UD Senior Joins Kasich On The Campaign Trail

Claire Schmig
Staff Writer

On Feb. 4, senior communication major Maggie Sheehan began the opportunity of a lifetime. Sheehan set off on a journey to New Hampshire in the hopes of a victory for Gov. John Kasich in the New Hampshire primary for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sheehan worked for Kasich this past summer, before he announced his candidacy for president. This journey began when Sheehan walked into her advisor Heather Parsons’ office a year ago asking for advice on what career path she should take.

“She told me, ‘Well, you’re feisty and you like to talk a lot. Have you ever thought about politics?’” Sheehan recalled.

Parsons had suggested she apply for Gov. Bob Taft’s Statehouse Civics Scholar Program based in Columbus, Ohio. Sheehan took the advice.

Eileen Austria, UD’s statehouse advocate, and Taft worked with Grant Neeley, Ph.D. and Chair of UD’s Department of Political Science, in selecting interns and overseeing the Statehouse Civic Scholars Program, which reviews and selects 12 UD students for state government internships each summer.

After two rounds of interviews, Sheehan received a position in the program. Austria and Taft then sent Sheehan’s resume to state agencies and state departments. Governor John Kasich’s office staffers picked up her resume, interviewed her and gave her an eight-week long position on the Communication and Special Events team.

Sheehan was given an array of duties during the eight weeks she worked for Kasich, including working with the director of communications, the special events coordinator and the social media director, whose team developed the Kasich Snapchat geofilter – a depiction of the Kasich campaign logo as bacon strips – that was available the morning and afternoon before his summit on education in New Hampshire. It was the first time a campaign purchased a geofilter ad, Snapchat confirmed in Time Magazine.

During the summer of 2015, Sheehan experienced history in the making. Within the first month of her work, Kasich had signed the state budget, the Ohio Thomas Edison statue was unveiled in Milan, Ohio, and is expected to stand in the U.S. Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. in the spring—and Kasich announced he would be running for president on July 21, 2015.

“Maggie’s energy, enthusiasm and communication skills obviously impressed Scott Milburn, the governor’s communications director, who has now transferred over to Kasich’s campaign,” Taft told Flyer News. “Knowing Maggie’s abilities, Scott invited her to join the Kasich campaign effort in New Hampshire in the final days before the primary election on Feb. 9, 2016.”
Kasich extended her the opportunity to work on his campaign in New Hampshire after she sent him an email thanking him for her internship over the summer.

Sheehan will return Wednesday, Feb. 10. When in New Hampshire, Sheehan will be on a deployment team consisting of over 100 people. She will go to events to campaign, go door-to-door and call residents to inform them about Kasich.

When asked why people should vote for Kasich, Sheehan said she looks for characteristics in a candidate instead of actions and words. She explained that Kasich is a solid family figure and a good person, that he is moderate, fair and willing to hear what people have to say.

If the New Hampshire primary ends well for Kasich’s campaign, Sheehan is thinking about continuing her work on the campaign after she graduates from UD in May. Due to this experience, Sheehan hopes to work on Capitol Hill in the future. She looks forward to the opportunities she will have because of her involvement in this presidential campaign.

For continued coverage on the students involved with the Kasich campaign, visit here.

Photo courtesy of Maggie Sheehan.