with employers,” he said.
LI’s Job and Internship fair connected more than 480 jobseekers like Stephen with 39 employers in the conservative movement and the private sector. Employers advertised openings, took resumes, and interviewed candidates.
Stephen shared, “I learned from these different LI training sessions how to make a professional resume, how to dress, how to speak and show confidence, and much more. I also learned how to keep our elected officials accountable to the people!”
He’s even registered for LI’s upcoming Issues That Unite: Latinos and Conservatism in Miami, Florida on Thursday, October 10.
“The Leadership Institute has helped me push for what I want, and helped me be a better leader for my College Republicans organization. LI has also pushed me to start my own business as well,” Stephen said.
Stephen hopes one day to start his own communications firm that specializes in campaign consulting, marketing, advertising, and grassroots organizing.
“I also want to run for political office in the future to help bring the nation back and give my children and others a future,” he said.
The Leadership Institute will be hosting its intensive, week-long Campaign Management School the first week of December. Hope you’ll be able to join so you can learn how to effectively run a campaign.
“The Leadership Institute is a premier organization that teaches those willing to become leaders,” Stephen said.
Please congratulate Stephen McDuffie on receiving the Leadership Institute’s Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, and please encourage him in his political pursuits. You can follow him on Twitter @StephenMcDuffie.
There will be no feature article next week; however, this series will resume the week of September 30. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.