Enjoy the 22Q with Jarrett Ray, Director of Online Fundraising at The Prosper Group.
The 22Q is an informal interview series (archives here) with young conservatives, connected to LI, who are working in the public policy process. The 22 questions ask them to explain what they do, and how they see politics and the next generation of the conservative movement. Their opinions are their own, and are not endorsed by the Leadership Institute.
How I describe my job in 10 words
Developing and executing online fundraising plans for GOP candidates and organizations
My day-to-day at work...in three sentences
I spend the majority of my time writing and designing emails, online ads, and websites. A team of designers and developers helps me bring these ideas to life.
I oversee an account manager and intern who mock up and execute online campaigns faster than most staffers can say social media.
I couldn’t do my job without
A to-do list. My obsession with to-do lists is a running joke in my office. I've literally used a napkin in order to stay organized.
Most important moment in my career (so far)
Consulting on Mitt Romney's email prospecting efforts
Unexpected skill that has helped me the most
A sense of adventure. I've been on the ground with political campaigns in six states and worked on races in dozens of others. Every campaign is an opportunity to learn about local issues and meet new people.
The best advice I have received
Rather than ask questions first, always try your best to figure it out.
The biggest change I've seen already in politics
The explosive change in public opinion polls on gay marriage is fascinating. I remember in 2006 when Virginia Republicans placed a marriage amendment on the November ballot as a way to help George Allen's reelection campaign. There is a lot to be learned in how gay rights activists pulled it off.
The element of working in politics that most surprised me
Everyone says time management is really important. They're right.
The most important issue many don't see yet
State and local Republicans have increasingly published back against the federal government's largesse. I think you will see a push toward more local control as a way to counter Washington overreach.
Where I think the movement will be in five years
This is more of a trend, but online/mobile advertising will be more important than TV ads.
How I formed my political beliefs
I'm naturally conservative, but my activism was sparked in college in reaction to a professor who graded me down for taking a conservative stance on an opinion paper. The situation caused me to dive into political philosophy classes and take a leadership role in College Republicans.
What I'd say to my 18-year-old self
You don't need to be a political science major to work in politics. You will get all the experience you need volunteering on a campaign or interning for your local state senator.
(For the record, I double-majored in college and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy.)
Skill or experience I'd recommend students get now
Hone your writing skills now. The ability to effectively communicate opens up a lot of doors.
To gain experience, write op-eds for your college paper or volunteer on a campaign and offer to assist with their social media campaign.
Three things I'd tell every young political junkie to read
1. Set up an email account for political emails and sign up for emails from politicians of all stripes.
2. Drudge Report.
3. The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly. The focus of the book is on international development, but Easterly's realist conservative approach provides real-life examples of how to apply complex free-market ideas.
My most useful class in college
Intro to Political Philosophy. The class opened up a world of interesting thinkers to me.
I met some of my closest friends (from both sides of the aisle) in that class too.
Three future leaders from my generation
Hopefully someone reading this gets the tools they need at the Leadership Institute to start a career and become a future leader.
The most fascinating figure in world history
My heroes in fiction
Walter von Ulrich from Fall of Giants.
I really love Ken Follet novels. He is a master of historical fiction.
The most inspiring art I've read, seen, or heard
Hike to the top of a mountain and take a picture. You can't find art better than that.
I’d star in House of Cards or West Wing (choose one)
West Wing. Aaron Sorkin might be a liberal, but he is a great writer.
I can't get through my day without
Pandora, Bose headphones, and Stride gum
My connection to the Leadership Institute
At James Madison University, I brought the Leadership Institute to campus to give its Youth Leadership School.
I went on to take the Campaign Manager, Internet Activist, and Grassroots Campaign Workshop -- all excellent.